Over the first five weeks of the NFL season, everyone seemed to be in agreement that the NFC East is the best division. Coming into the week, the four teams were a combined 14-5 with four of those five losses coming within the division.
After Week 6, however, the NFC East was knocked down quite a few pegs.
Three of the four NFC East teams lost this weekend to teams that were a combined 4-9. Two of them were beaten by teams from the NFC West which is regarded by many as the worst division in football.
The most shocking was the Washington Redskins' home loss to the previously-winless St. Louis Rams. The Skins outplayed the Rams but had too many mental mistakes to overcome. The Dallas Cowboys lost in Arizona to the Cardinals. That isn't as big an upset aside from the way the Cowboys lost.
Last night, Eli Manning was picked off three times in the New York Giants loss to the Cleveland Browns.
The vaunted NFC East fell to the Cardinals, Rams and Browns? How? Now it comes down to flaws or flukes. Did these losses expose flaws in the Giants, Redskins and Cowboys or were they just fluke games?
Let me start by saying that Arizona, St. Louis and Cleveland won those games and you cannot take that away from them. They forced seven turnovers from the NFC East teams and made huge clutch play after huge clutch play.
I don't think it means that the NFC East is overrated. Overhyped, maybe, but not overrated. The Redskins nearly doubled the Rams' offensive output and the only touchdown St. Louis scored was on a fumble return after an offensive lineman caught a pass. The Cowboys out-gained the Cardinals by nearly 100 yards and lost on a blocked punt in overtime. The Giants, well, they were tagged by Cleveland.
That doesn't mean the NFC East doesn't have issues. The Giants looked like the team from last December when people couldn't trust them. The Cowboys will be without Tony Romo for a month. The Redskins showed that they cannot handle success.
The one bright spot for the NFC East teams is that only the last-place Eagles (who won at San Francisco) gained any ground in the division. So even though the other teams lost a game they felt they should have won, they all fell together.
In a sick twist of fate, it will be hard for these teams to move on since they trade dancin' partners. The Redskins get to host the Browns, the Cowboys travel to take on the Rams and the Giants host San Francisco. The Eagles and Cardinals are both off. A great chance for the division to flex its muscle again.