By: Patrick Waring
(Above Photo Courtesy Of Barton Silverman / The New York Times)
After three weeks of action for the NFC East, I wanted to take a look at each team to see how things are starting to shape up for the division. I will take a look at current records, injuries, issues and opponents for Week 4.
Overall Record – 1-2 / Division Record – 0-1
As discussed on Friday, the Redskins dropped their first division and road game on Thursday to the Giants. This team seems to be tough to figure out at this point. Tough running game and solid defense, but mistakes and concerns at QB. Kirk Cousins has been efficient at times, but has also thrown interceptions (four in three games), something that he has done a lot of in his 12 starts in the league.
The Redskins were hit with the injury bug on Thursday as well. LG Shawn Lauvao (ankle) and CB DeAngelo Hall (toe) left the game. Hall will be out for at least three to four weeks and there is no word on how much time, if any, Lauvao will miss. There is also a chance that WR DeSean Jackson (hamstring) could return to face his old team. The offense will certainly welcome him back as soon as possible.
Next Game – Home vs Philadelphia Eagles
New York Giants
Overall Record – 1-2 / Division Record – 1-1
New York avoided the 0-3 start by taking care of the Redskins 32-21 on Thursday. The Giants could easily be 3-0 or 2-1 right now. Two 10 point meltdowns in the 4th quarter put the Giants in that position when they welcomed the Skins to town. The Giants were able to cause trouble for the Skins early and held their run game in check. In the first three games of the year, the Giants have been good at stopping the run. They held the Skins under 90 yards on the ground (a chunk of those were at the end of the game) and limited big plays for the first three quarters. Eli Manning has a great playmaker in WR Odell Beckham Jr. and may get WR Victor Cruz (calf) back for Week 4.
The Giants were without five starters for Week 3, including LT Ereck Flowers (ankle). They are hoping to get healthy and build on last week’s win. The Giants started the 2007 season 0-2 and also picked up a Week 3 win against the Redskins. How did the rest of that season go? New York would go on to win the next five games, finish the season 10-6 and win the Super Bowl.
Next Game – Away at Buffalo Bills
Overall Record – 2-1 / Division Record – 2-0
The Cowboys entered Week 3 2-0, but were preparing to play without QB Tony Romo (collarbone) for at least eight weeks. The Cowboys had already been playing without WR Dez Bryant (foot). Sunday’s game with QB Brandon Weeden couldn’t have started better. The Cowboys jumped out on the Atlanta Falcons 14-0 and took a 28-17 lead into the locker room at halftime. Life didn’t seem too bad without the stars at first, but reality kicked in during the second half. Atlanta ended up winning 39-28. The Cowboys were not able to score anymore points and their defense could not stop QB Matt Ryan, WR Julio Jones and the Falcons. The Cowboys will need to try to run the football and get what they can out of the QB position until Romo and Bryant return on offense.
The defense should improve when DE Greg Hardy (suspension, returning Week 5), DE Randy Gregory (ankle) and DE Jeremy Mincey (concussion) return. Mincey could be back next week. Even though they are dealing with injuries, starting 2-0 helped out. They just have to try to buy time and win what they can until help returns.
Next Game – Away at New Orleans Saints
Overall Record – 1-2 / Division Record – 0-1
The Eagles came out swinging in Week 3. Coming in 0-2, Chip Kelly’s squad beat a very good New York Jets team. After starting 24-0, the Eagles held on to win 24-17 to bring their record to 1-2. The Eagles were without RB DeMarco Murray (hamstring), but are fortunate to have other weapons at that position. RB Darren Sproles had an 89 yard punt return TD early in the second quarter and the Eagles’ defense forced four turnovers. The team is hoping this win can give everyone some confidence after starting 0-2. There are still questions at QB. Can the team win with Sam Bradford? The Eagles offense hasn’t been able to go down field and they just had the most success on the ground in a game with Murray out.
The Eagles should find out how much time LB Kiko Alonso (knee) will miss this week. He sprained the same knee that required him to miss last season after surgery. The team should also find out more about Murray. He was a late scratch from the game on Sunday. The Eagles hope to keep things going when they have their second division game this weekend.
Next Game – Away at Washington Redskins
You can follow me on Twitter @WaringPatrick.