This has been a terrible year in the NFC East. The division will only send one team to the playoffs and that will be a fairly mediocre 9-7 team at that. The Eagles are an obvious disappointment considering that many had them pegged as a Super Bowl contender prior to the season. The Redskins, with a win Sunday, can only equal their win total from Mike Shanahan's first year, so there's been no improvement or sign of life there.
The Giants and Cowboys are the only two teams left with a shot and one will end the year .500 and potentially third place in the division. The Cowboys, with Tony Romo back healthy, were seen by many as a playoff team and the Giants, for all their yearly "no one expects anything of us, we're the underdog" nonsense, were 10-6 last year and expected to be a contender. All these teams have taken a step back in one way or the other. Only Dallas, who went 6-10 last season thanks to Romo's injury, is guarnateed to have an improved record.
Despite that, none of the four coaches are expected to be fired says SI's Don Banks in his "Black Monday Primer" column. He does say that if any of the four could be a "surprise" firing it's Shanahan, but he hears no rumblings to make anyone think that will happen. Actually, the most likely candidate to depart the NFC East is Tom Coughling, says Banks, but not because he was fired.
I talked to one league source this week who maintains he won't be surprised if Coughlin walks away after this season, playoff trip or no playoff trip. Coughlin is 65, and the thought is that he has tired of coaching every year on the hot seat, with one-year extensions being given by the Giants to keep him out of a lame-duck situation. The source said he thinks Coughlin has had enough of that arrangement and will leave on his own terms after this season. I'm not convinced, however. I think Coughlin still loves coaching, wouldn't know what to do with himself without it, and might have to be dragged kicking and screaming from his corner office. My dollar says he's back in blue in 2012.