NFC East Week 9 Power Rankings: Washington Redskins Plummet

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistOctober 30, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 28:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants celebrates a touchdown by  Henry Hynoski #45 against the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on October 28, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Half of the NFC East's four teams have reached the midway point of the 2012 season, which is almost hard to believe when you consider that it feels like just yesterday we were watching the Giants host the Cowboys in the prime-time opener. 

With half a season in the books, here's how we rank the division's four teams...


1. New York Giants (6-2, first last week)

They generally are not winning pretty, but they're the only team in the division that is winning at all lately. Only the New England Patriots have a higher-rated offense and no team in football is averaging more yards per offensive play. 

A pass defense that is surrendering 8.3 yards per attempt and somehow let Dez Bryant get open in the end zone with 10 seconds to play Sunday is still the biggest concern.

They overcame problems on the back end of the defense last year, and have improved enough in the running game that they're still probably a better team overall, but for the Giants to repeat the pass rush will have to step it up like it did down the stretch last season.

Look around the league, though, and it's hard to find anyone in significantly better shape than these guys.


2. Dallas Cowboys (3-4, third last week)

They nearly beat the Giants despite not having Sean Lee and DeMarco Murray and turning the ball over six times. But Lee isn't coming back, Murray's still out and it doesn't appear as though those turnover issues are going away any time soon. 

Dallas is the NFC's sloppiest team. These guys still have the talent to compete but you would be foolish to believe they can suddenly become disciplined or consistent on either side of the ball, especially with those injuries. 

Of course, had Bryant's right hand not grazed the out-of-bounds line as he came down for what would have been a game-winning touchdown catch Sunday against New York, we would be singing a very different tune here. Game of millimeters. 


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

A team that until Sunday was 13-0 after bye weeks in the Andy Reid era was completely dominated by the Atlanta Falcons Sunday. If that isn't a sign that Reid's time is nearly up, the fact that the desperate Eagles might be on the verge of installing rookie third-round pick Nick Foles as the starting quarterback is. 

The Eagles have the talent to turn things around and have a strong second half like last year, but there's still a good chance that won't be enough. They can't afford to lose more than two of their final nine games. 

In all likelihood, this team enters 2013 with a new head coach and starting quarterback.


4. Washington Redskins (3-5, second last week)

It looks as though injuries and a general lack of talent have caught up to the Redskins, who might have been playing a little over their heads during the first seven weeks of the season. That offense is still scary, but there's just nothing happening for them on the defensive side of the ball. 

As the season wears on, more Washington opponents will find out how to beat these guys, which could mean the 'Skins end up posting a double-digit loss total again. 

It's tough, because I'm watching what's happening with these guys and I can't help but wonder how much better they could be right now and in the immediate future had they not lost $36 million against the cap.