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The NFC East is facing an identity crisis

(Except the Giants, they still stink)

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

We are at a crossroads. It will soon be time for decisions with long term ramifications to be made. Lives will be changed, jobs will be affected, families will be divided. Long gone are the comforting days of yesteryear, replaced with the fear of the unknown. Things are going to be different, if they aren’t already.

I am of course talking about the NFC East.

For years we have looked to this once great division with deserved scorn, disdain and mockery. For a decade the division has seen a new champion each year because someone has to, and this year will be no different because let’s face it, the Redskins aren’t going to win it. But yet, it is very different, because the NFC East is having an identity crisis. No division in the NFL has as many wins as the NFC East, which seems unbelievable. And because of it, teams in the division are facing their own issues with their own short and long term impacts.

Dallas Cowboys (4-1)

Last week: Ran over the sleepwalking Bengals 28-14

This week: Visit the scattershot Packers

For years the Jason Garrett era has had three absolutes: Tony Romo wouldn’t make it through the season healthy, leading the Cowboys to finish 8-8, and Jason Garrett would clap a lot. But times, as Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan once said, they are a changing. (*pushes his own face onto an electric stove for referencing Bob Dylan*) Two years ago Romo was healthy and the Cowboys won 12 games, last year he wasn’t healthy and they won only 4, but this year is the best of both worlds: Tony Romo is on the shelf and the Cowboys are in first place. Jason Garrett is still clapping a lot, affirming that we have not been living in some alternative universe.

But Romo is nearing a return from injury, and soon the Cowboys, who are on their bye in two weeks, will face an internal dilemma. To stay a playoff contender, they must keep Tony Romo on the sideline, where he can do his team and his back, his collarbone, his ribs, his collarbone, his pinkie finger, his collarbone, and his back no harm. But this is the Cowboys we are talking about. Their nature is to rush Romo back, and it would take a massive internal realignment for them to stay riding the hot hand of Dak Prescott, who thinks he should be benched:

“This is Tony’s team,” Prescott said. “I knew that going into the situation. I think everybody knew that. I’m just trying to do the best I can to give my team a chance to win week in and week out.”

The Cowboys are nearing a crossroads with their quarterbacks. They can chose change and start Romo, or they can chose to stay the course and keep Prescott in the lineup. Or they can chose change and bench Romo, or they choose to stay the course and start Romo.

Philadelphia Eagles (3-1)

Last week: Got a cold wake up call against the Lions

This week: Visit the Redskins and their awful turf

The Eagles aren’t at a crossroads and don’t have problems with their identity. Rather, they have problems with identifying. And they’re severe. On Sunday, Doug Pederson seemingly forgot who Wendell Smallwood and Kenjon Barner are, as they spent virtually the entire game on the sidelines after weeks of getting regular playing time. And Jim Schwartz seemingly confused Nigel Bradham with Mychal Kendricks and Jordan Hicks with Stephen Tulloch. They claim that they were resting people, but they must have forgotten that they were on the bye the previous week, just like they must have forgotten that Vinny Curry exists. But those transgressions were nothing compared to what this week looks to hold.

Jim Schwartz didn’t know who Kurt Cousins is. That’s a pretty big problem for the Eagles. Did he forget there is a game on Sunday? Or that the Redskins will play as many as eleven (11) players at once in it against his defense? Focus Jim, focus.

Washington Redskins (3-2)

Last week: Defeated the Ravens 16-10 in a snoozefest

This week: Host the Eagles in a battle of QB mayo boys

The Redskins identity crisis is pretty straight forward. Kory Cousins is predictably not living up to his $20 million franchise tag, looking much more like the 2014 version of Cousins that was twice benched for Colt McCoy than the second half of 2015 version, who looked like Nick Foles. And yet, he’s probably their best option for 2016. This puts the Redskins at their own crossroads: do they stay true to themselves and give Cousins a long term deal he doesn’t deserve and can’t possibly live up to? Or do they change course and let him walk and bring in say, Jay Cutler? On the surface, it’s a small change, as whoever the Redskins start in 2017 will not be someone good enough to consistently carry a team to playoffs while the Eagles and Cowboys have found their QBs for the next decade. And since it won’t work out either way, Dan Snyder will fire everyone in a year or two and start all over. Again. So maybe they’re don’t really have any new problems.

New York Giants (2-3)

Last week: Lost to the Packers 23-16 after not scoring a touchdown for 57:04 of game time

This week: Host the Ravens, who just replaced their offensive coordinator so expect them to score 35 points

The Giants... well they actually are who we thought they were. Their defense is still awful, their offense is still one dimensional and their coaching is still lousy. Nothing to see here.

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