The NFC East features a collection of players and teams that are hot as well as those whose performance leaves something to be desired. The division race is still yet to be determined but these players and teams have played a key role in the standings through ten weeks.
To be hot, a player (or team) must be playing extremely well recently. They should be a key component of a team, one who is vital to the success and outcome of the game.
Similarly, one who is not is a player who is mired in a dreadful slump. It could be based on poor performances on a weekly basis or off-the-field issues that have plagued a team.
Where did this guy come from? DeMarco Murray was drafted in the third round of the 2011 NFL draft as the fourth running back on the Dallas Cowboys’ depth chart—behind Marion Barber, Felix Jones, and Tashard Choice.
Since then, Barber and Choice have been released, and Jones is struggling to stay healthy. Murray is receiving the bulk of the carries, and he’s rushed for 601 yards in the last four games.
Murray’s 253-yard output against the St. Louis Rams was the greatest single-game rushing total in Dallas franchise history. He’s also averaged at least six yards per rush in each of the past four games.
Remember when the Washington Redskins were 3-1? Since then, they’ve lost five straight games and their quarterback situation has become a revolving door.
Mike Shanahan is a known quarterback guru—he was the key factor in helping John Elway win two Super Bowls late in his career—but he hasn’t been able to win ballgames with Rex Grossman and John Beck.
The Redskins have bigger problems than just their quarterbacks though. They have the NFL’s 31st ranked rushing offense and an offensive line that has struggled to block.
You could make a pretty strong case that Andy Reid should be labeled as HOT, considering how hot his coaching seat has been getting.
The Philadelphia Eagles are 3-6 despite a boatload of talent. Reid’s decision to promote offensive line coach Juan Castillo to defensive coordinator has backfired, and the Eagles are undisciplined and out of sync with one another.
It might be time to call LeSean McCoy the best running back in the NFL. McCoy has scored a touchdown in every game of the Philadelphia Eagles season, and he is averaging just a shade over 100 rushing yards per contest.
McCoy leads the NFL in first downs (57) and perhaps his most remarkable statistic is that he hasn’t fumbled the football yet. If only his head coach would feed him the ball more, the Eagles might have more than three wins.
Eli Manning lost last week against the San Francisco 49ers and their top-ranked defense, but that shouldn’t negate the stellar season Manning is having.
He has been without Hakeem Nicks and Ahmad Bradshaw for multiple games, but he is still being talked about as an MVP candidate.
Manning is on pace for career highs in completion percentage, passing yards, yards per attempt, touchdown to interception ratio, and passer rating. He’s also led more fourth-quarter comebacks (four) in nine games than he has ever done in a full season.
The New York Giants’ decision to pick Jason Pierre-Paul midway through the first round of the 2010 NFL draft has really paid off. Pierre-Paul is a pass-rushing force, racking up 9.5 sacks already in nine games.
He didn’t have any sacks in the previous matchup with the San Francisco 49ers, but still had a strong performance, totaling two tackles, two stops, and three quarterback pressures.
It certainly appears like DeSean Jackson won’t be getting the new contract he wants.
Jackson totaled 94 receiving yards in a three-game span before finally being deactivated against the Arizona Cardinals due to missing a team meeting.
Jackson is still a threat to score whenever he touches the ball, but what’s shocking is the rate of catchable balls he drops—his 19.4 rate leads the league.
The $100 million quarterback just can’t stay healthy. There was the concussion against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 2, followed by a right hand contusion in week three, and then a dislocated finger in Week 4.
This past game against the Arizona Cardinals, Michael Vick broke two of his ribs on the second play of the game. Although he didn’t come out, his performance suffered greatly.
The New York Giants are clinging to first place in the NFC East, but their second-half schedule is brutal. The Giants play the Dallas Cowboys twice, away games against the New Orleans Saints, then the New York Jets, and have a matchup against the undefeated Green Bay Packers.
In all seven seasons under Tom Coughlin, the Giants have finished with a worse record in the second half than the first half. This could very well be the eighth straight occurrence.
The Dallas Cowboys are 5-4 and one game behind the New York Giants in the NFC East standings. They also happen to play the easiest schedule of any NFL team in the second half of the season.
The Cowboys do play the Giants twice, but they face a slew of easy contests against the Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Taking the division is a real possibility.