NFL Preview: Big NFC East Battle on Monday Night Football

Ricky Rothstein | Updated Oct 04, 2017


If desperate times call for desperate measures, then the Dallas Cowboys should be more desperate than Wisteria Lane. (Yes, that’s a Desperate Housewives reference.)

This was supposed to be the year for Dallas. Cowboys Stadium will host the Super Bowl in February, owner Jerry Jones assembled a highly-talented — and highly-paid — group of players that were one game away from the NFC Championship last year and Tony Romo looked like he was ready to make the leap as an elite NFL QB.

Through five games this year, though, it’s all gone pear-shaped.

The offense has sputtered at key moments, Romo hasn’t been able to rally the team to wins and a lot of the high-priced talent (looking at you, Marion Barber and Felix Jones) has been inconsistent at best. But on Monday night, there’s a chance for salvation. The Cowboys will get a last-ditch chance at saving what appears to be a lost season as they take on the New York Giants.  A win will get Dallas back into the NFC East picture while a loss will give the ‘Boys their worst start in 21 years. So yes, much to play for in Big D.

Over in the Giants camp, things are much rosier. New York comes into this contest on a three-game winning streak, led by a defense that’s held opponents to an NFC-best 264.8 yards per game. A big reason for this turnaround has been the play of DE Osi Umenyiora — he’s been on a tear as of late, recording seven sacks and six forced fumbles over the last three games.  He’ll definitely be one to watch as the Cowboys have had difficulties protecting Romo at home — against Tennessee in Week 5, he was dropped six times for a combined loss of 36 yards.

San Francisco 49ers (1-5) at Carolina Panthers (0-5)

There are several names being given to this game — the Loser Bowl, the Stink Bowl, the Toilet Bowl — which isn’t surprising given the combined W-L record of one win, 10 losses. Still, this is a fairly important game for both teams. Thanks in large part to the weakness of the NFC West, San Francisco still has a shot at the divisional crown. And Carolina — well, the Panthers simply need to get their offense on track. Carolina is averaging an NFL-worst 258.8 yards of offense and was held to 147 in a Week 5 loss to Chicago – its fewest since 2002.

To try and spark that offense, Panthers coach John Fox will turn to QB Matt Moore. Moore, who looked good last year in relief of Jake Delhomme, lost the starting spot earlier this year to Notre Dame rookie Jimmy Clausen but after Clausen failed to impress (he went 9-of-22 passing for 61 yards, a pick and three fumbles against Chicago), Moore was inserted back into the starting lineup.

Moore will have his hands full with the San Francisco defense, however. the 49ers allowed just 196 total yards to the Raiders last week and held Oakland to a mere nine points.