The New York Giants, defending Super Bowl champs, have a shot at putting some space between themselves and the Redskins this week. But Washington at 3-3 is a surprise. It was the other two NFC East rivals who were supposed to put pressure on New York again this season.
Instead, Philadelphia fired defensive coordinator Juan Castillo this week after blowing a fourth-quarter lead at home to Detroit, and Dallas looked like a mess even as it tried to put together a late comeback in Baltimore on Sunday.
The Eagles are now 3-3 and dealing with the fallout of that coaching change. The Cowboys are 2-3. Both teams have shown weaknesses early in the 2012 season.
"I'd be very concerned about Philadelphia's defense," NBC analyst Tony Dungy said. "We have talked about the offensive problems, but this is two weeks in a row that they have had the lead."
Dallas, meanwhile, scored a late touchdown against Baltimore, failed to convert the two-point conversion to tie the game and then lacked urgency after recovering the ensuing onsides kick. The game ended with a 51-yard missed field goal by Dan Bailey.
"There were a lot of time management issues for the Dallas Cowboys in that game," NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth said. "They had opportunities. They basically take [a] timeout with them back to Dallas. They had opportunities to win that they gave away."
They better fix those issues this week vs. Carolina (1-4) because after that the Cowboys play the Giants (4-2) at home and the Atlanta Falcons (6-0) on the road. It may be a matter of confidence more than anything for Dallas, which held the ball for more than 40 minutes against a crippled Ravens defense and still couldn't win.
- Brian McNally