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Week 5 winners and losers

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Division Records in Non-Division Games -- 2014
Division Record, win %
AFC North 7-3, .700
NFC East 10-6, .625
NFC West 9-6, .600
AFC West 8-8, .500
NFC North 7-7, .500
AFC East 7-8, .467
NFC South 4-8, .333
AFC South 5-11, .313

The NFC East was one of the worst divisions in football last season, and they had a disastrous Week 1. A lot can change in a month.

The New York Giants have won three straight games and look like one of the most complete teams in football. Dallas is off to a surprising 4-1 start, led by a strong running game and defense that flies to the ball. It's the team Tony Romo always wanted. Philadelphia is one of the strangest teams in recent memory, but they have managed to be 4-1 despite a lackluster offense. Even Washington has looked better overall than their 1-4 record indicates.

Here are some of the other winners and losers from Week 5:

Moving up


Brian Hoyer truthers: It's hard to ignore Hoyer's production through four weeks. He's on pace for 4,032 yards, 24 TDs and four INTs on the season. The numbers remind us of Nick Foles, who is a solid comparison for Hoyer thus far. He hasn't been as effective as his numbers indicate, but he's also been far better than anyone hoped for. The Browns are in the top 10 among teams in passing yards per attempt despite having Andrew Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel as their top two receivers.

Giants' rookie class: Odell Beckham finally got on the field, and he might wind up making general manager Jerry Reese look smart for taking him in the first round. Second-round pick Weston Richburg has been rock solid at guard and fourth-round pick Andre Williams keyed the victory over the Atlanta Falcons with some strong late running. Call it the Finding Giants bump.

DeMarco Murray's fantasy value: It might not be a terrible time to trade the NFL's leading rusher in fantasy leagues. The Cowboys say they want to reduce his carries, but we'll believe that when we see it. He's on pace to tie Larry Johnson's record for carries for a single season, and Murray's durability issues over the years are well documented.

Buffalo's defensive line: It's the best group in the league. At least one player steps up to take over a game in any given week, whether it's Mario Williams, Marcell Dareus, Kyle Williams or even Jerry Hughes. Their performance in Detroit was awe-inspiring. The Lions had 14 drives and only 13 first downs. The Patriots' offensive line couldn't have a tougher test this week in Buffalo.

Chuck Pagano's aggressiveness: The Colts don't have a lot of natural pass rushers. So Pagano is starting to trust his solid cornerback group and send pressure more often. Joe Flacco and Baltimore's previously strong line couldn't handle all the blitzes. Pagano used to be in Baltimore and we wonder if other teams will copy the Ravens' approach against Flacco.

Moving down


The sky over Florham Park: Rex Ryan is cracking one-liners about all the Jets' fans deserting them. The tabloids in New York are asking to bring back Tim Tebow and making movie jokes about Geno Smith. The team had 20 passing yards entering the fourth quarter in San Diego, and there's no reason to believe that Michael Vick would be an upgrade over Smith. We believe the Jets will bounce back eventually, because they have always played hard for Rex. But there's not enough talent here to believe it will be enough to contend.

Cogent Eagles analysis: There's just no way to make sense of this team. You can make the case that they are 4-1 despite all their offensive line injuries and shaky play by Foles -- that has the makings of a team with major room for improvement. You can also make the case that no one on their defense scares opponents and that their special teams dominance can't last. Foles' play was poor even when the line was healthy in Week 1. This team could go in any direction, but it's hard to imagine Chip Kelly letting it sink.

Atlanta Falcons' pass rush: It's tough to watch this team play defense. Their young cornerbacks are talented, but they can't cover for six seconds every play while opposing quarterbacks relax and survey the field. They have two quarterback hits in the last two weeks combined. Their only sack on Sunday against Eli Manning came after he had plenty of time to throw. Matt Ryan is playing like a top-five quarterback, but his lack of protection and the Falcons' lack of a pass rush will make it tough to win games on the road. They are already 0-3.

Drew Brees' decision making: He's gotten away with a lot of crazy attempts while on the run or being hit this year ... until Sunday against Tampa. Give the Saints credit for their comeback victory because a home loss to Tampa would have been a season-crusher. Their lackluster competition in the NFC South could be New Orleans' saving grace.

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