We wrapped up our "Best of the NFL" week Thursday with a look at some team-related categories in the NFC East, and one of them stirred the pot a little more than the others. Under the "Best rivalry" category, I went with Giants-Eagles and explained myself thus:
Look, the beautiful part of this division is the rivalries -- that every team has such an intense rivalry with every other team in the division. It's what makes it the most intense division in the league and the one that's most fun to discuss and debate on a daily basis. But right now, the best rivalry in the division is Eagles-Giants. The Eagles have managed to win six in a row. The Giants hate it, and willingly admit that it's in their heads. They will open the 2011 season, whenever it does open, determined to stop that streak and beat the team they believe is standing between them and the playoffs. The Eagles will open the season coolly confident that they have the Giants' number. The head-to-head matchups will be the two must-see NFC East games of the year.
I thought the explanation was pretty clear, but I've received some mailbag questions asking what my explanation for this apparently inexplicable choice could possibly be. My only answer is: "The one I wrote."
However, we do like to kick it around on Fridays, and you guys did seem to have some differing opinions on this matter. Mainly, fans of NFC East teams other than the Cowboys seem to hate the Cowboys most of all, and to believe their team's best rivalry is with them. So I thought it'd be a good Fired-up Friday topic -- basically asking you which team you hate the most, I guess.
So you've heard my opinion, now I ask yours. What's the best rivalry in the NFC East? I've given you five choices in the poll above, leaving out Giants-Redskins because we can only do five choices and that seemed to be the weakest one, in part because it's been so non-competitive recently. But you tell me. As you ponder, I offer a couple of rivalry-related stats:
All-time record: Cowboys 60, Redskins 40, Ties 2
Playoff record: Redskins 2, Cowboys 0
Past three seasons: Cowboys are 4-2 against the Redskins, though by a combined score of just 102-85
Last playoff meeting: Jan. 22, 1983. Redskins beat the Cowboys 31-17 in the NFC Championship Game to advance to the Super Bowl, where they would beat the Miami Dolphins. John Riggins was the star of the game, rushing for 140 yards and two touchdowns on 36 carries, but Darryl Grant's fourth-quarter interception return for a touchdown sealed the game for Washington.
All-time record:Cowboys 59, Eagles 45
Playoff record: Cowboys 3, Eagles 1
Past three seasons: Cowboys are 5-2 against the Eagles, including their playoff victory in the wild-card round on January 9, 2010.
Last playoff meeting: Six days after shutting them out 24-0 in the regular-season finale, the Cowboys whipped the Eagles 34-14 in a first-round playoff game. Felix Jones rushed for 148 yards, including a 73-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Donovan McNabb passed for 230 yards, one touchdown and one interception in what would turn out to be his last game as an Eagle.
All-time record: Cowboys 56, Giants 40, Ties 2
Playoff record: Giants 1, Cowboys 0
Past three seasons: The Giants are 4-2 against the Cowboys, including a 2-0 record in Dallas' new stadium. New York has averaged 31.3 points per game against Dallas over the past two seasons.
Last playoff meeting: Yeah, that would be the Giants' 21-17 comeback victory in Dallas on Jan. 13, 2008 -- the game that ended with Tony Romo's last-ditch pass intercepted by R.W. McQuarters and sent a Cowboys team that had gone 13-3 in the regular season (and 2-0 against the Giants) home while New York went on to beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl.
All-time record: Giants 82, Eagles 74, Ties 2
Playoff record: Giants 2, Eagles 2
Past three seasons: As we have discussed, the Eagles are 6-1 against the Giants, having won the past six head-to-head meetings.
Last playoff meeting: Jan. 11, 2009 -- the second game of the aforementioned six-game streak. The 12-4 Giants were defending Super Bowl champions and had secured home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. But the Eagles shocked them with a smothering defensive effort and a 23-11 victory. It was an especially rough game for Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who went 15-for-29 for 169 yards and two interceptions.
All-time record: Redskins 79, Eagles 69, Ties 6
Playoff record: Redskins 1, Eagles 0
Past three seasons: It's a 3-3 split, but the Eagles have won three of the last four, including the 59-28 Monday night decimation by Michael Vick last November.
Last playoff meeting: On Jan. 5, 1991, the Redskins went into Veterans Stadium and thumped the Eagles 20-6 in a wild-card playoff game. Washington's defense recorded five sacks of Randall Cunningham and forced three turnovers while Mark Rypien threw a pair of touchdown passes. The Redskins lost in the following round to the San Francisco 49ers.
All-time record: Giants 92, Redskins 62, Ties 4
Playoff record: Giants 1, Redskins 1
Past three seasons: No contest. The Giants are 6-0 against the Redskins by a combined score of 155-64. Washington games have been something close to second bye weeks for the Giants lately.
Last playoff meeting: The Giants shut out the Redskins 17-0 on Jan. 11, 1987 in the NFC Championship Game as Bill Parcells, Phil Simms and Lawrence Taylor advanced to the Super Bowl, where they would beat the Denver Broncos.