- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Dallas Cowboys (8-4, 2-2) — The Cowboys looked like the prohibitive favorite before Sunday’s 31-24 loss to the Giants dropped them back into a tie with the Eagles at 8-4 (though the Cowboys hold the tiebreaker for now after winning in Philadelphia). The good news is Dallas has the most balanced offense of the East’s power troika thanks to Tony Romo, Marion Barber, Jason Witten and surprise receiver Miles Austin. The bad news is the Cowboys also have by far the toughest remaining schedule (San Diego, at New Orleans, at Washington, Philadelphia).

Philadelphia Eagles (8-4, 3-1) — The Eagles continue to succeed in spite of injuries; next weekend against the Giants at the Meadowlands, they’ll likely still be missing concussed stars Brian Westbrook and DeSean Jackson. There are no true breathers left on Philadelphia’s schedule (at Giants, San Francisco, Denver, at Dallas), but the Eagles do boast the strongest overall defense of the three teams.

New York Giants (7-5, 3-1) — The Giants rebounded from their midseason swoon by completing a season sweep of Dallas on Sunday and face the weakest schedule of the three teams (Philadelphia, at Washington, Carolina, at Minnesota). The one-game deficit to both the Cowboys and Eagles looms large, however, with games running out and a season-ending matchup at NFC North power Minnesota (6-0 at home) on the horizon.

Our take — If Philadelphia wins Sunday night at the Meadowlands, where they have two consecutive victories, the Eagles are likely to clinch the division before their season-closing game at Dallas. If the Giants beat the Eagles, then Dallas has the edge by hosting Philadelphia in Week 17. But there are a few reasons to like the Eagles in the battle down the stretch: first, they rank third in the NFL in turnover margin (plus-nine); New York is at zero and Dallas at minus-three. Second, the Eagles have owned the Giants of late, winning three straight in the series by exploiting New York’s suspect secondary. Third, the Eagles, and not the Giants, are the division’s sack specialists this season. And finally, the Cowboys have a nasty recent history of imploding in December; don’t think the specter of seasons past doesn’t have a locker in Arlington.


“I hope she uses a driver next time instead of a 3-iron.”

Swedish golfer Jesper Parnevik, who introduced Tiger Woods to his wife, Elin, on the Golf Channel discussing the Thanksgiving domestic dispute between the couple

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