Breakfast links: East takes over prime time

Pretty amazing that every team in the other seven NFL divisions finished Week 13 before the NFC East began it. The Cowboys and Eagles gave us an entertaining game Sunday night (though, sadly for Eagles fans, one with a too-familiar result), and ideally we can look forward to more of the same tonight from the Giants and Redskins on Monday Night Football. For now, though, the links, sorted by the up-to-date standings.

New York Giants (7-4)

The Giants' hope is that having seen Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III once already will help them defend against him better in tonight's second meeting of the season. And it's possible. This will be the first time Griffin has played against an NFL team for the second time. But the Giants are wary of assuming they'll benefit from whatever they learned about Griffin in their very close Week 7 victory.

The calendar has flipped to December, and for the Giants that's a good thing, since they no longer have to answer questions about why they always struggle in November. They haven't been great, however, in every December in recent years. They will hope to draw upon the experience of the way they finished last season and seize an opportunity to put away this NFC East race.

Dallas Cowboys (6-6)

Jerry Jones described himself as "hopeful, but realistic" in the wake of a Cowboys victory that raised their record to 6-6 -- and thereby put them in the playoff race -- but was anything but easy. Jones said he knows his team will have to play better over a tough-looking final four games in order to make good on those playoff chances.

Jones says Dez Bryant is more dedicated. Jason Garrett says Bryant is more mature. What's Bryant say? He says just wait. Right now, Bryant is playing the wide receiver position at a remarkably high level, and doing things athletically on the field that other players just can't do.

Washington Redskins (5-6)

Speaking of third-year players emerging as top talents at their position, Redskins left tackle Trent Williams is playing through the pain of a thigh bruise and readying himself for the Giants' pass rush.

The Week 7 loss in New Jersey was a heartbreaker for the Redskins, losing on that long Victor Cruz touchdown catch after Griffin had led them back to take the lead in the final two minutes. That makes tonight, if the Redskins want to join the Cowboys at 6-6 and make this division a three-team race with four weeks to go, about finishing the job.

Philadelphia Eagles (3-9)

Andy Reid is tired of answering questions about if he'll finish the season, though in the next breath he says he understands and "appreciates" the questions. Tough to blame him on this one, since it's not his decision. I still expect that he will, but sheesh. Kind of getting to the point where you wonder why he'd even want to, no?

The Eagles' offense is in tatters with seven starters out due to injury, so you can excuse the inconsistency, the ill-timed turnovers and the general ineffectiveness you see most weeks. But as Paul Domowitch writes, there's no excuse for what the defense is showing you. The Eagles' defense is healthy. It just stinks.