NFC East Notebook, Sept. 27: Preparing for the AFC West

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

NFC East updates from Washington, Dallas and Philadelphia

The NFC East and AFC West will clash this weekend, two divisions trending in opposite directions.

The winless New York Giants and Washington Redskins are looking to put their first check in the win column, while the division-leading Dallas Cowboys face an upstart San Diego Chargers team under new coach Mike McCoy. And the Philadelphia Eagles have their hands full, traveling to Mile High Stadium to face the red-hot Denver Broncos.

Dallas Cowboys

Injuries are the major storyline in the Cowboys-Chargers showdown, and both sides have been bitten by the bug.

Wide receivers Miles Austin (hamstring) and Dwayne Harris (hip) both missed practice Thursday, and it's looking more and more likely Austin could sit out as a precautionary measure. If Austin can't go, Terrance Williams will start opposite Dez Bryant.

In San Diego, rookie right tackle DJ Fluker was the only starting offensive lineman to take part in practice. Left tackle King Dunlap (concussion) will have to pass league protocol to suit up. Until he can do so, Mike Harris will get the nod. Center Nick Hardwick is dealing with shin splints, right guard Jeromey Clary has a sore clavicle and left guard Chad Reinhart has been slowed down with turf toe.

McCoy said he expects both Hardwick and Clary to play Sunday, though neither would be at 100 percent.

Keeping with the theme of offensive linemen, the Cowboys could see veteran Brian Waters make his season debut this week. The Pro Bowl guard has not played since 2011 and has been brought along slowly. And according to Jerry Jones, Waters is ready to take every snap this week.

Philadelphia Eagles

During the Eagles' loss to Kansas City last week, the team almost lost something bigger: their starting running back.

LeSean McCoy twisted his ankle against the Chiefs, and that ankle continues to bother him -- but not enough to keep him out of Sunday's matchup with Denver. The league's leading rusher returned to the game after suffering the injury and is expected to play fully against the Broncos.

In terms of the game plan, Bleeding Green Nation is begging coach Chip Kelly to become more aggressive ... on fourth down. At Oregon, Kelly went for it on fourth down 118 times, converting about 60 percent of the time, according to CFBstats.com. The Eagles have faced 21 fourth downs through three games, going it for just once.

BGN is encouraging Kelly to stop being cautious and go for it, expecting it will not only pump up the offense but give the defense a break.

Washington Redskins

There's two major areas of concern in the nation's capital: what is up with Robert Griffin III and who kidnapped the Redskins defense?

In a Reddit AMA, Skins linebacker Perry Riley fielded questions about his defense. Among the highlights from the interview, Riley said to be patient with the unit until it can straighten things out, that every player is aware of their performance and all want to work to fix it.

As for updates from Mike Shanahan's Wednesday presser: It's more likely Fred Davis will line up at tight end Sunday than Jordan Reed. Though Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrell Pryor is doubtful to play, the Skins are devising two types of game plans, one for Pryor and one for backup Matt Flynn.

Follow Sam on Twitter @SamSpiegs


NFC East Standings

W L T PF PA
Dallas 2 1 0 83 55
Philadelphia 1 2 0 79 86
New York Giants 0 3 0 54 115
Washington 0 3 0 67 98

(updated 9.27.2013 at 3:09 AM EDT)


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