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Friday, November 11, 2011
Final Word: NFC East

By Dan Graziano

NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 10:

DeMarco tough to bring down: One of the things that's made Dallas Cowboys rookie running back DeMarco Murray a success in his past three NFL games is his ability to break tackles. According to the ESPN Stats & Information Group, Murray is averaging 3.1 yards per rush after contact, which is the best figure in the league among players with at least 40 rush attempts. The Saints' Darren Sproles and the Texans' Ben Tate are tied for second on that list at 2.8 yards per carry after contact. It doesn't appear as though Felix Jones will play this week, so Murray has the Cowboys' backfield duties all to himself for another game and should retain the lion's share of the carries even once Jones returns.

DeMarco Murray
Dallas rookie DeMarco Murray has rushed for 466 yards in his past three games.
Redskins' O is a no-go: The Washington Redskins have scored a total of 11 points over their past two games. They've also punted 11 times. That's not a good ratio of points to punts, 1-to-1. You want that ratio to come up a little bit if you're going to do something like win. The Redskins have five turnovers, four failed fourth-down conversions, a missed field goal, a made field goal and a touchdown over those two games. And of course you know that John Beck is 0-7 in his career as an NFL starting quarterback. The first 0-4 of that came with Miami in 2007. He's hoping his first career win can come in his return to South Beach.

Taking the fourth: If NFL games had just three 15-minute periods, the Philadelphia Eagles would be among the best teams in the league. They have outscored their opponents by 57 points in the first three quarters of games this year, which is the fourth-best figure in the NFL. But in fourth quarters, they've been outscored by a total of 36 points. They've held fourth-quarter leads in four of their five losses, making them the third team in league history to blow fourth-quarter leads and lose in at least four of their first eight games. The others were the 1954 Packers and the 1999 Saints. So if the Eagles go into the fourth quarter with a lead Sunday against the Cardinals... you know... don't change the channel.

Comeback kids: Speaking of fourth quarters, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning leads the NFL with five game-winning drives in the fourth quarter this year. 49ers quarterback Alex Smith, the Giants' opponent this week, is second in the league with three of them. So whichever team takes a lead into the fourth quarter Sunday in San Francisco... you know... don't change the channel.

Second half start: The Giants are in first place with a 6-2 record at the midpoint of their season. But as every Giants' fan can tell you, the second half of the season is where things get interesting. Since Tom Coughlin took over as their head coach in 2004, the Giants' second-half record is 24-32, which ranks 24th in the league. The Giants would love to get the second half kicked off the right way with a big win over a potential playoff opponent in San Francisco.