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NFC East Power Rankings | Week 9

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NFC East team helmets | Image by NFC

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The NFC East continues to impress this season with three teams showing a high degree of competitiveness. There is no secret who the top team is; after the trade deadline, that NFC East powerhouse will only be more fearsome down the stretch. Perhaps this is a magical season for teams in the Northeast, as several clubs, who are often focused on next season, are looking at making strong runs at the playoffs.

Three of the four teams in this division are contenders and are winning big games over tough teams in demanding stadiums, while the unfortunate bottom-dweller is facing pressure from the U.S. Government and the National Football League to straighten up or sell out. Who wins this division may not be the biggest storyline this season; it may come down to what happens to the loser that draws the most interest.

1. Philadelphia Eagles (7-0, 2-0 division)

NFL Rank per NFL.com: 2 (no change from Week 8)

Week 8 Result: 35-13 win vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Philly is on fire right now, and not just on the football field. With the Phillies battling for the team’s first world series pennant since 2008, fans in the City of Brotherly Love have a lot to cheer about.

Last week, the Eagles took on a Steelers team that is swirling in its own way as it seeks identity and was clearly overmatched on both sides of the ball. Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts continues to impress with accurate throws and his ability to slip out of the pass rush and make teams pay on the ground. He was 19-of-28 passing for 248 yards and four TDs Sunday in a game that Gardner Minshew finished off because of the lopsided score.

Philadelphia acquired the services of defensive end Robert Quinn ahead of the draft deadline to bolster an already-impressive pass rush which will be essential if this team is to make a run at the Super Bowl this year.

The Eagles will face the Houston Texans on Thursday Night Football this week in a contest few sportswriters believe the Eagles can lose. Talk of an undefeated season has already begun.

2. Dallas Cowboys (6-2, 2-1 division)

NFL.com Rank: 4 (no change from Week 8)

Week 8 Result: 49-29 win vs. Chicago Bears

The Dallas Cowboys offense is clicking at just the right time. After sustaining the team early in the season, the Cowboys defense now has the ability to open up and play even more up-tempo and ferocious knowing that quarterback Dak Prescott and Co. have the firepower on hand to devastate any team.

Last week, the Bears’ rushing unit tallied 240 yards on the ‘Boys defense, but it didn’t matter much as the offense scored touchdowns on the first four drives of the game, led by running back Tony Pollard who got the RB1 reps with Ezekiel Elliott sidelined due to knee and leg injuries. Pollard blew up the Bears’ defense, rumbling for 131 yards and an average yards-per-carry of 9.1.

The Cowboys enter the bye week looking to get a few players healthy, including Elliott — who team owner Jerry Jones insists is still the go-to guy in the running backs room — which leaves Pollard in a position to just make big plays whenever his number is called. The Cowboys picked up defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins from the Las Vegas Raiders ahead of the trade deadline to bolster the run defense.

3. New York Giants (6-2, 0-1 division)

NFL.com Rank: 11 (-5 from Week 8)

Week 8 Result: 27-13 loss at Seattle Seahawks

The New York Giants have been on a tear this season, defying expectations by finding ways to win close games, especially late in the day.

The biggest criticism of this team has been the lack of quality opponents they have faced and that was on display against a Seahawks team that is surprisingly good this season. The G-men managed only one touchdown and couldn’t get rolling at any point in the game. Running back Saquan Barkley has been the workhorse for the Giants, but the ‘Hawks effectively bottled him up, holding the star to a mere 53 yards on 20 carries.

The Giants sent receiver Kadarius Toney to Kansas City prior to the trade deadline, weakening a unit that was already short of talent. The team enters the bye in Week 9.

4. Washington Commanders (4-4, 0-2 division)

NFL.com Rank: 25 (+3 from Week 8)

Week 8 Result: 17-16 win at Indianapolis Colts

With news breaking this week that embattled Commanders owner Dan Snyder and family have hired a firm to explore options to sell the team coinciding with news that the U.S. Government has opened investigations into the team’s alleged mismanagement of funds and culture of sexual toxicity, things aren’t looking great for the Commanders.

Facing the equally troubled Colts, it took a Taylor Heinicke touchdown sneak with only 22 seconds remaining in the game to get a win. It wasn’t a great look for a team that is set to face several teams with winning records in the coming weeks, including the undefeated Eagles.

The Commanders will need to tune out the off-season distractions and buckle down to play sound football in order to remain relevant, however, the team has put together a three-game win streak that got them to .500 at the midpoint of the season.

Washington didn’t make big moves ahead of the trade deadline, sending corner William Jackson III to Pittsburgh after the player indicated he wanted out of the clubhouse. The Commanders face a Minnesota Vikings team this week that is in control of the NFC North.

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