NFC East Week 7 Power Rankings: Top Spot Up for Grabs at MetLife

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistOctober 16, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 14: Head coach Tom Coughlin of the New York Giants on the sidelines during the third quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on October 14, 2012 in San Francisco, California. The New York Giants defeated the San Francisco 49ers 26-3. Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

That top spot curse we touched on last week? Yeah, that's over. The New York Giants have embraced the No. 1 position on this list and don't look as though they'll be giving it up any time soon. Then again, a loss to the Washington Redskins in Week 7 would change everything. 

Here's my latest order of merit in the league's most popular division:


1. New York Giants (4-2, first last week)

When was the last time you saw a dominant team get dominated at home like that? If there was any doubt that Tom Coughlin is the best head coach in football, it has to be gone now. Coughlin played the disrespect card all week, and it worked, trumping the San Francisco 49ers' attempt to play the revenge card. 

In their 26-3 dismantling of the Niners, New York took sole possession of the top spot in the NFC East with six sacks (and zero sacks allowed) and three takeaways (to go with zero turnovers). Now, they'll soon get Chris Canty and Kenny Phillips back on defense. 

Can they do it consistently? The Redskins beat Big Blue twice last year and are extra dangerous in 2012. The Giants can begin to pull away with this division by taking care of the 'Skins Sunday. Avoiding a letdown is the new objective. 


2. Washington Redskins (3-3, third last week)

We now have proof that Robert Griffin III is talented enough to change any game at any time, which must scare the hell out of the rest of the division. On top of all that, the defense continues to get pressure despite the absence of Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker. They sacked Christian Ponder four times Sunday, taking some pressure off of a mediocre secondary. 

Now Griffin, Ryan Kerrigan and Co. get their first taste of intra-divisional play with a matchup with the Giants in Week 7. On the road and with expectations still relatively low, they've got little to lose at MetLife, which is dangerous if you're New York and exciting if you're Washington.

Even if they can't capture a victory in Jersey, the 'Skins are clearly the second-best team in the NFC East right now. Don't be surprised if they're part of the playoff conversation in December.


3. Dallas Cowboys (2-3, fourth last week)

I'm giving them credit for nearly winning a very difficult game in Baltimore, but the concern is that silly mistakes and a lack of overall focus continues to drag Dallas down. That's why I just don't trust this team at all right now.

In addition to being stuck in last place in the division, the Cowboys will now have to fend without DeMarco Murray for at least a week (but probably more), which puts more pressure on the rest of an offense that has made a comical number of mistakes five games into 2012.

With the Giants, Falcons and Eagles on deck after a tricky road matchup with Carolina, we'll know if the Cowboys are contenders or pretenders (again) by the time Week 11 arrives. 


4. Philadelphia Eagles (3-3, second last week)

What a mess. Good teams in tight divisions can't afford to blow it in back-to-back fourth quarters the way Philadelphia has. And as a result, the heat is once again on Andy Reid, Juan Castillo and Michael Vick as they enter their bye week. 

We've said time and again that it's early and that the talented Eagles can still turn this around, but at some point we have to just accept that they're an average team. They're 11-11 since that makeover in the 2011 offseason and they've won their three games by a total of only four points this year. 

If they can't turn this around over the final 10 weeks, it'll be another wild offseason in Philly.