Keeler: NFC East falls on hard times

Remember when the NFC East was considered the best division in the NFL?

It shouldn’t be too hard, it hasn’t been that long ago. Things change fast in the NFL.
Now the NFC East might be the worst division in the NFL, and through the first four weeks I think it definitely is. As a whole, the division has been outscored by 126 points.

Take a good look at the division standings. That’s right — the Dallas Cowboys are 2-2 and in first place.

I love when the Cowboys are in first place, but 2-2? The Cowboys are exactly what I thought they would be this year — mediocre and .500 at best. The offense is still too up and down, and it doesn’t seem like they can stop anybody from scoring.

Their only two wins came against a very bad New York Giants team (more on them later), and the St. Louis Rams, who have to be one of the worst teams in the NFL.

I hope that if the Cowboys continue to play this poorly, owner Jerry Jones will get rid of Jason Garrett and hire a better coach. Of course, I also want Tony Romo to be replaced, but considering the contract they gave him this year I don’t think that’s happening anytime soon.

Then there’s the Philadelphia Eagles. They looked great in their first game against the Washington Redskins. Coach Chip Kelly’s new offense looked stunning, and there seemed to be reason to think maybe they would be pretty good this year. Unfortunately for the Eagles, you have to play defense, too.

The Eagles’ defense has given up 138 points, the second most in the NFL.
Philadelphia hasn’t won a game since that Monday night opener, and it looks like all that hype was just that — hype.

At the beginning of the season many people, including myself, thought that the Redskins were the team to beat in the East. They won it last year, and I really believed quarterback Robert Griffin III would be back to his old self pretty soon, but that didn’t happen.

RG3 is getting better with each game, and I still think he’ll be OK this year. I don’t think he’ll be as good as last year, but I think he can still win games for the Redskins.

Washington lost its first three games, and struggled early against the lowly Oakland Raiders. The Redskins did rally to get the win and now have a bye. I think the extra week off will help them, and I still believe they are the team to beat in this division.

How often can a team start out 0-3 in a division, win one game and still be the favorite to a lot of people? That’s the NFC East for you.

Last and definitely least is the New York Giants.

I didn’t expect the Giants to be very good this year, but there’s no way anyone could have seen this coming.

They are not good on offense, and they’re even worse on defense. They’ve given up the most points of any team in the NFL, 146, and they’ve been outscored by 85 points in four games. They lost 38-0 to Carolina last week. Make sure you read that last sentence twice — it says 38-0, Carolina.

Things didn’t get any better this past weekend with another blowout loss (31-7) to Kansas City.

Tom Coughlin has seemed like a magician the last few years, with the way he’s escaped from being under fire from fans when the team is struggling and then suddenly turned the team around and had a great year. I don’t think there’s any way he can pull off another Houdini this year, but the Giants are only two games out of first place.

The NFC East will come down to which team can beat the other NFC East teams — those might be the only wins they get as bad as all four teams have looked.

I’m sure somebody will emerge from the group and bring the division a little bit of respectability — or at least, I hope someone does.

I’ve always loved the NFC East and I want to see someone step up and play well (unless it’s the Redskins, of course). As to which team that will be, that’s anybody’s guess.

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or Follow on Twitter @tkeelernvd