Originally written on Sports-Glory  |  Last updated 12/10/12
Giants, Redskins, Cowboys Battle for Division. --- It was a wild Sunday for all four teams in the NFC East, which has now become the most “up for grabs” division in the league, with the New York Giants, Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles (although they were eliminated from the playoffs Sunday) winning in Week 14. New York has a one-game lead against Washington and Dallas, but with three games left in the regular season the division is very much in play. The New York Giants (8-5) held on to that one-game lead with a decisive 52-27 win against the New Orleans Saints (5-8) Sunday. That win snapped a four-game losing streak against New Orleans (including a 49-29 shellacking at the Superdome last year) and has all but ended the Saints playoff hopes. Giants rookie RB David Wilson was electric. He scored a kickoff return TD, two rushing TDs and set a team record with 327 all-purpose yards. His kick return touchdown (good for 97 yards) was the Giants longest since 1964 and their first since 2007. Wilson also became the first player in NFL history with 200+ kickoff return yards and 100+ rushing yards in a game. “To come up and have a breakout game like this is an excellent thing,” Wilson said after the game, “I went out there and my teammates went out there and we played great and put up 50 points.” QB Eli Manning threw for an impressive four touchdowns and completed 22 of 35 for 259 yards. At the press conference, Manning was already looking ahead to the rest of the Giants schedule, “Our concern for the next three weeks is the New York Giants and that’s all we can focus on.” The Giants are a team that, year in and year out, take their fans on a rollercoaster ride. If history tells us anything, we’re entering the classic Giants December revival. Is this victory the spark that ignites a run for a consecutive world championship? Not if their rivals outside the Beltway have anything to say about it. Kirk Cousins may be destined to sit on the bench in Washington, watching the evolution of Robert Griffin III, but he stepped up Sunday and led the Redskins (7-6) to an improbable 31-28 victory in overtime against the Baltimore Ravens after Griffin went down with an ankle injury in the final drive of regulation. Cousins, a fourth-round pick in this year’s draft, tied the game with 29 seconds remaining on an 11-yard touchdown pass to WR Pierre Garcon. After the game, Cousins’ teammates couldn’t have heaped more praise on him. “He’s ice. Like they used to say about Larry Bird, he got ice water in his veins,” WR Joshua Morgan said. “That’s the best thing you can say about Kirk.” It was a solid effort by the Redskins. Rookie RB Alfred Morris, a sixth-round pick out of FAU had another effective game, rushing for 122 yards on 23 carries with a TD. Rookie CB Richard Crawford returned a punt 64 yards in OT, setting up Kai Forbath’s 34-yard game-winning field goal. Baltimore (9-4) hoped to wrap up the AFC North with a win Sunday, but the loss keeps Pittsburgh and Cincinnati in contention for the division, only two games behind the Ravens. They also dropped back-to-back games for the first time since 2009. The Baltimore Sun reported today that after back-to-back loses the Ravens fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and that quarterbacks coach (former Indianapolis Colts head coach) Jim Caldwell will replace him. After starting the season at a bleak 3-6, the Redskins have won four in a row. Three of those wins came against the rest of the NFC East and now they’re currently atop in division wins (3-1). Washington may have gained momentum at the right time, but closing the gap is Dallas, who’s hoping the remainder of their favorable schedule gives them their first NFC East title in three years. Dallas played with heavy hearts Sunday, after the tragic death of LB Jerry Brown the day before in a car accident. Brown’s teammate DL Josh Brent, the driver of the vehicle, was charged with intoxication manslaughter. The Cowboys learned of Brown’s death en route to Cincinnati on Saturday. They honored their fallen teammate with a critical 19-16 win against the Bengals. Overall, Dallas (7-6) played a sloppy game, drawing unnecessary penalties, including defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s unsportsmanlike penalty after yelling at a Bengals player who had antagonized the Cowboys sideline. Cincinnati’s mistakes came at the end, when the game was on the line, especially using all of their time outs early in the second half. Without those crucial time outs, Cincinnati (7-6) couldn’t stop the clock on Dallas’ final drive, which ended with a game-winning 40-yard field goal by Dan Bailey. It wasn’t much of a celebration, though for the Cowboys and their thoughts returned to Brown. QB Tony Romo, who was 25 of 43 for 268 yards, a touchdown and interception, said afterward, “The last 24 hours has been something I’ve never experienced… It was a very – and still is – a very difficult thing that this football team is dealing with.” “I don’t remember crying this much other than maybe the day I was born,” said DL Marcus Spears. “With Josh’s situation and Jerry being gone, you felt it.” Life however, will move forward for Dallas. What better way to honor Brown than with a division title, a run at the playoffs and shot at a world championship. Life has also moved forward for Philadelphia. As the long farewell to Andy Reid continues, the Eagles (4-9) shocked everyone with a thrilling game-winning touchdown at Tampa Bay (6-7) as time expired from rookie QB Nick Foles to WR Jeremy Maclin. The win snapped a losing streak that extended over eight games and 70 days. It was the team’s longest losing streak in 42 years. Philadelphia overcame an 11-point deficit as Foles threw two touchdowns and finished the day with an Eagles rookie record, 32 completions for 381 yards. He also led the team for the day in rushing, with three carries for 27 yards and a score. “They’re gutty. That’s what they are,” Reid told the media after. “Some of the starters made big plays and then the backups jumped on the bandwagon and joined them… I’m proud of the whole bunch.” Foles said his first NFL victory was, “Very special. Very humbling,” and added, “We were winning, then we lost the lead. Guys stuck together.” Although the win is essentially meaningless for the Eagles (they were officially eliminated from the playoffs Sunday), they can still play for pride, honor and integrity. Many of them are also playing for their jobs, as is expected prior to any team’s offseason regime change. With home games against Cincinnati, Washington and on the road at the Giants to close out the season, Philadelphia can at least end 2012 on a high note, with their heads held high while looking ahead to 2013. As the Eagles look toward the future, the Giants, Redskins and Cowboys are focused firmly on the present. Looking at the playoff picture right now, it is unlikely that two teams in the NFC East will make it to the postseason. Winning the division outright is the sole way one of these teams will earn the right to play in January. Questions, comments, suggestions? Follow Lauren Seifert on Twitter @LaurenCBS
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