The good thing about these weekly NFC East power rankings is that one of the league's saddest divisions of 2012 has at least had some power return to it of late.
The Dallas Cowboys had won back-to-back games before falling to the Washington Redskins, who have now won back-to-back themselves, and of course the New York Giants turned things around with a very impressive blowout victory over Green Bay Sunday night.
And then there's Philadelphia.
Here's how we view the league's most popular, but clearly not most talented, division with five games remaining for all involved...
1. New York Giants (7-4, second last week)
They're back. All it took was a week to re-calibrate and recharge. Eli Manning's throws were better and the pass rush had more pressures Sunday night than it had the previous two games combined, according to Pro Football Focus.
And while this team is still far from perfect, that's the key. As long as Manning's in a zone and they're getting to the quarterback and Tom Coughlin is able to do his thing, this is a prime Super Bowl contender. They've regained a two-game lead in the NFC East and can pretty much put the division to sleep with another prime-time victory Monday in Washington. Another winter run at Lombardi could be in the works for the fairly healthy G-men.
2. Washington Redskins (5-6, third last week)
Of course, the unpredictable Redskins can completely spoil New York's party still. Washington has an easier schedule than the Giants do coming in, and it would become a whole lot easier if they could take care of New York Monday. Don't forget that they've outplayed the G-men in their last three meetings.
This 'Skins team has the offensive firepower to make the playoffs. The question now is whether the defense can continue to duplicate what they've been doing the last two weeks. Suddenly, they're getting to the quarterback and veteran corners DeAngelo Hall and Cedric Griffin are no longer major liabilities. There's renewed hope right now in D.C.
3. Dallas Cowboys (5-6, first last week)
But that's no longer the case in Dallas, where hope is fading quickly. Too many injuries, too many mental mistakes and too many letdown losses in one season. The Cowboys can stay alive with a win over terrible Philadelphia Sunday and fight back by beating the Bengals on the road, but the schedule's not so easy the rest of the way and we all know they'll eventually deliver a dud or two again.
This team just isn't ready for playoff success. They might not need a complete revamp, and luck hasn't been on their side this year, but some tweaks will be very necessary this offseason if the Cowboys expect to compete with the Giants and 'Skins in 2013.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (3-8, fourth last week)
A revamp is necessary here, though. The Eagles are officially a disaster, and now it's only a matter of time, it seems, before Jeffrey Lurie blows things up. The owner implied in a press conference prior to the season that an 8-8 campaign would be unacceptable, and now that's become the best-case scenario.
The question, now, is whether the Eagles will win again this season. Keep in mind that their three victories in the first four weeks came by a combined four points. This is a team that could seriously be 0-11 right now. Considering the perceived talent assembled on the roster, that's just unbelievable. May we never forget this team for its baffling ineptitude.
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