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After Prescott Injury, What Now for NFC East Division?

The NFC East is a total embarrassment, but at least it had Dak Prescott.

Now, it doesn’t.

Prescott, the Dallas Cowboys quarterback, suffered a compound fracture and dislocation of his ankle Sunday in the third quarter against the New York Giants. He sat on the turf crying with his foot pointing the wrong direction. His season is over.

The Cowboys, who won 37-34, are just 2-3, but with Prescott, you always had the feeling they could be the division’s one legit team.

So where does that leave the NFC East? Put it this way: The Giants are 0-5 and without stud Saquon Barkley, who blew out his knee in Week 2. Yet if they had pulled out that last-second game Sunday against the Cowboys, they’d have been half a game out of first place.

You take four bad teams, put them together, take away the good players and what do you have? 

Dallas is now 2-3. And alone in first place. Every team in the division has a losing record, and by the end of the year every team still probably will.

So what’s going to happen now? Let’s go through the teams and see which one is good enough to win the division.

Giants (0-5). No.

Washington (1-4). No.

Philadelphia (1-3-1). No. 

Dallas (2-3). No.

Well, someone has to, so I’ll go with the Philadelphia Eagles. They are the defending champs. And they have the NFC East’s best quarterback in Carson Wentz, who panics in the pocket and can’t hit a receiver. He has been better the past two weeks. Plus, his line isn’t bad. Call it a 7-8-1 division championship season.

The Cowboys will finish second with quarterback Andy Dalton, who is decent at best. He made a few throws to set up the game-winning field goal Sunday. Running back Ezekiel Elliott will have to start earning his $90 million contract. The problem is that Prescott could do so many things that defenses weren’t focusing on the Dallas running game. Now they will. The other problem: The Cowboys have no defense.

Washington beat the Eagles for their lone win this year, which means they are capable of winning a game. That puts them in third place. With an inability to hang onto the ball, it would be a miracle if the Giants won three games, which might keep them close to the division title, but not close enough to win it.

Prescott had given the division its only real good example of firepower since Barkley got hurt. Dak was off to the best start of his career, and players around the league were tweeting him best wishes. He also had made news as a leader by bringing attention to mental health issues. 

FS1’s Skip Bayless was critical of Prescott’s leadership skills because Prescott told the team he had suffered with depression and anxiety during the early days of the pandemic. No word yet from Bayless on how this broken ankle will reflect on Prescott.

Written by Greg Couch

Greg earned the 2007 Peter Lisagor Award as the best sports columnist in the Chicagoland area for his work with the Chicago Sun-Times, where he started as a college football writer in 1997 before becoming a general columnist in 2003. He also won a Lisagor in 2016 for his commentary in RollingStone.com and The Guardian.

Couch penned articles and columns for CNN.com/Bleacher Report, AOL Fanhouse, and The Sporting News and contributed as a writer and on-air analyst for FoxSports.com and Fox Sports 1 TV. In his journalistic roles, Couch has covered the grandest stages of tennis from Wimbledon to the Olympics, among numerous national and international sporting spectacles. He also won first place awards from the U.S. Tennis Writers Association for his event coverage and column writing on the sport in 2010.

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