NFL Roundtable: Week 8 recap | Football | CBC Sports

NFLNFL Roundtable: Week 8 recap

Posted: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 | 10:51 AM

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Eli Manning and the New York Giants have distanced themselves from the rest of the NFC East. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images) Eli Manning and the New York Giants have distanced themselves from the rest of the NFC East. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

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In's weekly chatter, our guys debate the New York Giants' stranglehold on the NFC East, the saga of Michael Vick and Andy Reid, the looming battle between the Ravens and Steelers, plus the success of the surging Dolphins.
In's weekly chatter, our guys debate the New York Giants' stranglehold on the NFC East, the saga of Michael Vick and Andy Reid, the looming battle between the Ravens and Steelers, plus the success of the surging Dolphins.

Follow our panelists on Twitter: @tcare66 @JesseCampigotto @JasonD79.

The Eagles (3-4) suffered a humbling loss to the undefeated Atlanta Falcons and fans began the "fire Andy" chants - for head coach Andy Reid - in the fourth quarter. Are things beginning to unravel in Philadelphia?

Tony Care: It has. Michael Vick is under the impression that Reid will bench him soon in favour of rookie Nick Foles. Both Vick and Reid on are borrowed time. Even if Vick lasts the season, there's no way the Eagles pay the $15.5 million US due to him next season. Reid will be gone unless he can miraculously lead a deep playoff run. Of course, neither man can be blamed for the horrendous defence against the Falcons, who didn't punt until the fourth quarter.

Jesse Campigotto: They already have. Sunday's game was a great spot for Philly, which was coming off a bye (Reid was undefeated in his head coaching career in this situation) and playing at home against (what I claimed to be) an overrated Atlanta team that has given up more yards than it's gained this season. It was never close. The Eagles got waxed. Now it's hard to see a scenario where either Reid or Michael Vick are in their current jobs in 2013.

Jason Davidson: Sure looks like it. Many would have predicted Philly was going to win this game, myself included, thinking the Falcons were due for a loss. Then again, the Eagles went into the bye on the heels of another tough loss at home to the Detroit Lions. Michael Vick was average at best against his old team Sunday and his less than inspiring play as of late may be enough for coach Reid to change things up under centre and give rookie QB Nick Foles a try. As for the defence, producing just a single sack in its last four games is pretty porous. Just ask Juan Castillo. Philadelphia needs a win against the Saints in New Orleans next Monday night to save its season.

Though the Giants were fortunate to walk out of Dallas with a victory, they are now 2.5 games ahead of the Cowboys and Eagles in the NFC East. Can any team in the division catch New York or is this race basically done?

Tony Care: Only the two fingers on the right hand of Dez Bryant prevented the Cowboys from making this division interesting. It's not that the Giants are a vastly superior team but they are the best in the division. No team in the NFL implodes like the Cowboys. The Eagles are in a state of flux and I don't think the Redskins are ready to contend this year. New York has the best QB, coach and defence. That's always a recipe for success.

Jesse Campigotto: Well, before this week I would have said Philly, but that ship appears to have sailed. I still say the Cowboys are better than their record because they've played the toughest schedule in the league, so I'm not ready to totally count them out, but the Giants are clearly the class of the division. Their plus-73 point differential is second-best in the NFC (behind Chicago) and they're the only NFC East team that's not in the red in that department.

Jason Davidson: The Giants could go 3-5 the rest of the way and still win the division at 9-7, which was the same record they had last year. It could happen again since they tend to regress during the second half of the schedule. The Cowboys, Eagles and Washington Redskins won't be able to catch them. New York has already played four games against division rivals (2-2). The Cowboys won't see the G-Men again this season, having played them twice while the Eagles and Redskins each have five games remaining against division opponents. That bodes well for the Giants.

It appeared the Ravens were set to run away with the AFC North but injuries and a stubborn Steelers team has kept this division close.  Which team has the edge as were near the halfway mark of the season?

Tony Care: I'm still leaning toward the Ravens. I know they lost LB Ray Lewis and CB Lardarius Webb for the season, but getting back pass rusher Terrell Suggs back is huge. The Steelers are also hurting on defence with S Troy Polamalu still out. Both teams are undefeated at home (7-0) but are under .500 (2-5) on the road. It will come down to the two big games beginning with the Sunday night clash on Nov. 18 in Pittsburgh.

Jesse Campigotto: These teams have so much in common: they're both banged up, they're both significantly better at home (combined 7-0 record, compared to 2-5 on the road), they've both played pretty easy schedules, and they both play in cities I don't particularly want to visit. Call it a toss-up. Interesting note: the Steelers and Ravens haven't met yet this year, but they'll do so twice in a three-week span (at Pittsburgh in the Sunday nighter on Nov. 18, and at Baltimore on the afternoon of Dec. 2).

Jason Davidson: I'll give the nod to the Pittsburgh Steelers. They have a better quarterback. Their injuries are less significant, although Troy Polamalu's nagging calf injury has to be cause for concern. The 10-year veteran isn't getting any younger. The defence is still quite strong without him. As for Rashard Mendenhall, his Achilles injury isn't too severe and he should be back sooner rather than later. In either case, Ben Roethlisberger has no shortage of targets on the air attack. However, a tough task for them against the Giants in New Jersey awaits Sunday.

The surprising Miami Dolphins (4-3) sit only a half game behind New England Patriots in the AFC East. Considering all the hype surrounding the Pats, Jets and Bills prior to the season, how have the Dolphins been able to keep pace with New England?

Tony Care: The Dolphins are stopping the run and getting to the quarterback. It's that simple. Miami ranks third in rush defence, and are tied for first with New England and Tampa Bay by allowing just 3.5 yards per carry. The Dolphins also rank sixth (22) in sacks. A good defence will always keep a team in games. Former B.C. Lions pass rusher Cameron Wake is still doing his thing as he's tied for fourth, along with DeMarcus Ware and Aldon Smith, with 7.5 sacks.

Jesse Campigotto: Run defence is the Dolphins' strong suit. They're tied for the league lead at 3.5 yards per rush allowed. (Interestingly - and surprisingly - one of the other teams tied with Miami is New England). That doesn't necessarily bode well for Miami's two head-to-head matchups with the pass-heavy Pats in December, which the Fish will have to at least split if they've got designs on winning the division. And I'm not sure Miami can keep up with New England's scoring: The Patriots lead the league with 32.8 points per game, while Miami is 19th at 21.4. But the Dolphins are easily the second-best team in the division and have a good chance to finish above .500.

Jason Davidson: Credit to rookie head coach Joe Philbin for the recent success in South Florida. After starting up at 1-3, they've won three straight. Granted, those W's didn't exactly come against formidable opponents (Cincinnati, St. Louis, NY Jets) but you have to take the positives wherever you can get them. They are third in the league for points allowed, averaging 18 surrendered points per game. Solid numbers. They'll have to keep that up because the offence doesn't produce many points. The Pats will likely distance themselves from the Dolphins down the stretch although I'll still give Miami an outside shot at a wild card with a 9-7 record.

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