Early Birds: Around the NFC East
The Inquirer's Zach Berman sizes up the NFC East with five games remaining.
Here's a look at the rest of the NFC East through 11 regular-season games.
A 20-14 win over the Giants on Sunday put the Redskins in a first-place tie atop the NFC East at 5-6. They have not won back-to-back games all season, so the consistency isn't there. But the schedule is manageable. They won't play a single team with a winning record over their last five games, and they'll play the Cowboys twice without Tony Romo.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins has thrown 10 touchdowns and two interceptions in the past five games. Washington's offense also has been bolstered by the improved health of DeSean Jackson, who has a catch of more than 40 yards in each of the past three games. The Redskins need to overcome the loss of cornerback Chris Culliver, who is out for the season after a knee injury last week.
Remaining schedule: vs. DAL; at CHI; vs. BUF; at PHI; at DAL
NEW YORK GIANTS
The Giants spoiled a pristine opportunity to take a two-game lead in the NFC East by losing in Washington. They have lost three of their past four games. Their remaining schedule includes three teams with winning records, including the undefeated Carolina Panthers.
The Giants have the most offensive upside in the division, with quarterback Eli Manning capable of a big game each week and Odell Beckham Jr. already over 1,000 yards. But Manning's three interceptions hurt the Giants on Sunday, and a lack of a running game this season has made the offense reliant on its quarterback. The defense has stabilized since allowing 52 points on Nov. 1, and the Giants have held opposing offenses in check. But the Giants were dependent on a big turnover margin this season, so when they start to lose the turnover battle, they start to lose games.
Remaining schedule: vs. NYJ; at MIA; vs. CAR; at MIN; vs. PHI
The season went from bad to worse in Dallas, where Tony Romo will miss the rest of the season because of another collarbone injury. With the Cowboys at 3-8 and without their starting quarterback, it's hard to envision them being a player despite the losing records in the division. Their remaining schedule includes two teams with winning records. But with two games against Washington, they could play a big role in who wins the NFC East.
Remaining schedule: at WAS; at GB; vs. NYJ; at BUF; vs. WAS