Breaking down the NFC East standings after Eagles 40-33 win over Packers

The NFC East has four of the top teams in the conference here’s a breakdown of the division heading into Week 13

The Eagles remain the top team in the NFC East after a 40-33 win over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night.

After two years of questionable on-field product, this four-team division is the best in football right now, with four likely playoff teams if the season ended today.

Three of Philadelphia’s final six games will be against division opponents, with the Eagles facing the Cowboys and Giants in two of the final three contests.

Here’s a breakdown and notes on the NFC East standings entering Week 13.

Dak Prescott leads comeback, earns Cowboys’ Player of the Game for Week 12

The Cowboys’ star QB overcame an out-of-sync start to remind everyone of just how good he is when in rhythm. | From @TimLettiero

The Dallas Cowboys have their quarterback back. What that means is that they are more than capable of overcoming slow starts to still dominate inferior opponents, even ones that come into the game with a similar record.

At halftime, the score was 13-7 in favor of the visiting New York Giants. Dak Prescott had two interceptions and the offense as a whole seemed flat and unmotivated. Things would change in the second half however, as the resilience set in. Prescott and his merry band of wide receivers got on the same page, the running game took off and the team that just whooped the Minnesota Vikings by 37 finally arrived at AT&T Stadium, riding a strong second half to a 28-20 win that wasn’t as close as the score indicates.

The win continued to prove to the universe the Cowboys have one of the best signal callers in the game, and what they accomplished without him under center was just the baseline.

His ability was on display throughout the second half. Midway through the third quarter, the Dallas offense drove down the field despite being stalled by killer penalties. Ultimately facing 3rd-and-goal at the 15, Dak dropped back and tossed a dime to one of his favorite targets in the corner of the end zone.

On the next drive, the same occurred. With two minutes remaining in the third on second and goal, Prescott found TE Dalton Schultz once again for an easy score. This set Dallas up with a 21-13 lead.

Those would be Prescott’s only two scores of the game but it was a fantastic turnaround by the offense in the second half, leading to the win.

He had the two interceptions early, but had an efficient day otherwise going 21 of 30 for 261 yards while also adding this great hustle play to help spring Ezekiel Elliott for a solid run.

Prescott had a vintage end to his game, earning strong praise from the man who signs his checks.

The only thing standing in the way of the Cowboys winning a weak NFC is Mike McCarthy

Dallas will have no one to blame except the man with a track record of Big Game failure.

At 7-3 through 10 games, the Cowboys are probably where we expected them to be this season. Aside from a potential tendency to implode, Dallas’s roster was flat-out too talented to envision anything but success near the top of the NFC. This team could bully you in the trenches on both sides of the ball — especially on defense — and such a mix usually makes for a bona fide contender.

Now, as the NFC begins to crystallize in all its top-heavy glory, and as the formerly juggernaut Eagles begin to show they have kryptonite (Cover 2 defensive shells? Oh no!) — if the Cowboys don’t end up making a deep playoff run, at minimum, let’s be frank:

It could be Mike McCarthy’s fault. Full stop.

I know what you’re thinking.

In mid-November, it’s way too early to make any proclamations about the scapegoat for a team’s potential (eventual?) failure. An NFL season is long and drawn out. It can be a roller-coaster of emotions from week to week. Look no further than the Cowboys self-combusting while trying to put the Packers away before humiliating the Vikings so much that CBS actually cut away from its broadcast in the third quarter. Just a week ago, everyone wanted to bury Dallas. Now they look like a titan that wears a blue star on their helmet. After a Thanksgiving date with the Giants on Thursday, we might backtrack again and stomp all over that blue star Terrell Owens style.

It’s just how this silly sport of football works.

But make no mistake. The Cowboys have the tools to play well into January.

This was pro football’s second-best defense by DVOA — led by Defensive Player of the Year candidate Micah Parsonsbefore Sunday’s shellacking of Minnesota. On offense, Dak Prescott is far from a superstar quarterback. He’ll frustrate you with a throw past the broad side of the barn more often than you’ll think, “Wow, this is the guy who can lift a genuine gem of a title squad.” However, Prescott’s still good enough to be a “point guard” distributor who can facilitate the Dallas attack well to get the ball to CeeDee Lamb, Tony Pollard, and Co. — while occasionally making a needed big-time throw.

Plus, the Cowboys should be able to hang with the Eagles (who they almost beat with Cooper Rush). They should be able to go toe-to-toe with Tom Brady’s Buccaneers (who knocked Prescott out of the first third of the season). They shouldn’t be afraid of Geno Smith’s Seahawks, as wonderful and heartening as that redemptive story is in the Pacific Northwest. There is no one in the NFC they should be afraid of.

They have a path to making this the best season in Dallas in the 21st century only as long as McCarthy stays out of the way. Good luck!

Because I can’t forget how McCarthy — someone who built a decade-plus reputation in Green Bay for riding Aaron Rodgers’ coattails while making inexplicable fourth-quarter decisions seemingly every postseason — showed his fatal flaw against the Packers during Dallas’ implosion.

After the Cowboys blew a 14-point fourth-quarter lead to a team on life preservers, McCarthy went for it on fourth down in overtime to try and bury Green Bay for good. They didn’t get it, and you might as well have seen the pending easy Aaron Rodgers’ game-winning field goal drive come from miles away.

I mean, come on. If there’s not a stat that epitomizes McCarthy’s head coaching life better, I don’t know what one is!

If not for that fateful “revenge” game failure, then there was McCarthy consistently not knowing what to do on fourth down during last year’s Wild Card matchup with the 49ers. (Not to mention a called QB draw with 14 seconds and no timeouts on the final play. Huh?)

What about McCarthy’s coaching mismanagement magnum opus when the Packers could’ve upended the Seahawks in the 2015 NFC Championship Game? Alas, McCarthy passed up two early fourth-and-shorts for short field goals — with a 230-pound Eddie Lacy and that season’s MVP Aaron Rodgers in the backfield — against the defending Super Bowl champions. It wasn’t the only reason for a historic collapse, but it sure left an opening for a Seattle squad that wouldn’t go away if you made the mistake of keeping the door open.

And these are the only most egregious examples of a coaching resume built around the NFL’s premier frontrunner head coach failing to get his dynamite teams to the finish line time and again.

The NFL world used to relentlessly clown Andy Reid for his time management in the fourth quarter when he coached with the Eagles and during his early tenure with the Chiefs. But Reid learned from his mistakes, and Kansas City and the best player in the game — Patrick Mahomes — are better for it. Reid evolved — as he had to.

The main (and deserved) late-game coaching pinata nowadays is undoubtedly McCarthy. Because McCarthy hasn’t learned from his mistakes. It doesn’t matter if he had the formerly best player in the sport (Rodgers) or one of the best rosters in the sport now (Dallas): he still can’t get out of his own way. McCarthy has stayed static, and you wonder if he’ll ever progress at this point.

If the Cowboys make it to the meaningful part of January and fall short, we’ll see if it’s because history might repeat itself.

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Fantasy Football: Potential bargains, must-plays from Giants-Cowboys game

Here’s a look at some potential bargains for daily fantasy from the New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys Week 12 game on Thursday afternoon.

The New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys will meet on Thanksgiving Day for only the second time in history in a clash between two 7-3 NFC East rivals.

The game has important postseason implications and also is on the radar of many fantasy football enthusiasts. Here are some of those key plays.

Giants vs. Cowboys: 6 keys to victory in Week 12

6 keys to victory for the New York Giants as they visit the Dallas Cowboys in Week 12 at AT&T Stadium.

If we could erase the New York Giants’ Week 11 performance, it would be a blessing. Hosting a team near the bottom of the conference, the Giants just could not put together a win.

Regardless, the Giants now travel to face the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving. It’s a short week after a tough loss, and the Giants have adjustments to make if they want to win.

Here are six keys to victory for the Giants in Week 12.

Eagles release hype video for the all-black helmet-uniform combination

The Eagles will wear the alternate Black Helmets and uniforms combination three times this season, including Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers

The Eagles released a hype video on Tuesday morning to excite fans about unveiling the new all-black alternate helmets for the Week 12 matchup against the Green Bay Packers.

Philadelphia will break out the combination three times in 2022, against the Packers, Cowboys (Week 16), and Giants (Week 18).

The team wore their alternate black pants and jersey combination twice in 2021. Both times, the team defeated its opponents, outscoring the Giants and Saints by double digits.

Expect more of that with the new helmet addition as the team awaits the return to Kelly Green in 2023.

Social media reacts to everything, and the new helmet was met with applause.

Giants vs. Cowboys: 3 reasons for concern in Week 12

The New York Giants square off in a Thursday afternoon battle against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 12. Here are three reasons for concern.

The New York Giants enter Week 12 fresh off Sunday’s loss against the Detroit Lions. Big Blue will take on their division rival Dallas Cowboys on a short week playing on Thanksgiving for the first time since 2017.

This is the second time this season the Giants will go up against the Cowboys and the first time around didn’t go well at MetLife stadium in Week 3 as the Cowboys handed the Giants the first loss of the season.

The Giants come into the Thanksgiving matchup as heavy underdogs, hoping to get revenge for Week 3.

The Giants’ Week 11 matchup against the Lions was costly as they lost two key players in Adoree Jackson and Wan’Dale Robinson. They will have to get a gameplan together without Jackson and Robinson in a hurry this week with the short turnaround.

Coming away with a win Thursday will not come easy as the Cowboys are believed to be the better team and the Giants are heavily decimated by injury.

Here are three causes for concern going into Week 12.

Giants vs. Cowboys: 5 things to know about Week 12

The New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys square off on Thursday afternoon in Week 12, so here are five things fans should know.

The New York Giants (7-3) head down to Big D to face the Dallas Cowboys (7-3) in a rare Thanksgiving Day matchup between the two rivals.

Here are five things to know about the Week 12 game.

Breaking down the NFC East standings after Eagles 17-16 win over Colts

Here’s a look at the NFC East standings after the Philadelphia Eagles’ win over the Colts, with every team in the division above .500

The Eagles remain the current kings of the NFC East, holding a two-game advantage entering Week 12 after a comeback win over the Colts.

Philadelphia quarterback Jalen Hurts went 18 of 25 passing for 190 yards, throwing for one score early in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 13-10.

Hurts also led the team in rushing with 16 carries for 86 yards and a rushing touchdown to even the contest at 16-16 with 1:20 left.

With seven games left in the regular season, here’s an updated breakdown of the NFC East.

‘Vintage Dak’: Cowboys QB answers critics with incredibly accurate performance vs Vikings

After talk of his “erratic” play lately, Prescott enjoyed one of his best statistical days as a Cowboy in a 40-3 dismantling of Minnesota. | From @ToddBrock24f7

He asked for it to be repeated, but Dak Prescott definitely heard the question.

Last week following the Cowboys’ gut-wrenching overtime loss in Green Bay in which he threw two interceptions that helped put Dallas in an early hole, the quarterback was asked if his play this season has been more erratic than in seasons past.

He thought long and hard about it before starting a reply, but it turns out Prescott saved his actual answer for this past Sunday in Minneapolis.

Prescott enjoyed one of the most accurate days of his Cowboys career in Week 11’s obliteration of the Vikings, competing 22 of 25 pass attempts for 276 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 40-3 win that marked the largest road victory in franchise history.

Prescott’s completion percentage of 88% was the second highest in his 94 total games as a Cowboy, and his final passer rating of 139.3 was his seventh-best as a pro.

So maybe don’t dismiss Dak quite yet.

Prescott did admit, though, that he’s heard the noise since coming back from his thumb injury.

“I don’t usually get motivation from what other people say. I’m very intrinsically inspired,” he told reporters from the podium after Sunday’s win in Minnesota. “A lot of people and things in my life that move me, a great team in there, guys that I don’t want to let down each and every day that make me the man that I am. But yeah, when you hear some things about your performance- ‘erratic’ coming from you guys- yeah, things stick and stay.”

The simple truth is, Prescott has been erratic of late, at least by the textbook definition of the word: not even or regular in pattern; unpredictable.

The 2022 season opener that he didn’t finish ranks as one of his worst-ever statistical showings, with a 48.28% completion rate. He was strong in his comeback against Detroit and slightly better the next week versus Chicago- with 76% and 77.78% completion percentages, respectively. Then the Lambeau letdown, where he connected on just 58.7% of his throws.

So yes, passer ratings of 47.2, 113.2, 114.5, 78.6, and 139.3 probably does count as erratic.

But Prescott and the entire Cowboys squad responded to the Packers disappointment in a resounding way.

“Just focused,” Prescott said. “Obviously, after last week, had a good week of prep and just wanted to come in and set the standard and expectation that I’ve talked about, that we have for ourselves… I was just staying in the moment, as all the guys were.”

Prescott guided the offense to scores on their first seven possessions, starting with turning a Micah Parsons strip-sack on the Vikings’ first series into an early field goal… and ending with a third-quarter pass to Tony Pollard that saw him race 68 yards to the end zone to deliver the kill shot. Then they tacked on 10 more points after that for good measure.

“Credit to us just being dialed in and staying within each play, taking it play-by-play, giving our best, and resulting in points on those drives that obviously gives us a lead and allows the defense to go and hunt.”

Prescott was incredibly accurate, spreading the ball around to 10 different receivers and seeing only three passes hit the ground. His two scoring throws were Nos. 150 and 151 for his Cowboys career, the most by any Dallas player in his first seven seasons.

The day-long clinic gave owner Jerry Jones a glimpse of the Cowboys’ possible long-term future.

“You saw vintage Dak. You saw the Dak that I hope I get to see for 10 more years, at least. Seriously,” Jones said after the win. “You saw Dak play the game that he and the coaches worked out to play, and he was right on the mark.”

Head coach Mike McCarthy confirmed that Prescott executed the planned passing attack exactly as it had been drawn up.

“I had a visit with him just before the game like he always does, and the last thing we talked about was just the completions. This is a veteran defense, lot of experience,” McCarthy said of the Vikings in his postgame remarks. “I thought Dak was extremely, extremely patient. Going back to the touchdown on Tony, he goes all the way through his whole progression. Tony’s the last option. And that’s the way you’ve got to play against these guys.”

The pass to Pollard was a simply gorgeous highlight that showed Prescott’s entire game in miniature. Not only did it extend the Cowboys’ impressive lead, it helped convince CBS to bail out of their national game of the week (featuring America’s Team against an 8-1 club) midway through the third quarter for a more evenly-matched contest.

“Give credit to Kellen there,” Prescott explained of the pass play to Pollard. “That was a great play call by Kellen. Saw exactly what we wanted; that’s the matchup we were going at when we saw them in that defense. That touchdown’s pretty much all Kellen as it is the pass and Tony on the catch and the run. Perfect timing, got the look we wanted, and we were just able to execute it at that level.”

Prescott was quick to share credit for the massive bounceback win with those around him on offense and defense, as well as the coaching staff. It’s all part of the quarterback’s rare leadership skills, which have never ever been labeled as erratic, uneven, or unpredictable.

“I really love this locker room, and we are definitely not short in the area of veteran leadership,” McCarthy said. “You have to go through adversity moments, you have to have moments like last week, and you definitely have to respond like we did this week.”

Even when moments like last week lead to uncomfortable doubts regarding the team’s marquee player.

“He’s conscious of it and sensitive about it, I think, very definitely,” Jones said of the criticism heaped on Prescott. “He’s not cavalier about that, and you can just sense it. I think he addresses it. I think Dak has been addressing his foibles or his shortcomings and trying to get those better and also working on his assets. I think Dak’s been doing that all his life. I think that’s the way his mama brought him up.”

Prescott was also taught to never dwell too much, on the failures, on the achievements, or on the sometimes erratic moments in between.

“Right now, the challenge is handling success. Having a game like this, 40-3, in the NFL is tough to do,” according to Prescott. “We’ve got to put this behind us. We’re as good as our last game, so we’ve got to turn the page and go put another one together on Thursday.”

If Prescott is anywhere near the level he played at this past Sunday, it should serve as a loud and clear answer to any more questions about being erratic.

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