Victor Cruz Washington proved it could hang with the defending Super Bowl champions – but the New York Giants showed they are still a step ahead of the rest of the division. 

Dallas won a game it had to have, equaling Philadelphia’s 3-3 record, as the Eagles enjoyed their bye week. 

There were only two games involving NFC East teams in Week 7, but there is still plenty to look at.

  • Giants still on top

Chalk up another fourth-quarter comeback for Eli Manning, this time on a 77-yard strike to a streaking Victor Cruz, with less than 2 minutes remaining. 

It was the second fourth-quarter comeback in Manning’s career against Washington, and the first since 2007.

The Giants (5-2) certainly did not play their best game in the 27-23 win over the ‘Skins.  But with a quarterback the caliber of Manning, all it takes is one or two big plays to turn the tables. Manning threw two INTs in the game and had a pedestrian 260 passing yards prior to his game-winning throw. 

New York couldn’t mount much of a rushing attack (64 yards), although the Giants did score on a pair of short TD runs. But their defense gave Manning and Cruz a chance to win it by repeatedly forcing the Redskins to cough up the ball.

The Giants are still the cream of the crop in the East, although they’re heading into what appears to be the meat of their schedule. It was just about this time last year the Giants went on a four-game skid that nearly derailed their season. With three games to go before their bye week, the Giants have a chance to show that there won’t be a letdown this time around.

  • Turnovers for Redskins

Washington entered the important division game with just 5 turnovers through six games. The Redskins (3-4) nearly doubled that total by giving the ball away four times on Sunday, all in the second half.

  • Alfred Morris fumbles at NYG 40 midway through 3rd quarter
  • On the following possession, RG3 throws INT at NYG 24, returned for 41 yards
  • Giants score after a 7-play drive, to take 20-13 lead
  • RG3 fumbles at NYG 30 – the third straight WAS possession to end in a turnover
  • Santana Moss fumbles at WAS 43 with :39, essentially ending the game

Washington should be encouraged that despite all the turnovers, they still nearly won the game.  The defense stepped up, playing perhaps its best game of the season (until the long Cruz TD, that is).  RG3 added to his highlight reel by scrambling around before completing a pass on 4th-and-10, and then dropping an absolutely perfect pass into Moss’ arms from 30 yards out for the go-ahead score.

The Redskins might not be a playoff team this season, but the future does look bright for Mike Shanahan’s squad.

  • Cowboys win ugly

Dallas did not do anything particularly well in their 19-14 win over Carolina on Sunday, but it certainly helped that the Cowboys were playing a 1-win team. 

The Panthers gained more yards (328-312), and had a higher average per play (5.5-4.8), and only won the turnover battle, 2-1, because the Panthers tried to a series of laterals on the game’s final play and wound up fumbling the ball.

The Cowboys' defense did a decent job reigning in Newton, who accounted for 297 yards passing and rushing.  Dallas’ Morris Claiborne picked off Cam Newton in the red zone in the first half; it was the rookie’s first career interception. It was also the first meeting between Claiborne and Newton since Oct. 23, 2010, when Auburn beat LSU en route to the college football national title.

Kicker Dan Bailey hit a pair of field goals in the fourth quarter to give Dallas the final 6 points of the game, and provide the winning margin in Tony Romo’s 50th career win. 

The three-time Pro Bowler has a 50-33 record as a starter in the regular season – although he is 1-3 in the playoffs.

Stat of the day:  With its 9th straight win against Carolina in the regular season (dating back to 1998), Dallas is now 9-1 all-time in the regular-season series – and 0-2 in the playoffs.

  • Going forward

Week 8 figures to be intriguing for teams in the NFC East. The Eagles, coming off their bye week, host unbeaten Atlanta, while the last-place Redskins travel to Pittsburgh. 

The Eagles can climb over .500 with an upset victory over the only unbeaten team left in the league, while the Redskins can reach .500 again with a road win against the Steelers.

The game of the week in the division is a rematch from Week 1, as the Giants travel to Cowboys Stadium on Sunday for a 4:15 p.m. ET game. Dallas upset the host Giants in the Thursday night season opener – and have not played as well in any game since.