Entering the 2010 season, the Cowboys were poised to continue their recent success and make a deep run into the playoffs, the Redskins would surge forward after acquiring Donovan McNabb from the Eagles, and the Giants would struggle to improve upon their 8-8 record from last season. Instead, we enter the halfway point with the Giants leading the division, the Eagles and Redskins close behind, and the Cowboys trying to figure out what to do after a disastrous start.
New York Giants Midseason Report (5-2)
The Giants started the season 1-2, but have gone 4-0 since and seem to be playing at the top of their game. The Giants total defense is 2nd in the NFL and tops in the NFC. Their total offense is 3rd in the NFL and also the best in the NFC. Their defense has played with such abandon this season that they’ve managed to injure four different quarterbacks (Matt Moore, Jay Cutler, Shaun Hill, Tony Romo).
The one thing that has held the Giants back is their penchant for turnovers. Eli Manning is on pace to throw a career high 25 interceptions, and the Giants are -5 in turnover differential. If New York is able to overcome their turnover problems, they could easily be the top team in the NFC.
Total Offense: 388.7 yards/game (3rd)
Total Defense: 263.3 yards/game allowed (2nd)
New York Giants Midseason Grade: A-
Philadelphia Eagles Midseason Report (4-3)
The Eagles are much better off with Michael Vick at quarterback than Kevin Kolb. Although Kolb is the better pure passer, Vick’s ability to create plays on the run (and his improved passing ability compared to when he played for the Falcons) has opened up Philadelphia’s offense.
One of the bigger questions for the Eagles is the health of wide receiver DeSean Jackson. Jackson appears to have been cleared to play after suffering a severe concussion in Week 6 against Atlanta. Jackson is the team’s best receiver, and although the Eagles will still be able to win some games without him, I don’t know if Philadelphia can make the playoffs if the injuries keep mounting up.
Total Offense: 372.6 yards/game (5th)
Total Defense: 316.0 yards/game allowed (12th – tie)
Philadelphia Eagles Midseason Grade: B
Washington Redskins Midseason Report (4-4)
The Redskins are a mediocre team masquerading as a playoff contender. All of their four wins have been by six points or less. Donovan McNabb hasn’t played well, and head coach Mike Shanahan needlessly created a quarterback controversy when he benched McNabb in the fourth quarter of an eventual loss to the Detroit Lions.
Washington ranks 31st in the NFL in total defense, but has gotten lucky enough to only allow 21.3 points per game (16th in the NFL) despite the total number of yards given up. The Redskins aren’t going to be successful against superior teams, like the two teams ahead of them in the NFC East, when giving up nearly 400 yards per game.
Total Offense: 325.5 yards/game (20th)
Total Defense: 393.3 yards/game allowed (31st)
Washington Redskins Midseason Grade: C
Dallas Cowboys Midseason Report (1-6)
The Cowboys came into 2010 hoping to make a run at the Super Bowl. Halfway through the season, Dallas’ starting quarterback is injured, their playoff hopes are all but gone, and the stories that dominate the headlines focus more on whether or not Wade Phillips is going to be fired partway through the season or afterwards.
The Cowboys are 31st in the NFL in rushing yards, and they’ve been performing so poorly that they’ve all but abandoned their run game despite the fact that Jon Kitna is their starting quarterback since Tony Romo went down with a broken clavicle. Opposing players are starting to question whether the Cowboys’ players are even giving their full effort after Dallas’ horrendous start.
Total Offense: 381.3 yards/game (4th)
Total Defense: 327.3 yards/game allowed (14th)
Dallas Cowboys Midseason Grade: F
NFC East 2010 Midseason Predictions
The Giants are dominating their opponents and don’t seem to be slowing down. They should easily finish at 11-5 or 12-4 and win the NFC East. The Eagles have the potential to make a push at a Wild Card spot. I think they finish at 8-8 and just narrowly miss out on an NFC playoff spot. The Redskins are stumbling, and might be lucky to win more than a couple more games to finish the season around 6-10 or 7-9. It’d be shocking to see the Cowboys finish better than 4-12 considering their horrendous start.
All stats and standings from espn.com
All records and statistics are accurate through Week 8 of the 2010 NFL Season