In the July 22 issue, I revealed my predictions for how the first third of the 2016 NFC East schedule would pan out. And so, it is my pleasure to now bring to you my predictions for the second third of the season.
Before I get into predictions for Weeks 6 through 11, I’d like to briefly recap each teams estimated performance in Weeks 1 through 5.
The Dallas Cowboys won their first four games, but lost in Week 5 at home against the Cincinnati Bengals, which gave them a 4-1 record and sole possession of first place. The New York Giants, who were in second place after the first third of the season, had an upset victory on the road against the Green Bay Packers in Week 5, which brought their record to 3-2. The Philadelphia eagles split their first four games to go 2-2, but did not play in Week 5 due to a bye. The Washington Redskins got off to a shaky 0-3 start to the season, but they rebounded in Weeks 4 and 5 and improved their record to 2-3
(DAL 4-1, NYG 3-2, PHI 2-2, WAS 2-3)
The Eagles meet with Washington at FedExField for a Sunday afternoon matchup. Washington has won each of its last three games against Philadelphia, and that streak remains intact in Week 6 of 2016. Kirk Cousins throws three touchdown passes, two of which end up in the hands of former Eagle Desean Jackson, and the Redskins beat the Eagles 34-20 as they improve to 3-3.
The Giants take on the Baltimore Ravens at home in East Rutherford, New Jersey. In a game that the Giants will likely be favored in, due to the fact that their win in Week 5 was an upset victory on the road against the Green Bay Packers, they come out out and play poorly. Eli Manning throws two interceptions, and Rashad Jennings loses a fumble on a crucial fourth quarter drive, dooming the G-Men to a 24-21 loss. New York remains in second place above the Redskins due to the head-to-heads tie-breaker.
Dallas hits the road to take on the Packers in a Sunday afternoon rematch of the 2014 NFC Divisional playoff game in which the Cowboys lost due to a controversial “dropped” touch-down pass by Dez Bryant. Tony Romo still has lingering symptoms from his back injury in Week 5, so he is only able to play through the first half. With Romo out of the game, the Cowboys stand no chance against Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay’s passing attack. The Packers beat the Cowboys 38-17.
(DAL 4-2, NYG 3-3, WAS 3-3, PHI 2-3)
The Giants travel all the way to London to play the Los Angeles Rams Oct. 23 at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. Eli Manning was the winning quarterback in the NFL’s inaugural “London game,” and his experience from that game will help him tremendously. In a game that is dominated mostly by defense through the first three quarters, Manning and the Giants’ passing attack comes to life in the fourth and delivers a touchdown in the final minute of the game to life New York to a 16-13 come from behind victory.
The Eagles play the Minnesota Vikings at home and are no match for the “Purple People Eaters.” Adrian Peterson runs for more than 150 yards and Minnesota’s dominant defense smothers Philadelphia for a 31-7 victory.
Finally at .500, Washington plays road game against the Detroit Lions. Josh Norman bates Matthew Stafford for a pick-six in the first quarter, the Washington doesn’t look back. Cousins throws two touchdowns en route a 24-13 Washington victory.
After losing back-to-back games in Weeks 5 and 6, with Tony Romo injured in both of them, Dallas has a much needed bye week.
(DAL 4-2, NYG 4-3, WAS 4-3, PHI 2-4)
It’s Washington’s turn to travel overseas, where they play the Cincinnati Bengals. The rainy conditions and loose turf on the pitch of Wembley Stadium make it difficult for Kirk Cousins and Washington’s passing attack. The Bengals capitalize by intercepting Cousins three times, and their defense leads them to a 23-10 victory.
The Eagles travel to Dallas for a Sunday Night Football Showdown and a rematch of a 33-27 overtime victory against the Cowboys in Week 8 of 2015. Romo is at full strength after the bye week and shreds the Eagles secondary by throwing for 350 yards and 3 touchdowns. Overtime is not necessary. Dallas wins 35-17.
New York has their bye week.
(DAL 5-2, NYG 4-3, WAS 4-4, PHI 2-5)
The Eagles travel to MetLife Stadium to take on the Giants. In recent history, Philadelphia has had New York’s number. Not only have the Eagles won each of their last four regular season games against the Giants, but they’ve also won their last three games on the road against New York. Due to the pressure their defensive front seven creates on Eli Manning, Philly’s streak of dominance over the G-Men continues with a 28-14 victory.
Dallas travels up North to take on their second AFC opponent in 2016, the Cleveland Browns. Romo has four touchdown passes at half time, and the Cowboys dominate the browns in a 42-20 victory.
Washington rests on its bye week.
(DAL 6-2, NYG 4-4, WAS 4-4, PHI 3-5)
In their first game off of their bye week, the Redskins get their turn to take on the dominant Vikings defense in a home game Nov. 13. The Redskins’ offense meets the same fate that the Giants’ and Eagles’ did. Cousins throws two as Washington loses to the Vikings 28-7.
The Eagles get an opportunity to avenge their heartbreaking 2015 Week 1 loss as they take on the Atlanta Falcons at home in Lincoln Financial Field. Philadelphia gets off to a quick 14-0 start after a first quarter interception, thrown by Matt Ryan. However, Julio Jones goes for 100 yards in the second half, and the game is knotted 23 with two minutes remaining. While driving the Falcons for a game winning field goal, Ryan throws a pick-six, dooming the Falcons to a 30-23 loss.
Dallas begins a difficult five game stretch on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers. In a game that features two of the NFL’s most high-powered offense, and two of the worst defensive secondaries, the Steelers and Cowboys trade touchdowns all throughout the first 55 minutes of the game. Romo throws two touchdowns to Bryant and Roethlisberger throws three touchdowns to Antonio brown. However, Pittsburgh gets the ball last, and Big Ben leads the Steelers on a five minute drive for a game winning field goal. Dallas falls to Pittsburgh 38-35.
The Giants play the Bengals at home for a Monday Night Football matchup Nov. 14. New York’s defensive end Olivier Vernon has a big night, sacking Andy Dalton twice and forcing Cedric Benson to fumble. Odell Beckham Jr. shines on the big stage and leads the Giants offense with 140 receiving yards and two touchdown catches. New York wins 24-16.
(DAL 6-3, NYG 5-4, WAS 4-5, PHI 4-5)
In their final of matchup of three consecutive home games, the Giants take on the Chicago Bears. Giants rookie Sterling Shepard has his first big game in the NFL, catching passes for over 100 yards and two scores. Trailing by nine with five minutes to go, Jay Cutler throws a fourth quarter interception to seal the Bears fate. New York wins 26-17.
The Eagles travel to the west coast to play against the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle’s causes Sam Bradford to throw four interception, and Russell Wilson evades Philadelphia’s pass rush to throw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns. Seattle wins convincingly 37-10.
Dallas plays host to the Ravens and takes control of the game in the first 30 minutes. Ezekiel Elliott runs for 80 yards by halftime against a Ravens defense that ranked 26th against the run in 2015. Despite Elliott’s success, Romo takes a hard hit from Baltimore Linebacker C.J. Mosley, which forces Romo to leave the game. Despite the departure of Romo, the Cowboys win 31-21.
Washington takes on the Packers at home in a Sunday Night Football rematch of their 35-18 loss to Green Bay in the 2015 NFL Playoff Wild Card round. Once again, Rodgers and the Packers prove to be superior to Cousins and the Redskins. Rodgers throws four touchdown passes as the Packers win 35-24.
(DAL 7-3, NYG 6-4 WAS 4-6, PHI 4-6)
Through Week 11, Dallas holds a one game lead over the Giants. Despite both teams having the same overall record, Washington is ahead of Philadelphia due to the head-to-head tiebreaker.