The NFC East is lead by the 5-2 New York Giants.
After a slow start the Giants have a modest four game winning streak entering their bye week.
Sporting an impressive 4-0 record in games v. the NFC, the Giants have a shot of making the playoffs as either division winners or a wildcard team.
NFC EAST STANDINGS (Division Records)
New York Giants 5-2 (1-0)
Philadelphia Eagles 4-3 (0-1)
Washington Redskins 4-4 (2-0)
Dallas Cowboys 1-6 (0-2)
The Giants season has been an early roller coaster ride.
A small high to begin the season followed by a big drop and now a steady climb back to the top. Sporting the NFL's second best defense and ninth best offense, the Giants are back to their 2008 form.
Now onto the grades by position:
The knock on Eli is he is not an elite QB. Are you kidding me? Through seven games Eli numbers are:
65 percent completion
7.5 per completion
245 yards per game
88.3 QB rating
14 TD in seven games on a team that would like to pound the rock with Jacobs and Bradshaw is impressive. Half the interceptions coming of tips doesn't help his stats but Eli has to a little more accurate with the football.
Overall Grade : B+
Would have gotten an A but two bad picks (left handed v. Titans, and int No. 3 v. Cowboys) Eli should have just eaten the ball and take the sack.
Otherwise, Eli is in the MVP discussion.
Ahmad Bradshaw is in the top 10 in the NFL in rushing through seven games. The dynamic running back has added another 16 grabs out of the backfield and is a defensive co-ordinator nightmare.
Probably the best underrated player.
Brandon Jacobs has been a nice complement to Bradshaw; not the other way around. Realizing that he is not the number one guy on this team, Jacobs has found a new life, and is the featured guy at the goal line. Look for Jacobs to get more carries as the year goes along.
Both have been very good picking up the blitz and given Eli more time to throw.
Overall Grade: B+
FUMBLES need to stop. Bradshaw already has lost four of them and Jacobs added another. Helmet-gate almost got Jacobs out of here but the Giants did the smart thing and kept him.
The Giants have a three quality wide receivers that can do it all.
Want to stretch the field? Insert Mario Manningham.
Need to convert a third down? Call Steve Smith.
Want it all? Throw the ball to Hakeem Nicks.
Nicks is a superstar in the making. In his second year, he has 45 rec, 525 yards and 8 TDs after just seven games.
Steve Smith has continued to be his steady self and a great complement to Nicks. He has 43 rec, 471 yards and two TDs.
Mario Manningham has rebounded after a poor second half last year to give Eli Manning another weapon on the outside. Mario has 21 rec, avg 16 per and three TDs.
The Giants wide-outs together have help the Giant running game. Bradshaw and Jacobs have 14 runs of 20 or more yards which shows how well they are blocking down-field.
Overall Grade: B
Tip passes are killer. Half of Manning interceptions are off the wide-out hands. They have to catch the ball better. Former third round pick Ramses Barden still hasn't gotten on the field much.
The Giants line has made up for a slow start to play very well.
The bright spot on the line has been the return of Rich Sheubert at left guard. Add the pro bowl form of Chris Snee and quality veteran play from David Diehl, Kareem McKenzie and Shawn O'Hara and you have the NFL's second ranked overall offense.
Backup tackle Shaun Andrews has seen more playing time in the Giants heavy formation at tackle and TE. The former probowler has been a good late free agent pickup by Jerry Reese. Adam Koets also played very well at center filling in for O'Hara while he was out with injuries.
Overall Grade: B+
Speed rushers Dwight Freeney and Roger Mathis took advantage of the Giants tackles. With games against DeMarcus Ware, Trent Cole and Bryan Orakpo the tackles will have their hands full. How the Giants slow them down will be the key to their success.
20.5 sacks, 12 forced fumbles, 10 tackles for loss is what the Giants defensive line has through seven games. Most teams will be happy if they got that for a whole year. Amazing performance from everyone on the line from Justin Tuck, Chris Canty, Barry Cofield, first round pick Jason Piere-Paul and Osi Umeyoira.
With the Giants losing Mathias Kiwanuka, after being the best player for the first three games of the season, the unit stepped up their game.
No one more the Osi who looks to be the player of 2008. Osi has eight sacks, seven forced fumbles and has been the difference maker the Giants defense has been looking for.
Already the unit has knocked out Matt Moore, Jay Cutler, Shawn Hill and Tony Romo.
Overall Grade: A
Not the scariest group on paper, but their play says something else.
Michael Boley, Jonathan Goff and the combination of Clint Sintim and Keith Bullock have exceeded expectations.
Boley has been a tackling machine in several games. Brought last year as a key free agent pickup, Boley looks to finally living up to the expectations. He is tied for the team lead in tackles at 43.
Jonathan Goff is sixth on the team in tackles with 33, and has helped keep the running game in check.
Keith Bullock has added some veteran leadership to the group.
Clint Sintim has started two games and has been a viable special teams player.
Overall Grade: B-
Finally healthy, the Giants' secondary has contributed to the defense's No. 2 ranking against the pass.
Having three safeties playing well has helped the Giants secondary. Kenny Phillips is healthy again, Antrell Rolle has been solid in the deep half of the field and Deon Grant has played a great as a hybrid linebacker/safety.
Starting cornerback Corey Webster is playing at a Pro Bowl level. Terrell Thomas has played solid at the other cornerback. Aaron Ross has been a disappointment. The former first round pick still hasn't played like he did in college.
Overall Grade: B
With games against the Packers and two against the Eagles the Giants secondary will be tested.
This is the good the bad and the ugly for the Giants.
The Good: Lawrence Tynes—Kicker
After not being on the same page with Punter Matt Dodge, Tynes has been better with new holder Sage Rosenfelds. For the season he has made seven for 10 FGA including a couple over 50 yards. His kickoffs have been better. Coming off his best game in Dallas, the Giants appear to be pretty safe with Tynes the rest of the way.
The Bad: Matt Dodge—Punter
Not holding on to a couple of snaps gets you cut in this league. As a holder on field goal attempts, Matt was in over his head. Not spotting the ball correctly cost the Giants points, getting a costly delay penalty v. the Titans was unacceptable.
His punting has improved as the season has gone on, but needs more of a hang time to help the punt coverage.
The Ugly: Returns and Coverage
Boy to the Giants miss Dominek Hixon. Darius Reynaud hasn't done a thing. Averaging a whopping six yards per punt return isn't getting done. Kickoff returns aren't much better at 18 yards per return. The Giants need a change and the addition of Will Blackman might help the return game.
Coverage teams have been poor. Giving up big returns still a problem. Already had a punt blocked.
Going from the chopping block to elite status in the NFL. is based on what you did on Sunday.
After three weeks I thought Tom Coughlin was about to get the boot.
Boy was I wrong. Ever since the Sunday night game v. the Bears, the Giants look like a different team.
The hiring of Perry Fewell to be the defensive co-ordinator has brought back a a relentless defense. The defense is attacking like they did under Steve Spagnola and has the same swagger.
The defense is ranked second overall in the NFL.
Offensively the Giants are loaded. Kevin Gilbride has all the pieces you need to contend for a championship. A great running game, a solid offensive line and three wide receivers to throw to, makes this team hard to stop.
Overall Grade: B+
Adding Antrell Rolle and Deon Grant to team with Kenny Phillips in the Giants' secondary, has paid off big time.
Not knowing when Phillips was going to be able to play following knee surgery, Grant and Rolle were brought in to solidify the middle of the Giants secondary. All three have excelled in Perry Fewell's system.
Shawn Andrews and Keith Bulluck have added depth to their positions. Andrews has played tackle and could possibly take over for David Diehl or Kareem McKenzie. Bulluck, while missing some games with turf toe, has been a starter at OLB.
The draft brought in Jason Pierre-Paul, DE out of U of South Florida, P Matt Dodge, DT Lival Joseph, LB Phillip Dillard, and G Mitch Petrus.
While Petrus and Dillard are looked as prospects to develop, neither have seen any action on the field.
Lival Joseph DT has been in and out of the lineup with the Giants and has only a few tackles. Joseph will most likely be looked at to be a replacement for Barry Cofield after the 2010 season.
Matt Dodge and JPP have made an impact. Dodge has scared everyone when the Giants punt, and JPP has the Giants excited on what he could be. JPP has excelled on special teams coverage, ranking neither the top in tackles. While yet to get a sack, JPP has shown the speed and strength to be a monster on the defensive line. Look for big things down the line for JPP.
Overall Grade: B+