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NFC East Power Rankings | Week 12

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Dallas cowboys running back Tony Pollard and quarterback Dak Prescott | Image by USA Today Sports

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The race for first place in the NFC East continues to get messier as the season draws out, and all four teams in the division are well within the competition for playoff appearances.

The division is no longer led by an undefeated juggernaut that suddenly seems vulnerable after squeaking out a win. In addition, a masterful performance from a team in need of a bounce-back performance has tightened this division up even more than Thanksgiving dinner will strain waistbands across the country this week. Add to it that even the last-place team in the division is clear of .500, and things get messier every day.

Football fans will get a treat on Thanksgiving with one of the division’s hungriest defenses going against a rival in a modern classic and both morning and evening games on Sunday that will test the strength of the division with major ramifications heading into the most joyous part of the season.

1. Philadelphia Eagles (9-1, 2-1 division)

NFL Rank per NFL.com: 2 (-1)

Week 11 Result: 17-16 win at Indianapolis Colts

The high-flying Eagles got caged up in Week 10 and then barely managed a victory over the hopeless Colts in Week 11. The Eagles offense seemed off and out-of-sync through the first three quarters and trailed 13-3 in the final quarter before Jalen Hurts threw two touchdowns to steal a win from the Jeff Saturday-led Colts. As a result, there will be plenty of talk this week about whether the Eagles have peaked or if Sunday was just a not-very-good showing against an inferior opponent.

The Eagles get primetime billing on Sunday night to take on the Green Bay Packers, who are demonstrating their own inconsistencies but still have one of the game’s greatest gunslingers under center.

2. Dallas Cowboys (7-3, 2-1 division)

NFL.com Rank: 3 (+5)

Week 11 Result: 40-3 win at Minnesota Vikings

When Micah Parsons and the Dallas defense get fired up, their opponents had better watch out. Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins learned the hard way, getting mauled by Parsons on his first pass attempt of the game, a play that resulted in a strip-sack fumble recovered by the Cowboys for an early field goal. Cousins was sacked seven times in the game, and the Cowboys offense is finally looking like the unit fans were promised back in September.

The connection between quarterback Dak Prescott and receiver CeeDee Lamb is bearing fruit, while Tony Pollard is making a case for who the real No.1 running back is in the locker room. In clutch games, a kicker who can hit a field goal from just about anywhere on the field is vital, and Brett Maher demonstrated why the Cowboys gambled on bringing him back by hitting two back-to-back 60-yard field goals, though only one counted.

The Dallas defense will be looking to feast against division-rival New York on Thanksgiving, and the Cowboys are suddenly knocking on the door of becoming the best team in the division.

3. New York Giants (7-3, 0-1 division)

NFL.com Rank: 15 (-2)

Week 11 Result: 31-18 loss vs. Detroit Lions

The sensation that New York has been teetering on the precipice of success and failure has been growing stronger by the week, and Sunday’s fall against the Detroit Lions might just be the moment that fans look back on at the end of the season when trying to figure out where things went wrong.

Then again, the Giants have demonstrated tenacity to win in big moments over the course of this season, and the loss at home might just be the spark that reignites Big Blue as the team heads into the most harrying part of the 2022 schedule. Quarterback Daniel Jones threw two picks, and Isaiah Hodgins lost a fumble, mistakes the team simply cannot make if they are going to remain competitive.

The Giants are playing against the Cowboys in the midday game on Thanksgiving and will need a much more solid performance across the board if they hope to earn their first division win of the season.

4. Washington Commanders (6-5, 1-2 division)

NFL.com Rank: 16 (+1)

Week 11 Result: 23-10 win at Houston Texans

The Commanders are looking like a contender these days as coach Ron Riviera has resurrected Taylor Heinicke from the depths of backup quarterbacking to a legitimate starter and a star. The Commanders have won five of their last six games and are over .500 for the first time since Week 1.

The Texans are playing bad football right now, but the win by the Commanders was much more about execution than it was about the quality of the opponent. Heinicke and the Commanders are not out of the playoff race yet, and the team will have opportunities in the coming weeks to show whether the winning ways are for real or just a result of inferior challengers.

The Commanders will get a chance to show up against the 5-6 Atlanta Falcons in the early slot on Sunday.

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