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Eagles, Cowboys Wins Push Giants to the Edge of NFC East Picture

New York is now thre games out of first place in the NFC East

By By Mike Wilkening
|  Monday, Oct 14, 2013  |  Updated 6:11 AM EDT
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Images from the Giants-Bears Game

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Clockwise from top left--Eli Manning, LeSean McCoy, Tony Romo and Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris

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The Giants begin week seven facing their biggest deficit of the season.

The Eagles and Cowboys won on Sunday, evening their records at 3-3. This leaves the 0-6 Giants three games out of first place in the NFC East with 10 games left to play.

The Giants, who had Sunday off after losing Thursday night in Chicago, return to action on Monday, Oct. 21 vs. Minnesota, which was blown out by Carolina on Sunday.

The Giants' playoff outlook is even bleaker in the wild-card race, where the Giants are four games back. To have any chance at the wild card, the Giants likely would have to win at least nine of their final 10 games.

For the Giants, the division title seems the more reasonable goal; there are fewer games to make up and fewer teams to pass. Still, the Giants’ road back to contention in the East got a little tougher Sunday, with the play of Philadelphia and Washington especially noteworthy.

The Eagles won in fine fashion at struggling Tampa Bay, pulling away for a 31-20 triumph. Backup quarterback Nick Foles threw three touchdown passes, two to wideout DeSean Jackson. Running back LeSean McCoy also racked up 116 yards rushing. Even without starting quarterback Michael Vick, the Eagles can move the ball.

The Eagles’ defense, meanwhile, allowed just three second-half points. If Philadelphia can limit opponents to around 20 points, it is going to be competitive in the division, given its strong offense.

The Cowboys also have a potent offense, but it was fairly quiet on Sunday, gaining just 213 yards. However, Dallas’ special teams picked up the slack in a 31-16 victory against Washington. Dallas return specialist Dwayne Harris scored a touchdown on an 86-yard punt return and set up another with a 90-yard kickoff return. And while the Cowboys' defense gave up 433 yards but only allowed one touchdown and three field goals.

In all, it was a gutsy — but costly — win. Defensive end DeMarcus Ware (quadriceps) and running back DeMarco Murray (MCL sprain) each left the game. Both are among the players the Cowboys can least afford to lose for any extended stretch. Next week, Dallas starts what could be a season-defining stretch, playing four of five games on the road. To survive the trip, the Cowboys will need Murray and Ware healthy as soon as possible.

Washington, meanwhile, faces a huge game against Chicago in week seven. The Redskins' (1-4) defense showed promise in defeat on Sunday night, limiting Dallas to 4.3 yards per play. 

But mistakes by quarterback Robert Griffin III and special teams blunders proved fatal for Washington, which is now 1.5 games back. Griffin was not especially accurate, completing only 19 of 39 passes. He also tossed an interception in the end zone and fumbled twice.

Still, Griffin looked healthy on Sunday and rushed for 77 yards on nine carries. He will improve, so Washington cannot be counted out just yet. 

We can say the same about the Giants, but this wasn’t a great Sunday for them. They lost ground to the Eagles and Cowboys. Also, Washington looked lively in defeat. The NFC East looked respectable, and that’s bad news for the Giants, the division’s worst team thus far.

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