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NFC East: What Are We Looking At Here?

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Dallas Cowboys head coach <strong>Wade Phillips</strong>.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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Our New York Giants play their first NFC East game of the season Monday night when they travel to Dallas to face the hated Cowboys.

That makes this a perfect time to assess the jungle that our 4-2 Giants, who are in good shape tied with Philadelphia for the division lead, are about to enter.

So, let's take a team-by team look around the division.

Dallas Cowboys (1-4)

We have to start here, since the Giants travel to the Jerry-Dome Monday night to face the Cowboys. This is a team in disarray. More excessive celebration penalties than victories. Tons of talent, but a coach who can't seem to get them to play. Turnovers, mistakes, losses.

How does a team rank third in the league in offense and fourth in defense, yet win just one of five games? Beats me, but Dallas has done it. Truth is, this has to be absolute glee for the rest of the NFL, which in no way wants to see the Cowboys get to play a home Super Bowl game at the end of this season.

Owner Jerry Jones and coach Wade Phillips are trying to remain optimistic about the team's chances.

"I guess we think we’re a better 1-4 team than some teams that are 1-4," Phillips said. "I mean mentally. They don’t think they might not win the next game. Gosh, we might not win this next one. This team thinks… I still think they think they’re going to win this next game. Now, we’ve got work to do and all that."

Owner Jerry Jones took it a step further by saying the playoffs are still possible for the Cowboys.

"A lot of people say the old saying, 'You are what you are,' when you look at 1-4," Jones said Tuesday on his weekly radio show. "We are not that. Our team is doing some very good things. I believe we can turn things around. While the odds are against us, we can make all the things happen that we wanted to do this year."

Jones said he had little reason for optimism in the locker room following the 24-21 loss to the Minnesota Vikings Sunday. Two days later, he says he believes in the Cowboys because of his belief in the players and Phillips.

"I believe in these guys," Jones said. "I believe in the coaching staff. I believe in Wade Phillips. It's going to be quite a challenge to be in the playoff hunt. Just look at it mathematically. We have a high percentage of our remaining games to win. This is a league that is real close. All you've got to do is look at the scores and see how close these teams are. So it's a real challenge."

Let's hope the Giants put this wounded animal out of its misery Monday night. Then, they can focus on the two teams right now jockeying with them for top spot in the division.

Philadelphia Eagles (4-2)

Kevin Kolb? Michael Vick? Kevin Vick? Michael Kolb? Exactly who is this team's quarterback, anyway? What day is it? What time is it? Which guy is even in uniform this week? Does any of it really matter?

The Eagles seem to find ways to win enough games to be a threat no matter who is taking snaps from center. Now they have to overcome the loss of DeSean Jackson to a concussion for the next several weeks, and we will see what kind of impact that has. Jackson is the one guy they have who is always a threat to get them easy, quick points. It remains to be seen if their offense, ranked No. 4 in the league currently, can still get the big play without him.

The Eagles are ranked a fairly pedestrain 11th in the league defensively in terms of yards allowed per game, so there are plays to be made against Philly.

I am still not sure what the Eagles are. I'm not sure coach Andy Reid knows, either.

Washington Redskins (3-3)

Pretty much what you knew they would be with Mike Shanahan coaching and Donovan McNabb quarterbacking. Dangerous, but not dominant.

Washington's defense is ranked last in the league. Offensively, McNabb is McNabb. Brilliant sometimes, boneheaded and innacurate other times.

The Redskins are a work in progress. But, they are no longer an easy victory.