By Matthew Kaplan
This week started with a huge shock and it ended on Monday night with a glimmer of hope for Eagles fans. Before the Eagles could beat the Redskins, 28-13, there were two other games around the division that were played.
The first of these games was on Thursday night as the Cowboys looked to defend home field against the New Orleans Saints. Coming in to the game, many people expected the Cowboys to suffer the same fate as the Eagles, but this game was quite the opposite of that. The Cowboys defense would dominate this game holding the Saints scoreless in the first half. This defensive performance would allow the Cowboys to take an early lead behind two Brett Maher field goals and a Prescott to Elliot connection for a touchdown. Taking this 13-0 lead would decide the game as they would hold the Saints to only 10 points and win the game, 13-10.
This victory would be led by the defense first and foremost, but they got a huge assist from Dak Prescott, who would have an extremely efficient game. He would complete 24 of his 28 passes for 248 yards and be responsible for the Cowboys only touchdown. On the other side of the field, the stars for the Saints would not perform up to the level of expectation. Brees would only throw for 127 yards and get picked off, Ingram and Kamara would only manage 63 yards on the ground and Michael Thomas and Kamara would only catch 13 balls for 76 yards. A lot of this was in part due to the defense of the Cowboys, but that does not mean the Saints should not take some blame for this.
Come Sunday, followers of the NFC East would have their attention turned to East Rutherford, New Jersey as the New York Giants would take on the Bears. This game would come down to the wire as Rosas would kick the game winning field goal from 44 yards out to win the Giants the game in overtime, 30-27. The Giants would be led by their star, Saquon Barkley, who would have 146 total yards and would be the main reason behind the Giants ability to move the ball. The Bears, in the loss, would really miss their starter Mitchell Trubisky, who has been one of the most improved players in the NFL this season. Without him, Chase Daniel's mistakes (two interceptions) and inability to be a difference maker became the main reason that a tremendous performance from Tarik Cohen would be overshadowed. Cohen would catch 12 passes for 156 yards plus 30 more yards on the ground, doing all he could to lead the way for the Bears.
Next week, the playoffs start for NFC East teams as the race tightens up. The division leading Cowboys will take on the Eagles in an effort to wrap things up and continue their hot streak. Meanwhile, the Redskins will face the Giants in what will be an effort to keep pace and salvage their season despite having Mark Sanchez at quarterback.