NFC East Notebook, Oct. 4: Cowboys without Austin, Eagles expecting Jacobs

Jeff Gross

News from the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins.

This weekend the NFC East will finally start its division schedule, kicking off Sunday when the winless New York Giants host the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Dallas Cowboys get their crack at Peyton Manning and the touchdown machine that is the Denver Broncos offense, while the Washington Redskins have a bye week where they can try and correct their own issues moving forward.

Dallas Cowboys

In what Cowboys fans are hoping will be a shootout, the home team may be without one of their top offensive weapons again. Miles Austin (hamstring) has not practiced all week and it is looking very unlikely he will suit up on Sunday.

No Austin doesn't mean the Cowboys won't utilize their vertical passing game. Quarterback Tony Romo said he has been working with Dez Bryant on deep passes, and if the defense gives them that look he won't be afraid to pull the trigger.

A vertical passing game isn't the only thing Dallas will need to install to beat the Broncos. Asking coaches from around the league what it'll take to beat the undefeated Broncos, answers included: pressuring Manning, disrupting his rhythm and physical coverage in the secondary.

Philadelphia Eagles

With the firing of Lane Kiffin at USC early this week, the rumor mills have churned out Chip Kelly's name as a candidate for the Trojans' job. Kelly, who was an integral part of Oregon's rise and is familiar with the Pac-12, will not flea Philly, according to Bleeding Green Nation.

Some of the reasons as to why include Kelly's ban from college football until 2015, his six-year deal with Philadelphia and already the coach has denied being interested in the position.

In the early part of Friday morning, the Giants made a trade for Carolina Panthers linebacker Jon Beason to help upgrade their corps, but BGN doesn't believe it matters. Beason was recently benched in favor of former Giants linebacker Chase Blackburn and is dealing with an injury. Essentially, it's being viewed as a depth move.

Sticking with the Eagles-Giants theme, BGN expects a heavy dosage of Brandon Jacobs Sunday. With the release of Da'Rel Scott, Jacobs rises on the depth chart, and because of his experience against Philly he could see a greater role with the offense. However, that role could be in the form of pass protection and goal-line carries.

Washington Redskins

Who has been the Skins' first-quarter MVP? Hogs Haven considers the following five players candidates: Ryan Kerrigan, Alfred Morris, DeAngelo Hall, Pierre Garcon and Robert Griffin III.

Though the defense has been putrid, Kerrigan is fourth in the NFL in sacks (5). Hall has a pick-six and a fumble recovery for a touchdown, but he's been burnt time and time again.

Morris probably hasn't received enough carries as he deserves, but he has almost 300 yards. Garcon has 339 yards and a pair of touchdowns. And despite a sophomore slump, RGIII is playing OK considering he underwent reconstructive knee surgery 10 months ago.

Hogs Haven is predicting neither Hall or Josh Will will return to Washington in 2014, so they've decided to already look forward to who could be the corners next season. Rookie David Amerson is a candidate to start, and opposite him could be Richard Crawford, who is expected to be recovered from a preseason knee injury.

Aqib Talib and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie headline the free-agent pool, while Virginia Tech Kyle Fuller -- a local product -- are some prospects that may be available in the draft.

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