While the Cowboys have the Philadelphia Eagles to thank for their current top spot in the conference, it's those same Eagles who currently pose the biggest threat to Dallas' spot as the lead dog in the East.
At 4-2 the Eagles have completely surprised the football world. Most expected them to falter this year behind a rookie quarterback deemed as “not ready,” and an offense lacking any real weapons. The real strength of the Eagles has come on defense, as their front seven has taken over games and lead Philadelphia to these 4 victories.
This Sunday, those Eagles travel to Dallas with the inside-track to first place on the line. Although it is still early in the season, the Cowboys have a real chance to separate themselves from the pack, and take over this division with a win on Sunday.
The Jumbled NFC East
Per usual, the NFC East is an absolute jumbled disaster this season. The only difference, all four teams actually look to be good this year. The NFC East has the best “out of division” record in the NFL, and all four of it's teams are over the .500 mark.
The parity between the teams has continued this season as well. In their season opener the New York Giants knocked off the Cowboys by one point. In week 2, the Cowboys squeaked by the Washington Redskins on the road. In week 3, Washington traveled to the Meadowlands and defeated the Giants.
In other words, not a damn thing in this division makes sense. But as fans of the NFC East, we wouldn't want it any other way.
How the Cowboys can create separation
To understand just how important Sunday night's game is, let's first take a look at the NFC East standings.
|1||Dallas Cowboys||5||1||vs. Eagles|
|2||Philadelphia Eagles||4||2||at Cowboys|
|3||Washington Redskins||4||3||at. Bengals (London)|
|4||New York Giants||4||3||Bye Week|
So what does all of this mean?
With a win Sunday, the Cowboys will put themselves a full 2 games ahead of every team in the loss column. On top of this, Washington has to travel to London (where the games are always ugly) to play a pretty good Cincinnati Bengals team which badly needs a win.
I like the Bengals chances in that game, and if they were to win, it would knock the ‘Skins down to 4 losses, including one against the division leading Cowboys, just about burying their chances as of now.
The Giants have a bye week, but the Cowboys can still gain significant ground over them with a win Sunday. As I stated earlier, a win would put them two whole games ahead in both the win and loss column. Plus, the Giants haven't exactly looked all that impressive these past few weeks, even in victories over the Ravens and Rams.
Oh, and the Giants have the Eagles and Bengals coming up after the bye, neither of which is a “gimme” of any sorts.
A win over the Eagles would also give the Cowboys a 2-1 record within the division, halfway through their divisional games. Considering their second match up with the Eagles will be in Philadelphia, which is always a tough place to play, Sunday's game has even extra importance to it.
Only the Redskins would also have a winning record within the division, but since their one loss came to the Cowboys, their record wouldn't mean as much.
Anytime the Cowboys and Eagles get together, there's an extra energy in the air. It's a historical rivalry filled with hatred that neither side wants to lose. But this Sunday, the Cowboys should have a little extra motivation knowing that they can take total control of the NFC East with a win.