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The Gloat: Cowboys remain in the driver’s seat in the NFC East after Week 7

The Dallas Cowboys had their scheduled bye week on Sunday which allowed them the opportunity to survey their division rivals in the NFC East.

DALLAS — The Dallas Cowboys weren’t on the NFL schedule for Week 7, so they spent their weekend off minding their own business. That meant ample time for quarterback Dak Prescott and others on the injury list to rest up and rehab.

Ultimately though, the Cowboys had to be smiling as they were watching things unfold on Sunday. During the bye week, without playing a snap, the Cowboys increased their lead in the NFC East to 3.5 games. Dallas was able to sit back and watch as the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Football Team were getting their doors blown off on the road, while the New York Giants pulled off an upset win.

Through seven weeks, the Cowboys are now sitting pretty at 5-1, while no other team in the division has more than two wins.

The Sunday slate couldn’t have gone much better for the Cowboys. Dallas saw their lead in the division increase by an extra half-game against their more viable rivals while the Giants only served to undermine their draft capital.

Despite potentially stifling their own rebuild, New York came back from the abyss on Sunday as they followed an awful Week 6 performance against the Los Angeles Rams by crushing the Carolina Panthers. Joe Judge’s team has shown signs of life every few weeks, but they have numerous injuries and don’t appear good enough to challenge the Cowboys. After all, Dallas won their Week 5 matchup 44-20.

And yet, those Giants were the only team from the NFC East to walk away with a win on Sunday.

Washington and the Eagles each struggled to compete in their Week 7 contests. Philadelphia had their hands full with the 5-2 Las Vegas Raiders and Washington was tasked with squaring off against a stout 6-1 Green Bay Packers team. Those were tough assignments, but neither rival played well enough against good competition to make the Cowboys sweat.

If the Raiders and Packers can be considered decent analogues to Dallas, the losses by Washington and Philadelphia by an average of 12.5 points to two playoff contenders should make the Cowboys feel good about where things stand in the division. Dallas has already beaten two of their three rivals and the Football Team is the only other squad with a win in the division.

However, considering that the NFL has made it a point to make late-season games count, having four of their last five games come against the NFC East teams would make it a misstep to plan the coronation for the Cowboys just yet. Prescott’s calf injury could also act as a fly in the ointment if he’s unable to return to the field and play at the level that has Dallas at 5-1.

Nevertheless, as things currently sit, the Cowboys are in the driver’s seat. The danger now comes from putting the season on cruise control. The NFC East has teams who play with pride when facing their rivals and each game has an intensity that others don’t provide. Dallas will need to keep their foot on the gas.

For one week without a game to worry about, it had to be satisfying to watch two teams in the division struggle and get no closer to the Cowboys in the win column. Without even stepping on a football field, the Dallas Cowboys inched closer to an NFC East title.

It’s too early to celebrate, but the Cowboys had to feel like they got another win in Week 7.

Do you feel good about the Cowboys' chances in the NFC East through seven weeks? Share your best boasts with Ben on Twitter @BenGrimaldi.