NFC Notes: Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, Washington



A few weeks ago, the Cowboys’ playoff hopes looked dead and buried, even in the weak NFC East. But Dallas has won three straight games and now could find itself in the playoffs as the division winner with a win Sunday against the Giants and a loss by Washington against the Eagles. Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith said the resurgence is due to the team discovering its identity. 

“Coach told us day one, ‘You want to be playing your best ball at the end of the season,'” Smith said via Nick Eatman of the team’s official website. “We just got to keep going and focus one day at a time, one game at a time. We believe in ourselves. We found our identity. We just got to keep focusing on us, that’s it.”

What is that identity?

“That identity is an electric-ass offense. An offense that… man, when they’re rolling, no one can stop them,” Smith said. “We got three-to-four-to-five guys that you can throw the ball that can get open. You got guys-multiple guys that run the ball, play with tenacity.

“And for us on the defensive end it’s about toughness. It’s about stopping the run. It’s about getting off the field on third down. We got guys that know how to rush the passer, but we have to give them the opportunity to be able to rush the passer. And that’s up to me and the rest of the linebackers. We just got to continue to fight. The secondary is doing a hell of a job… got a rhythm, got a clear understanding of what’s going on.”


  • Eagles RB Miles Sanders was listed as limited with a knee injury but NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport said he’s fine and not dealing with anything major.
  • Eagles first-round WR Jalen Reagor might be his own harshest critic, saying his performance this year “wasn’t enough for the team” despite dealing with injuries: “People look at stats and whatever, but I was drafted day one. It’s self-explanatory, and there’s a reason I was drafted day one.” (EJ Smith


  • ESPN’s Jordan Raanan writes there’s a growing belief in league circles that Giants GM Dave Gettleman won’t be back in 2021. 
  • While New York has clearly taken a step forward in part due to decisions made by Gettleman this year, there’s still a clear talent deficiency compared to the top teams in the league, per Raanan. 
  • Giants OC Jason Garrett declined to discuss if he thought he’d be back in 2021: “I’m just excited about the opportunity we have this week. Really, I’ve just tried to stay in the moment. That’s typically when you play your best and coach your best. That’s what I’m focused on.” (Ralph Vacchiano)


  • According to NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero, Washington QB Alex Smith increased his participation in practice Thursday. The hope is he’ll be able to practice in full on Friday. 
  • The Athletic’s Ben Standig points out that while Washington’s 2021 quarterback situation is murky, HC Ron Rivera genuinely likes QB Kyle Allen and believes the team still would have been competitive in the playoff hunt with Allen had he not fractured his ankle: “I really do. I think we could’ve. Part of the reason is because Kyle, he’s very similar to Alex in terms of his abilities. He’s got the same kind of arm. He makes good decisions like Alex does.”
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