We’ve completed Week 2 of our journey through the NFL season, and it’s time for our weekly assessment of the state of the NFC East. It was a bit of a rough week for the division, with nobody able to create early separation and one team digging itself a hole. Let’s dig in.
The Eagles suffered a disappointing defeat to the Bucs, missing out on a chance to stake an early claim to first place. The offense showed some improvement over Week 1, but the defense looked nothing like the dominant unit that stymied the Falcons to open the season.
The good news is that the Bucs are likely a better team than anyone expected heading into the season, and no one else in the division did anything to assert themselves in the division race. The Birds look to get back on track Sunday against the Colts.
After a dominant road win to open the season, things came crashing down for the Redskins in Week 2 with a home loss to the Colts.
The Washington offense was poor, putting up just nine points. The Redskins’ leading rusher was a wide receiver, and their leading receiver was a running back.
It looks as though the Week 1 performance was more a product of how bad the Cardinals are as opposed to telling us anything about the Redskins. Now the ‘Skins face a Week 3 date with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
The Cowboys got a much-needed win over the division rival Giants.
The offense looked a bit better, managing to score 20 points. Dak Prescott threw for a touchdown and didn’t turn the ball over, but he threw for just 160 yards which now makes it eight of the last 10 in which he has failed to throw for 200. Dallas did get the running game going, piling up 138 yards on the ground. Perhaps the biggest takeaway for the Cowboys offensively is that Prescott was not sacked after being taken down six times in Week 1.
The defense played well enough, giving up 13 points, 10 of which came in garbage time, although that might be more of an indication of the Giants’ offense being bad.
Regardless, Dallas came away with a desperately needed win and kept pace with the Eagles and Redskins in doing so.
The Giants are in some trouble. After Week 1, we attributed the offensive struggles to the fact that they played an elite Jacksonville defense. Week 2 showed that the offensive issues may be internal. Eli Manning threw for 279 yards and a touchdown, but as we mentioned, much of that came late while trying to erase a double-digit deficit. Manning also lost a fumble.
The G-Men mustered a paltry 35 yards on the ground, averaging 2.1 yards per carry.
The defense couldn’t stop the run and did little to bother Prescott.
It’s still early, but for now the Giants appear to be on their way to another top-five draft pick.
Both the Eagles and Redskins losses were a bit surprising. The difference is the Birds lost on the road to a team that appears on its way to playoff contention, while the Redskins lost at home to a team that is still not expected to be very good. We noted last week that the Giants-Cowboys game would have huge implications, and now the G-Men find themselves in desperation mode while the Cowboys kept pace with the pack.
The Eagles and Redskins will look to rebound against the Colts and Packers, respectively. The Cowboys head west to face a desperate Seahawks team in an incredibly difficult environment, while the Giants travel to Houston to take on a Texans team dealing with its own disappointing start.