Pancakes In the Age of Enlightenment- Week 8 NFC East

I’m sorry the live updates conked out again on Sunday. That process has been plagued by technical difficulties from jump street, and unfortunately, I’m pulling the plug on it going forward. It makes me look bad and the site look bad when I promise updates and am unable to post them, so I’ve made peace with the fact that’s it’s just not do-able.

So, starting today I’m trying out a new format. I’ll be posting daily updates that cover one division at a time. No more, no less. Six days, six divisions. On Sunday, you’ll get the Pregame Show, which will preview the upcoming games.

Here we go.


This division has been a muddled mess for the most of the year. Trying to make sense of it is like trying to escape from drowning, you eventually become so ensconced in the murk that you forget which way is up and which is down.

The Giants though, are beginning to separate themselves. The division lead has changed hands. The Eagles have now dropped two in a row after a 4-1 start, while the Giants have strung together 3 W’s since their bye week to take a ½ game lead in the most unpredictable division in football.

The Giants’ most recent win came Monday Night, on the road against Dallas. It was a dominating performance. Big Blue sacked Cowboy quarterbacks 6 times, and picked them off 4 times. Tiki Barber and Brandon Jacobs combined for 37 carries and 154 yards, and Eli Manning was able to work with Plaxico Burress to produce 2 huge plays. The game was never close.

Of course, there are 2 ways to gain separation from your competition. You can get better, as the Giants have, or the competition can get worse, and the rest of the NFC East has done that too.

The media have been sticking their thumbs in each othe’s rectums all week over who should be the Cowboys quarterback. The quarterback isn’t the problem. Dallas has scored over 20 points in every game but one this year.

The problem is the defense sucks.

On paper, the Dallas defense should be OK. They rank 8th overall in yardage, and are 4th against the run.

In the last 3 weeks though, the Cowboys have had 2 big division games against the Eagles and Giants. In those 2 games, they’ve given up 38 and 36 points respectively. The Giants ran all over that 4th ranked run defense too. Somebody please tell me how Tony Romo is the answer to that.
Let’s preface our Eagles discussion by saying they lost on the road on a 60+ yard field goal attempt. So, if not for those two factors, we’re probably rubbing our nipples over them this week and talking about what a great comeback win Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook led them to. But, they didn’t win, they lost, so we must take on a negative tone.

The Eagles have only been competitive this year because Donovan McNabb has played out of his mind most of this season. They lost in Tampa last week because McNabb got real, real sloppy. To wit:

– The second quarter interception that Ronde Barber ran back for a TD was just a mistake by McNabb. He didn’t know where Barber was on the field. He happened to be right in the path of where he was throwing the ball.

– Bad clock management at the end of the first half, most notably an inexplicable decision to throw the ball to LJ Smith on the 2 yard line with 2 seconds remaining and no timeouts. Smith gets tackled immediately by a pair of defenders and the Eagles come away with nothing.

– A second INT run back for a TD by Barber. This one wasn’t really McNabb’s fault though. Barber jumped the route and made a great play.

So, what we learned from this game was, Donovan has a bad game, the Eagles lose. Probably, if Donovan has an average game the Eagles lose too. He’s a one man band here, and you have to wonder if that’s good enough to get the Eagles into the playoffs.
Is Gregg Williams still a defensive genius? I hope not, because the Redskins defense ranks 26th in the league.

Gregg Williams is on my list. He’s on my list because even after going 17-31 as the Bills head coach, he somehow manages to land an assistant coaching gig that pays over a million dollars a year, and for this six figure salary, he delivers a 26th ranked defense. This is what you call having a horseshoe up your ass.

That’s the lowdown on the NFC East for this week. Come back tomorrow and I’ll throw another division at you.