NFC EAST RACE: Dallas Cowboys could still win the division

Don’t look now, but after the New York Giants’ 31-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday afternoon and the Dallas Cowboys’ 38-23 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on the road, the NFC East might not be decided just yet.

Here are the current NFC East standings, through Week 10. The Giants hold a 1.5-game lead over the Cowboys:

NFC East - Week 11 - NFL 2012-2013 Standings - The Boys Are Back blog

Here’s a look at the remaining schedules for each team. Notice the Cowboys’ schedule is loaded with home games and non-playoff contenders. The Giants have two fewer home games left and play the majority of their remaining games against contenders.

Cowboys remaining schedule

Week 11: vs. Cleveland

Week 12: vs. Washington (Thanksgiving)

Week 13: vs. Philadelphia (Sunday Night Football)

Week 14: AT Cincinnati

Week 15: vs. Pittsburgh

Week 16: vs. New Orleans

Week 17: AT Washington

Eagles remaining schedule

Week 11: BYE

Week 12: vs. Green Bay (Sunday Night Football)

Week 13: AT Washington (Monday Night Football)

Week 14: vs. New Orleans

Week 15: AT Atlanta

Week 16: AT Baltimore

Week 17: vs. Philadelphia

Editors Note: I think this post is a little premature. Sunday’s win over Philly was huge! Yes, the Dallas Cowboys are still in the hunt … but, there is a LOT of football left to be played.

First, the Cowboys need to take care of business vs. Cleveland Browns and the remaining opponents. Nothing should be taken for granted. Garrett’s conservative style keeps these games close.

Secondly, player health has been an issue all season. The 46-man roaster has changed every week. For Dallas to have a shot, they’ll have to remain reasonably healthy or backup/role players will need to step up. The Cowboys will need Murray and the offensive line to stay healthy while they get in sync as a unit.

Third, no team plays the Dallas Cowboys like they are non-playoff contenders. Teams play-up to the talent when they face the Cowboys. Cowboys Stadium creates a “Super Bowl” atmosphere for visiting teams … and they respond. The new car smell is gone for most of the players, but for visiting teams that come into town once a year (or on the four year scheduling cycle) … it’s a spectacle! Teams are already hyped. The stadium adds to the adrenaline factor. The Cowboys must learn to feed off of that energy.

It’s good to know that they’re still alive in the playoff race. I think we should be cautiously optimistic. There are six divisional games left. All four teams are fighting for that top spot. It’s not going to be given to Dallas, the Cowboys will have to take it. Comments welcome.

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