Final Word: NFC East

October, 15, 2010
10/15/10
4:00
PM ET
NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about the Week 6 games:

[+] EnlargeMarc Colombo
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireDallas tackle Marc Colombo has a difficult matchup this week against Minnesota's Ray Edwards.
Can the Cowboys' offensive line hold up against the Vikings? We all know what happened the last time the Cowboys were in the Metrodome. Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards abused right tackle Marc Colombo and All-Pro Jared Allen wore out left tackle Doug Free in a divisional round playoff game in January. You'll recall that Free was forced into that game when Flozell Adams went down with an injury. I think Free will bounce back from a poor game against the Titans and play well against Allen. But the problem with Colombo last season was that he wasn't getting off the snap quickly enough because of the crowd noise in the Metrodome. The Cowboys have worked on their silent counts this week and feel like they're better prepared this time around. Starting center Andre Gurode has a degenerative condition in his knee and will likely be a game-time decision. I think he'll be ready to go, but if not, left guard Kyle Kosier would be his replacement. Montrae Holland would take over at left guard.

The Redskins must diversify their passing game against Colts. Washington tight end Chris Cooley and wide receiver Santana Moss are on pace to have career seasons. That's good news for fans, but at some point, there must be more diversity in this offense. Anthony Armstrong made a huge play in the fourth quarter against the Packers, so perhaps he's a candidate to be targeted. But right now, I think the Redskins are too easy to defend. The Colts have unbelievable pass-rushers in Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, but the Skins could counter some of their speed by running right at them. With Trent Williams back at left tackle, I think this is a game where the Skins needed to pound the running game like they did against the Eagles. But when they must pass, someone other than Moss and Cooley must step forward. Does anyone know what's happened to Fred Davis? This was supposed to be one of the best tight end tandems in the league, but Davis' season hasn't gotten off the ground.

Giants need to put the Lions away early. The New York Giants must assert their dominance early in Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions. Tom Coughlin has made the Lions out to be world beaters, but we know the score. Rookie running back Jahvid Best can burn a defense if he's allowed to have any cutback lanes. I think middle linebacker Jonathan Goff, who has been impressive so far this season, will have some one-on-one situations against Best. Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson is one of the toughest covers in the league. I think you'll see Corey Webster on him initially with some help over the top from Kenny Phillips. The Giants will try to make the Lions one dimensional from the start. Same thing they did against the Texans last week.

The Eagles have a huge opportunity against the Atlanta Falcons. It sort of feels like Atlanta's the best team in the NFC almost by default. Quarterback Matt Ryan's playing really well and the Falcons also have an excellent running game. The Eagles were gashed in the running game by the Washington Redskins, and I assure you that Falcons coach Mike Smith will try to do the same thing. With Brodrick Bunkley (elbow) out for this game, the Eagles must do a good job of gang tackling. We saw what happened to Quintin Mikell when he tried to challenge Washington's Ryan Torain in the open field. Atlanta's Michael Turner can't be allowed to get in a lot of those one-on-one situations. On offense, Kevin Kolb must be smart with the football while playing behind a patchwork offensive line. Andy Reid thinks left tackle King Dunlap will play better with a week of practice under his belt, but I have my doubts. Reid better make sure Dunlap has a lot of help.

Can Randy Moss make the Cowboys pay -- again? No one loves lighting up the Cowboys more than Randy Moss, whom Jerry Jones passed on in the 1998 draft (along with several other teams). With a full week of practice under his belt, Moss could be very dangerous against the Cowboys. Look for him to try to beat the Cowboys on a vertical route early in this game. The Cowboys have struggled against the vertical routes, as evidenced by losses to the Bears and Titans. This is not a smart defense right now, and Brett Favre and Moss will look to make them pay. And I don't believe for a second all this nonsense about Favre not playing because of tendinitis. This is panic time for both teams, and Favre's come too far and had too many unretirements to sit this one out.

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