There has barely been time to digest all that went wrong for the New York Giants in Monday's horrific 27-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. It's a short week, however, and it's already time to begin looking ahead to Sunday's matchup at MetLife Stadium with the Dallas Cowboys. The Giants, perhaps unbelievably, are 5-point favorites over Dallas in the early betting line.
Quite honestly, that should tell you everything you need to know about the state of the NFC East. The NFL is a league designed for, and dominated by, parity. Any supposedly "bad" team can beat any supposedly "good" team on any given Sunday, Monday or Thursday. Teams can look great one week and awful the next.
The NFC East (Least, if you want to call it that) is the poster child for the league's parity. Chris wrote earlier today that "there is a lot of bad football being played right now" across the league. The four NFC East teams can serve as a poster child for that, too.
The Giants authored two of the most atrocious endings to football games you will ever see in losing their first two games. Then, they won three straight. They played some good football, but also took advantage of the utter ineptitude of the Washington Redskins, Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers along the way. They they did whatever it is that they did Monday against the Eagles. Let's just put it in the bad football category and leave it there.
The 2-3 Cowboys? Apparently, the defending NFC East champs are a two-man team. They haven't won a game with those two players -- Tony Romo and Dez Bryant -- injured. The are hoping journeyman quarterback Matt Cassel -- found wanting by the New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs and Minnesota Vikings -- can help them. There is some buzz that Bryant might return from foot surgery Sunday against the Giants, but that remains to be seen.
The 3-3 Eagles? They won Monday night and the odds now favor them to win the division. For now. You can't convince me yet, though, that the Eagles are a good football team. Quarterback Sam Bradford was awful Monday with three interceptions and a bunch of off-target throws. Watching the Eagles beat the Giants -- convincingly -- with Bradford playing that poorly has to give Cowboys fans hope that they can win Sunday with Cassel calling signals.
The 2-4 Redskins? They have somehow won two football games so far, but they can't be taken seriously until they have a real NFL quarterback.
What do we make of all of this? Well, despite having tossed away three winnable football games and maybe having no business being called contenders, the Giants are still exactly that. Whatever the percentages say, and whatever your eyes tell you about the very obvious flaws the Giants possess, being part of the mediocre muddle that is the NFC East means the Giants still have an opportunity.
Over their next three games, they face the 2-3 Cowboys at home, then travel to the 2-4 New Orleans Saints and 2-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Over their final 10 games they have only three (New England Patriots, New York Jets, Carolina Panthers) against teams who currently have winning records. They get both the Cowboys (this week) and Eagles (Week 17) at home.
The Giants certainly didn't play like a playoff team on Monday. In the middling world of the NFC East, where teams alternately seem to take turns looking good and bad, nothing that has happened yet this seasons means the Giants can't, or won't, end up as one, however.