By: Patrick Waring
After four games in the NFL season, there is a three team tie at the top of the NFC East. All four teams are facing teams outside of the division in Week 5.
Overall Record – 2-2 / Division Record – 1-1
The Washington Redskins slipped past the Eagles 23-20 yesterday to bring their record to 2-2 on the season. The Redskins blew a 13-0 lead at the half, went down, but regained the lead for good on a Kirk Cousins to Pierre Garçon touchdown with little time left in the game. They were able to win the turnover battle, battle of the clock and get to Eagles’ quarterback Sam Bradford for five sacks. Defensive tackle Chris Baker brought his “A” game. He disrupted plays and recorded two of the five sacks for the Redskins. He will need to do more of the same this weekend when the Skins travel to Atlanta. Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan and wide receiver Julio Jones have been having their way with defenses so far this year.
The Redskins will also need cornerback Chris Culliver (knee) closer to full strength. Culliver was commended for playing through pain, but was beat badly on big plays in the second half.
Next Game – Away at Atlanta Falcons
Overall Record – 1-3 / Division Record – 0-2
Read above. The Eagles, now 1-3, are searching for answers and running back DeMarco Murray isn’t happy with his workload. Bradford finally found some success on deep passes in the second half yesterday, but it wasn’t enough to get the victory. In a game that was up for grabs until the end, the Eagles made mistakes and had miscues that ultimately resulted in the defeat. Bradford was sacked five times (he did a great job of avoiding a few more) and one of his touchdowns was called back due to a penalty. Still only one game behind the pack, Chip Kelly’s squad hasn’t lived up to expectations on offense.
Bradford and the running backs will need blocking and protection this week if they want to get going on the winning side of things. Left tackle Jason Peters (quad) left the game and did not return. Right tackle Lane Johnson (knee) was also injured. Both tackles will have their statuses for Sunday determined this week.
The “what if?” question will have to be asked about the kicker. In a three point defeat, Caleb Sturgis missed a 33 yard field goal and one extra point.
Next Game – Home vs New Orleans Saints
New York Giants
Overall Record – 2-2 / Division Record – 1-1
The New York Giants went back to back in the win column after defeating the Buffalo Bills 24-10. The Giants avoided another 4th quarter meltdown when running back Rashad Jennings took a short pass from quarterback Eli Manning 51 yards for a touchdown. And to seal the deal, cornerback Prince Amukamara forced and recovered a fumble on the very next drive.
The Giants have a lot of confidence coming from the locker room. Giving away two fourth quarter leads in weeks 1 and 2 have them at 2-2. Things could easily be different for New York. With a reminder of what not to do late in games and a struggling opponent ahead in Week 5, the Giants have to be feeling like they are better than the record they currently hold.
Wide receiver Victor Cruz (calf) had a setback last week and will still be unavailable for Eli Manning and the offense. The Giants also worked out former Redskins tight end Chris Cooley last week. He left without a deal, but it will be worth keeping an eye on.
Next Game – Home vs San Francisco 49ers
Overall Record – 2-2 / Division Record – 2-0
The Dallas Cowboys are now 0-2 without their two top players. Quarterback Tony Romo and wide receiver Dez Bryant could only watch as the Cowboys were defeated by the New Orleans Saints 26-20 in overtime last night. Their chance for a win on the road disappeared as the team watched running back C.J. Spiller catch a short pass from quarterback Drew Brees and race 80 yards for a touchdown.
Dallas is still waiting on some good news about Bryant’s return and they will get help next week when defensive end Greg Hardy (suspension) returns. Linebacker Sean Lee did leave the game last night with a concussion.
Things will not get easier for the Cowboys. They will face the well rested and undefeated Patriots on Sunday. The Patriots have put up 28, 40 and 51 points in their wins this season.
Next Game – Home vs New England Patriots
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(Above Photo Courtesy of Tim Heitman/ USA Today Sports)