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State of the NFC East: Week 13

It appears the New Orleans Saints really have it out for the Eagles. After running up the score against the Birds a few weeks ago, the Saints laid their only egg of the season last week against the Cowboys, dealing a blow the Philly’s playoff hopes. The good news is the Eagles handled their own business, keeping themselves in the mix for a postseason berth. Let’s look at how the division stands as we enter the stretch run.

Cowboys (7-5)

Dallas retains a one game lead over the Birds courtesy of their aforementioned win over the Saints.

Dak Prescott completed 24-28 passes for 249 yards and a touchdown, but it was the Dallas defense that stood out.

That unit limited Drew Brees to just 127 yards through the air, intercepting him once. Alvin Kamara had just 36 yards on the ground, while Michael Thomas had just five catches for 40 yards. The Saints managed a paltry 65 yards rushing and 176 yards of total offense. They 3.7 yards per pass and 3.4 yards per rush and were 3-11 on third down and 0-2 in the red zone.

Eagles fans are all too familiar with what the Saints offense is capable of, and to see the Dallas defense limit them like they did is eye-opening.

The Cowboys will look to take a huge step towards claiming the division on Sunday when they host the Eagles.

Eagles (6-6)

The Eagles handled their business, defeating the Redskins 28-13. The win gave the Birds their first consecutive wins of the season, and more importantly kept them within striking distance of the Cowboys.

Doug Pederson managed to stick with the run, as the Eagles rushed 33 times for 130 yards.

The defense was able to force a turnover, something that has been sorely lacking this season. The defense was good overall, as they piled up three sacks, nine tackles for loss, and nine QB hits.

But it was the rush defense that really stood out. Looking at the numbers they don’t look that impressive. Washington rushed 14 times for 104 yards and a touchdown, averaging 7.4 yards per carry. But when you remember that one of those rushes was a 90-yard touchdown for Adrian Peterson, things suddenly look much different. Remove that one play and Washington managed 13 rushes for 14 yards. Despite the 90-yard scamper, Peterson failed to reach 100 yards on the night. Outside of that one breakdown, the rush defense was dominant.

In addition to keeping the Eagles right on the Cowboys’ heels, the win moved the Birds to 3-1 in the division, tying them with Dallas. Consequently, a win on Sunday would allow the Eagles to leapfrog the Cowboys and take over first place in the division, setting up a massive matchup on Sunday afternoon.

Redskins (6-6)

The wheels have quickly fallen off for Washington. After controlling the division for much of the early season, the Redskins have lost three-straight and are on their third quarterback. They suddenly need a lot of help to stay in the race and are trending in the wrong direction. They take on the Giants this week.

Giants (4-8)

The Giants are apparently not interested in tanking, as they got a surprising win over the Bears last week. They have won three of four and are likely looking at a top 10 draft pick instead of a top five after looking to be on track to battle for the top overall pick. Eagles fans wouldn’t mind if they picked up another win on Sunday when they play the Redskins, which would all but eliminate Washington from contention.

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