NFC L-East

For me there is little doubt where to find Game of the Week for week 14 – the place to be this Sunday is AT&T Arlington, Texas where the Philly Eagles are in town to contest for NFC East top spot against the resurgent Dallas Cowboys (4 wins on the spin).
The Eagles face the Rams in week 15 so a loss to the Cowboys and then Rams would see them facing 6-8 and basically out of the picture. A win for the Cowboys puts them at 8 wins and it looks like taking only 9 to take the division this year with the Redskins and Giants spluttering their way to the end of disappointing campaigns.
However, if the Eagles can walk away from AT&T with a win then it is tied up at the top and game on again with both teams 7-6. The set up is mouthwatering.
There are remarkable similarities on both sides – a clock chewing running game (Elliott for Cowboys and an emerging fund in Josh Adams for Eagles), two 3rd year QBs who can be efficient but neither are exactly tearing it up in the mould of a Mahomes, Brees or Goff), mauling defenses who can disrupt at the line of scrimmage but may be a little soft in the secondary. They also both have identical divisional records (3-1).
So how do we separate these two sides? Maybe it will be who makes the least mistakes? Dallas do have a better turnover differential than Eagles (+2 opposed to -8 over 12 weeks) and home field advantage – although i would say that is not so much of a factor as it may have been in Philly. Saying that, in week 10 Dallas did march into Lincoln Financial Field and walk away with a 27-20 victory but the Eagles have won 6 of the last 8 at Jerryworld.
I’ve got to say I am going back and forth on this one but because of the twists and turns that the NFL weaves in a season. However, got to get off the fence at some point so I am going to go with the Eagles to keep it interesting in the division no one seems to want to win easily – but I do think Dallas will end up taking the title come December.

Big D beats The Big E

I love what the Saints are doing this year, love Drew Brees and his gunslinger swagger. I have a lot of time and huge respect for Sean Payton and his creative, innovative play calling on offense (for example look at how they are lining up rookie Taysom Hill in a variety of positions, often creating havoc and mis-direction for defenses). However, I also like an even contest between offense and defence and take as much enjoyment watching Dallas stop New Orleans last week (13-10) as the shootout from Kansas City and the Rams from a couple of weeks back (54-51).
The effort from the Dallas D was intense, restricting Brees to 127 yards and the offense to a total of 176 yards! The work of Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esche was particularly noteworthy. Vander Esche is looking like a steal drafted by the Cowboys at 19 in the first round and the combo of him and Smith at linebacker could terrorise the NFC East for years to come.
What will be of interest is whether, come the playoffs, teams like the Cowboys and Bears who rely on a Big D can contain the possible onslaught of the offensive machines of the Saints, Rams, Chiefs etc. Remember “offense sells tickets but defense wins championships” (Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant).
So – who is looking forward to more match ups of the unstoppable force versus the immovable object as we close in on the playoffs?