- The Washington Times - Monday, November 30, 2020

The NFC East could come down to the play of Alex Smith and Colt McCoy once again.

ESPN reported Monday that an MRI revealed that New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones will likely miss some time with a hamstring injury — leaving McCoy, a former backup with Washington, as the Giants’ de-facto starter. McCoy replaced an injured Jones in Sunday’s win over the Cincinnati Bengals, which moved New York (4-7) into first place in the division.

With the Giants potentially in the driver’s seat to win the East — they have the easiest schedule remaining — McCoy will get another opportunity to show he can lead a team.

Two years ago, of course, McCoy took over mid-game for Smith after the starter shattered his leg in a loss against the Houston Texans. Washington fell to 6-4, but still held the division lead. Coach Jay Gruden and Washington was hopeful and excited that McCoy, a former starter who had been in the offense for years, could help keep the team in control of the race.

McCoy, though, didn’t get a chance to show a lot. He started just two games — a Thanksgiving loss in Dallas and a “Monday Night Football” matchup in Philadelphia — before breaking his leg in primetime. The injury was an unfortunate turn of events for McCoy and Washington, which finished the season 7-9.

But now, McCoy will likely be depended on again — and he has a significant chance to affect the outcome of another division race, if he’s needed for an extended period of time. The 34-year-old signed with New York in March to be Jones’ backup.

It is still unclear how many weeks Jones will miss with his injury. There are five games left in the regular season. The NFL Network reported Jones avoided serious injury and will test his hamstring later in the week.

Washington and New York are each 4-7, but the Giants hold the tiebreaker after sweeping the season series last month. Washington will need Smith to play well, particularly as the team’s schedule gets brutal with a three-game slate against the Steelers, 49ers and Seahawks.

Against the Bengals, McCoy finished with 31 yards on 6-of-10 passing.

The Giants play the Seattle Seahawks next Sunday.

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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