Monday, October 31, 2011
Breakfast links: Eagles moving up
By Dan Graziano
By popular demand, we have been presenting the breakfast links in standings order, rather than alphabetical order, for the past few weeks. The Eagles jump from fourth to second place this week because they hold the head-to-head tiebreaker edge over the Redskins and now the Cowboys. But right now in the NFC East it's the Giants and then it's everybody else. So our first stop this morning is in the Big Apple.
New York Giants (5-2)
Ohm Youngmisuk writes that the Giants keep escaping because Eli Manning keeps finding phone booths and turning into Superman at just the right time. There's no doubt that Manning is having a season to silence his critics. He's playing mistake-free and making big throws when he has to. He's been the division's best quarterback all season, and he and the defensive line are the two main reasons the Giants have been the division's best team.
Dave D'Alessandro provides the reality check, though, in a column that looks ahead to what now remains of the Giants' schedule -- the tough part, by a large margin. As great as Manning and the D-line have been, the Giants would do well to run the ball better, to stop the run better and to shore up some of the sloppiness that forced them to have to come back to beat one of the worst teams in the league Sunday.
Philadelphia Eagles (3-4)
Defensive lineman Trevor Laws, in the Eagles' postgame locker room, summed up the feelings of pretty much every Eagles fan when he said, "Sitting here after we played a game like this, it’s like, 'how in the world did we lose those games at the beginning of the year?' It makes no sense to me."
Rich Hofmann writes that, at long last, the real Eagles finally showed up Sunday night in their big, big victory over the Cowboys.
Dallas Cowboys (3-4)
Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who called the Eagles the "all-hype team" in training camp, took the blame for the loss and said that Andy Reid "kicked my ass." We usually don't like to use that kind of language here on the NFC East blog, but if we held to those strict rules, we'd probably never be able to quote Rob Ryan.
The lone bright spot in the game for the Cowboys was DeMarcus Ware and his four sacks, which raised his season total to 12 sacks through seven games. The league record for sacks in a season is 22.5 by Michael Strahan. Ware is on pace to record 27 sacks this season, which would (in case you're not up for simple subtraction this morning) break that record.
Washington Redskins (3-4)
Jason Reid writes that it's all up to Mike Shanahan now to save this Redskins season, because when things are falling apart, a team needs its leader to bring the players all back together. And while Jason's right within the context of this particular season and the Redskins' ability to contend, Shanahan is in the second year of a five-year contract and the Redskins are in rebuilding mode. That's not to say Shanahan can or would or should give up on this season -- just that the long view is the important thing to keep in mind when evaluating Shanahan's job performance in 2011. The Redskins are (they hope) at rock-bottom right now, but I don't think (as some were saying Sunday) that they'll lose all the rest of their games. I had them at 7-9 preseason and I'm sticking to it.
We did a bright spot for the Cowboys, so we'll do one for the Redskins too. No surprise, it's the amazing London Fletcher, who's the steadiest guy in the Redskins' room.