A clear favorite has emerged. Only one team in this division has looked good this season. The Cowboys. The other 3 teams have a combined 2 wins, and those wins are over the Falcons and the Giants. Three teams in this division look prepared to end up with top 10 picks. The other team looks like they could be competitive to win the conference. But how do they stack up against each other? Here is your state of the NFC East heading into Week 4.
4) New York Giants
Eagles and Washington can take comfort there is at least one bigger mess than them. The Giants couldn’t even beat the Falcons, the team that made the Eagles look good week 1. They are 0-3, again, for the third time in 5 seasons. Two of the teams they lost to are 1-2, meaning their only win was vs the Giants. The 3 teams were 16-32 last year. They are arguably the worst team in the NFL in recent history. Since 2017, they are 18-49, which is the worst in the NFL over that span. They are flat out bad, and they are getting worse.
And their schedule gets harder. Their first 3 games were the easy part of their schedule. Now they have the Saints, Cowboys, Rams, Panthers, Buccaneers, Chiefs, and Raiders. They will be heavy under dogs in all those games. They may go 0-10. Which means they should be in line for a high pick, but they have been so bad at drafting that may not matter. With their first round picks they have acquired Daniel Jones, who in his third year still doesn’t look the part of a franchise qb. Also Saquon Barkley, who a few years in is already showing signs of losing his edge. And then there are the o lineman they drafted with high picks.
This team still cant protect the QB despite everything they have invested in the O line. They have the 10th worst sack percentage, with just over 7% of their plays ending in a sack. In 2015 they drafted Ereck Flowers with the 9th overall pick, he was off the team by the end of his third season. They draft Andrew Thomas with the 4th overall pick in 2020, he has yet to play the part of a first round OT. They have tried signing guys, drafting guys, none of it has worked. Its like the Eagles with WRs, no matter how much they invest they cant seem to fix the problem.
Giants have a terrible GM in Dave Gettleman. A buffon of a head coach in Joe Judge. They have very little young talent to build around. They are awful, and there is not much of a path to getting better with how poor a job Gettleman is doing. Even if they get a top 5 pick, you cant trust that guy to make the right pick. What was once one of the elite NFL Franchises, has become a laughing stock. And I for one, love it. The Giants becoming a joke is one of the few things that help me get over the state of the Eagles.
the New York Giants:— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) September 27, 2021
not at any point...
not in any season...
FOR THE LAST FIVE YEARS
did the Giants have a winning record
not even for 1 week
at 0-3 now, the earliest they could have a winning record is Week 7
assuming they sweep the Saints, Cowboys, Rams & Panthers 😂
3) Washington Football Team
I had a hard time deciding who is worse between Eagles and Washington. Both have looked miserable the last couple weeks. Eagles got the edge because they do have one impressive performance, whereas Washington has yet to look good. Their most impressive game was a loss to the Chargers in week 1. Since then, they beat the Giants thanks to the Giants choking away a win, and then got smoked by the Bills. This offense is bad, and the defense is nowhere near as good as promised.
Last weeks game vs the Bills exposed Taylor Heinicke. They allowed only 8 pressures all game vs the Bills. He still had a bad game. Two interceptions and only 212 yards. If a young QB struggles because he is getting pressured a lot, that is understandable. If he struggles despite a clean pocket, that is concerning. Heinicke has had some impressive moments in his short career, but week 3 vs the Bills was a reality check. If that is the real Heinicke, they are in trouble.
More concerning is the play of their much touted defense. They are averaging over 30 points allowed per game, 4th most in the NFL. They are giving up the 2nd most yards per game in the NFL. Getting beat by the Bills is one thing, but the week before they gave up 29 to the Giants. And if this defense was as good as expected, they wouldn’t be giving up 42 to even the Bills. This Washington D was over hyped. The front 7 is not good enough to make up for a secondary even Daniel Jones and the Giants were beating up. Was it us over hyping them, or are they under performing? The talent is still there I suppose, but we have not seen it on the field. Chase Young is under performing after a great rookie year, with no sacks and only 1 qb hit through 3 games. They need more from players like him.
Washington are not Giants bad, but they are still seemingly a very bad team. They get to play the Falcons this week, which may help them bounce back. But after that their schedule gets tougher. Games vs the Saints, Chiefs, Packers, Broncos, Bucs, Panthers, Raiders, Seahawks, and Cowboys are still on the horizon. it is tough to see them getting through that gauntlet with a winning record. Luckily the rest of the division has the same schedule. But there is one team that feels like they could at the least survive that. Washington is not that team.
2) Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles looked ready to surprise people after week 1. After week 3, they look like a team with a rookie head coach and a inexperienced QB. If the week 2 loss to the 49ers made them look bad, week 3 made them look embarrassing. Not only did they get blown out, they looked like they were out of their weight class. The Cowboys dominated them in every aspect of the game. And it didn’t help the Eagles were also hurting themselves with poor execution and poor play calling.
Their running backs touched the ball only 3 times in week 3. Three. I get they were getting blown out, but that’s no excuse for 3 carries. In fact they dug themselves into a deeper hole by having short drives, causing their tired defense to come back onto the field with little rest. The offense never found a rhythm, because most of the drives were 3 passes that went no where, and then they punted. They had a o line with 3 backups playing. Ask any o linemen what they want to do. they want to run the ball so they can go on the attack. Running the ball may have help the o line get comfortable, which would help set up the pass game, and maybe help Jalen Hurts play better. But they didn’t do that. they kept banging their heads against the wall and forcing a pass game that was not working.
Their defense looked impressive in weeks 1 and 2. But it was outmatched vs the Cowboys. They felt the need to sell out to prevent deep plays, and because of that the Cowboys gashed them on the ground. The Cowboys ran all over them, and it felt like every Cowboys drive ended in the end zone. They have n issue at DE with Brandon graham out. Derek Barnett is still failing to live up to the 1st round pick and Ryan Kerrigan leads the league in snaps without a tackle. They have next to nothing at linebacker. And they are once again struggling to force turnovers, with only one takeaway in 3 weeks.
Their other problem has been penalties. They are by far the most penalized team in the league. Coming into week 3 they had 35 penalties. The next team has 27. And as Nick Sirianni keeps pointing out, they are pre-snap penalties, which just shows they have poor discipline. They are making mistakes they have no excuse to be making. They feel unprepared for the season.
The Eagles have set a record for most penalties through the first three games of a season (35 as of late in the 4th quarter), per @ESPNStatsInfo— Tim McManus (@Tim_McManus) September 28, 2021
1) Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys stand head and shoulders above the rest of this division right now. They are doing nearly everything better than the other teams in this division. Scoring more, and playing better defense. Are they perfect? No, I still don’t like Mike McCarthy and he had some questionable coaching decisions even in a win over the Eagles. But the team itself is clicking on all cylinders. Their only loss came versus the defending champs.
Their offense is dynamic, capable of beating you in the air or on the ground. Even with no La’el Collins, no Michael Gallup, and a injured yet active Amari Cooper, they are still putting up good numbers on offense. Tony Pollard has stepped up and gave them a weapon on the ground so they don’t have to rely on a declining Ezekiel Elliot. Dak Prescott is playing the part of a top 10 QB, maybe even better than that. A tough matchup vs the Chargers slowed down the offense a bit, so it will be interesting to see how the Cowboys perform vs tough teams as they get into a tough schedule. But for now, the Cowboys offense is dangerous.
And their defense is improved too. They have two young standouts in Trevon Diggs and Micah Parsons. I still think this defense will give up points when they face a tough offense, and they lack a pass rush outside Parsons. But the big difference this year is playmaking. They lead the league in takeaways through 3 weeks, already nabbing 6 interceptions and 2 forced fumbles. That cn be a difference maker, even if they give up points. Timely turnovers can completely change a game. Is their defense great? No. but its better than we predicted, and its capable of game changing moments.
The Cowboys are far and away the best team in the NFC East right now. They demolished the Eagles, and would likely do the same to the other two teams. I do not yet know where they stand amongst the best NFC Teams. we will learn that soon as they face tougher opponents than the Eagles. But they may be a team that can make some noise. We don’t want to hear it or admit it, but this Cowboys team may be good.