Final Word: NFC East

November, 16, 2012
11/16/12
1:30
PM ET
NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 11:

Rookie talk. Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles appears likely to make his first career NFL start against the Washington Redskins on Sunday at FedEx Field. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Redskins have lost their past eight games against rookie starting quarterbacks. The last one they beat was Ryan Fitzpatrick of the Rams in Week 13 of 2005. Elias also reports that this game between Foles and Redskins rookie Robert Griffin III would be the eighth game since the start of the 2011 season that featured two rookie starting quarterbacks. There were a total of seven such games from 2003 to '10.

[+] EnlargePhiladelphia's Nick Foles
Dale Zanine/US PRESSWIRERookies Nick Foles, above, and Robert Griffin III will meet as starters on Sunday.
Last man standing. According to ESPN Stats & Information, left guard Evan Mathis is the only offensive lineman to start every game for the Eagles so far this year. Every other team in the league has had at least two offensive linemen start every game. The eight different starters the Eagles have used on the offensive line is tied for second most in the league. If newly signed Jake Scott were to get a start Sunday (unlikely, but possible), that would obviously make nine.

Just send four. The Eagles tend to rely on their front four defensive linemen to rush the passer, and that might be a good idea against Griffin. ESPN Stats & Information's Next Level stats tell us that Griffin has a Total QBR of 97.7 when facing five or more pass-rushers. That's the highest such mark in the league. (Remember, 100 is as high as that scale goes.) But when facing four or fewer, Griffin's total QBR drops to 71.6. Teams have picked up on this. Griffin is facing four or fewer pass-rushers on 79 percent of his dropbacks. Only two quarterbacks in the league see four or fewer on a higher percentage of their dropbacks. Carolina may have shown the blueprint for containing Griffin in the game two weeks ago, when the Panthers were able to create a narrow pocket that limited his options.

Clean up the house. The Dallas Cowboys have seven games remaining this season, and five of them are at home. The only reason that doesn't sound encouraging is that the Cowboys are just 1-2 at home this year. And a big reason for that is their turnover differential of minus-9 in those three home games. Only the Kansas City Chiefs (minus-13) have a worse turnover differential in home games this season. No one else is worse than minus-6. Of Tony Romo's 13 interceptions this year, 10 have come in those three home games. The good news? The Cleveland Browns, this week's opponent at Cowboys Stadium, have lost 11 straight road games and haven't won anywhere but Cleveland since Week 2 of last season.

Going deep, or not. Browns rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden has a completion percentage of 19.4 percent on throws 20 or more yards downfield this season. Through Week 10, only Buffalo's Fitzpatrick had a worse completion percentage on such throws. (That's right. We started and finished with a note that included Ryan Fitzpatrick. We dig symmetry here.) Romo's completion percentage on such throws this season is just 32.4, but over his past two games he's 5-for-7 for two touchdowns when throwing the ball 20 or more yards downfield. Better choices may be leading to more success for Dallas in the deep passing game.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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NFC EAST SCOREBOARD

Sunday, 10/26
Monday, 10/27