Monday, December 17, 2012
Breakfast links: A two-week season
By Dan Graziano
When November began, the defending champion Giants had three more wins than any other team in the NFC East. Since that time, though, the Giants are 2-4, the Redskins are 5-1 and the Cowboys are 5-2. And what that means is that, with two weeks left in the season, there is a three-way tie atop this division. The playoff tiebreakers determine the current standings for purposes of ordering the breakfast links, and that means that a new team will spend this week on top.
As for how it all plays out, the Giants have squandered all of their advantage. They no longer control their own destiny in terms of the division race. They will make the playoffs as at least a wild-card team if they win both of their remaining games, but they can only win the division if they do that and neither the Cowboys nor the Redskins finish 2-0. If either the Cowboys or the Redskins finish 2-0 (and they can't both do it, since they play each other in Week 17), that team will win the division regardless of what the Giants do.
And there's some garbage about ties, but ties almost never happen and don't deserve to be considered until such time as they are foisted upon us, so we won't waste our time with that here. What we'll do here is have links.
Washington Redskins (8-6)
Robert Griffin III was happy that backup Kirk Cousins led the Redskins to their fifth win in a row, but he was not happy with the decision the Redskins made to deactivate him for Sunday's game. Griffin looked good in a pregame workout Sunday morning, and he seems to be using that as evidence that he'll be fine to play next week, but obviously that's not his call, and we're in for another week of updates and speculation.
One of the surprise defensive stars that's helped key the Redskins' run to first place is linebacker Rob Jackson, who added an interception to his list of recent big plays Sunday.
Dallas Cowboys (8-6)
Tim MacMahon reports that Sunday's victory over the Steelers ensures that the Cowboys will have a winning record in the month of December for the first time since 2001. Which is almost incomprehensible.
Dez Bryant caught his weekly touchdown pass, broken finger and all, and he should be commended for his toughness. There's also stuff in there about Jerry Jones saying Bryant might need a bone graft from his hip and Bryant saying he has no idea what Jones is talking about, but as usual you have to kind of ignore a lot of what Jones says because he just talks and talks and it can't possibly all make sense.
New York Giants (8-6)
The Giants say their confidence is "not shaken" after a 34-0 loss to a team they beat 24-2 in last year's playoffs knocked them out of first place in the NFC East. That's some brave talk, right there. How could it not be shaken? The Giants have been of the belief that they would play their best when it mattered most, but that's not happening. Now, this time last year they were 7-7 and things looked bleak and you know how that turned out. But you can't always count on that special run starting at the exact right time.
There are, of course, more important things than football, and what's going on in the world right now makes football seem impossibly small. Victor Cruz is planning to visit the family of a slain six-year-old Giants fan and deliver the cleats and gloves he wore Sunday to honor young Jack Pinto to Jack's shattered parents.
Philadelphia Eagles (4-10)
Andy Schwartz offers five reasons to watch the Eagles' final two games. Although it's really only three reasons, and if you feel you need more I wouldn't blame you. I'll be at the next one, I'm pretty sure, but it'll be to watch the visiting team.
Running back LeSean McCoy will play if he's cleared by the independent neurologist this week, but he might end up splitting carries with rookie Bryce Brown more than he was before his concussion.