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Breakfast links: Giants still fighting injury

12/13/2011

Another week, another NFL Tuesday here at ESPN.com. That means you can look forward to Power Rankings, Stock Watch and, if you're into this kind of thing, the weekly NFC East chat at noon ET. It's a busy day, but that's the way we like it. Best way to start is by loading up on your links.

New York Giants

Mark Viera writes that the win that saved the Giants' season failed to conceal the flaws that could do it in. Giants coach Tom Coughlin calls his team's coverage problems "a tremendous, grave concern," and honestly, if they don't lock some things down this week against the banged-up Redskins offense, you have to wonder if they can stop anyone. It's one thing when the Saints, Packers and Cowboys are throwing against you at will. The Giants need to muscle up this week and play like a playoff team on defense.

And that might not be easy, since Justin Tuck is dealing with a toe injury that could keep him out of that game, and it appears as though Osi Umenyiora will miss another game as well with his ankle injury. The story of this Giants season has been one of overcoming injury. They have more of it to do if they're going to finish this thing off.

Dallas Cowboys

Todd Archer reported Monday that the Cowboys would likely sign veteran running back Sammy Morris for depth now that DeMarco Murray is out for the year with his ankle injury. It's important that they have someone, because Felix Jones isn't likely to hold up under a full starter's workload and they'll need to be able to spell him from time to time to keep him from breaking down. Make no mistake: Morris isn't going to come in and get a bunch of carries. The Cowboys' run game now goes as Jones goes. But they absolutely need to make sure he doesn't get overworked to the point of a breakdown.

Calvin Watkins is discovering the Playoff Machine, and while he didn't spend as much time on it Monday as I did (and it's hard to blame him for that), he writes that the important thing for the Cowboys and their fans to remember is that, in spite of everything that's happened, the Cowboys still control their own playoff destiny. If they win their final three games, the way they did two years ago, they will be division champions.

Philadelphia Eagles

Bob Grotz writes that, with Michael Vick and Jeremy Maclin banged-up, the Eagles' defense is going to have to carry them down this stretch as long as they have a flicker of a chance at the playoffs. With guys like Philip Hunt and Casey Matthews improving and defensive coordinator Juan Castillo expanding the playbook, the Eagles feel like they're finally playing defense the way they envisioned playing it all along.

And John Smallwood says that Eagles fans who want a coaching change should be rooting for the team to lose games. I could do this job a hundred more years and it'll never make sense to me -- the idea of watching your team and hoping it loses. I think it's twisted, and defeats the purpose of being a fan in the first place. If you're an Eagles fan right now, you mean to tell me you're not dreaming about what could happen if your team won its last three games, two or three other miracles happened and you found yourself in the playoffs after all they've put you through?

Washington Redskins

Remember a couple of weeks ago when DeAngelo Hall was the NFC Defensive Player of the Week? No? Neither does Mike Shanahan, who was disappointed in Hall for his play and his behavior during Sunday's loss to the Patriots. The Redskins are working hard to finish out this season with pride, even as they keep losing games and players, and Shanahan would like Hall to be on the same page as everyone else.

Rick Maese takes a look at the question of why every December feels like a long one for the Redskins lately. Interesting Shanahan quote in that story about the importance of roster depth for surviving the season. The Redskins didn't have enough of it this year (though the personnel losses they've suffered would have challenged even the deepest teams), and it will be a big part of the team's focus in the coming offseason.

The chat will roll at noon ET, and I'd love for you to drop by.