The Dallas Cowboys are showing the league that they are better than 8-8. It would take a complete meltdown for the 5-1 Boys not to finish above .500 this season, something they have done the past couple seasons. The historically bad defense has figured out some scheme, but I do believe opponents on their schedule will catch up to it as the season progresses. The talent level is not necessarily better, but they are benefiting from DeMarco Murray’s weekly triple digits behind an improved offensive line. Will the tunovers catch up to them soon enough? Through six weeks of football, are the Cowboys peaking too early? No, we should not give America’s Team the benefit of any doubt. Rather, I will take a wait & see approach. One thing is for certain, they have been committed to the run and Dez Bryant continues to be clutch. Terrence Williams keeps flirting with a breakout campaign too. Going into Seattle to beat the champion Seahawks is a great accomplishment, but it is extremely challenging to take the franchise seriously when the owner interviews after a big regular season victory. There are still 10 games to go and the NFC East crown usually comes down to the final week, after all the Philadelphia Eagles are also 5-1.
MVP: RB DeMarco Murray – Six straight games of 100+ yards, they go as he goes.
Speaking of Philly, they head into the bye after shutting out a rival on prime time, beating the New York Giants 27-0. What is even more impressive, is the fact that they lead the NFC in scoring and point differential. Surprising, when you consider how mediocre the offense has played, if not below average. The first handful of games were led by the special teams and defensive return touchdowns. As predicted, the inexperienced replacements along the O-line finally got the hang of the game speed and physicality. That resulted in LeSean McCoy’s first game of the season going over the century mark. They jumped all over the G-Men, who just won three straight games, and they blitzed Eli Manning all night. Just how could can the Eagles be if they have only one loss despite only playing one good game? The comebacks show resilience, but they could very well be the scariest team in the NFC if they hit their stride coming out of the bye for the second half of the season. When you think about it, Nick Foles is throwing some ridiculous passes to the other team, those are clearly avoidable. The hogs up front should return to the 2013 lineup around weeks 9 and 10, so they only have a few more games to play undermanned.
MVP: S Malcolm Jenkins – Making an immediate impact on defense and special teams.
New York Giants
Coming into the season I thought New York would struggle to reach .500. The second Rashad Jennings got injured, I knew his absence would be bigger than most media heads would speak about. He has done everything for Big Blue: rushing, receiving, and pass protection. That void would not be filled by rookie Andre Williams, and they need Jennings back as soon as possible, especially after losing Victor Cruz for the season to a knee injury. First round pick, Odell Beckham, will get his opportunity at extensive playing time after playing a pair of games. He will now start alongside Rueben Randle, who has been a solid possession receiver. Larry Donnell had a couple breakout performances from out of the blue, but his aerial presence has been re-directed to help the line block. The offense should be able to cover up for Cruz upon the return of Jennings the workhorse. The defense has obviously given better efforts, but those performances did come against struggling teams. I think we will see them go through the roller coaster of unpredictability all season.
MVP: RB Rashad Jennings – He really does it all for them even if he does not have wiggle room on the ground.
The Washington Redskins are back in the cellar, no thanks to Kirk Cousins. It is apparent that Robert Griffin will reclaim his starting role when he gets healthy. Cousins has had some moments where he shows off his zip, yet his bad decisions have resulted in backbreaking interceptions. Take the loss against the Arizona Cardinals for instance, how does DeSean Jackson not warrant more targets after grabbing three balls for 115 yards? The opposing gameplan will focus on Alfred Morris on the ground, but there is nowhere for offensive guru and head coach, Jay Gruden, to hide the young quarterback. Teams are daring Cousins to beat them and he has not gotten the job done. The defense is actually playing pretty stout to keep them in games, they are tough to run on and they play man to man on the outside. Things cannot get much worse for the last-place Skins. Getting Griffin back will provide a dual-threat at the helm, and one that has the arm to connect with his speed receiving core, including Roy Helu and the tight ends. I would say a turn around for D.C. is entirely possible, I just won’t buy the talent until they prove it on gameday.
MVP: DeSean Jackson – This guy has been open and not thrown to much, he is still one of the best playmakers in the game.