The 2016 NFL season has reached the quarter-pole. Let’s quickly assess the NFC East, where the 2-2 New York Giants find themselves looking up from the bottom after a couple of rocky weeks.
Philadelphia Eagles (3-0)
The Eagles seem determined to make something I wrote about them before the season look absolutely silly Here it is:
The Philadelphia Eagles are a team that has appeared more focused on eliminating every trace of former head coach Chip Kelly than on winning in 2016. After dealing away virtually every player Kelly ever acquired, the Eagles put the coup de grace on their makeover by sending starting quarterback Sam Bradford to the Minnesota Vikings just days before the start of the season. That leaves them with Carson Wentz, the second overall pick who played at North Dakota State, an FCS school, as their starting quarterback.
The Eagles, quite honestly, look like the likely bottom-dwellers in the division this season. Not that the moves they made weren’t the right ones, but they are clearly more concerned about the future than the present.
The Eagles are 3-0 largely because Wentz has been far more than anyone thought he could be this early in his career. He has completed 64.7 percent of his pass (66-of-102), has five touchdown passes, zero interceptions and a passer rating of 103.8.
Perhaps you could scoff at the Eagles’ season-opening victories over the woeful Cleveland Browns and the awful Chicago Bears. There’s nothing to snicker at, though, about a 34-3 Week 3 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Eagles have given up just 27 points in three games and is third in the league in yards per game allowed. With a quality defense and a quarterback playing well, Philly is likely to be a team to reckon with all year in the NFC East.
The Giants get their first look at the Eagles when they host Philly Week 9.
Dallas Cowboys (3-1)
The Cowboys were the best team in the division last season. The problem was they didn’t have a backup quarterback capable of winning games when Tony Romo was injured.
Romo is, of course, out of the lineup again. With impressive rookie Dak Prescott, though, the Cowboys no longer have that problem. They might have a different problem. Who plays quarterback when Romo is healthy enough to return? For Dallas, that’s a better problem. For the Giants and the rest of the division? Not so much.
Dallas has victories over the Washington Redskins, Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers, so not exactly a murderer’s row of opponents. Still, even with a loss to the Giants, they have already proven they are formidable with or without Romo.
Dallas still has a middling defense without much of a pass rush, but they might be the best team in the division. The Giants host the Cowboys Dec. 11.
Washington Redskins (2-2)
The Giants had a chance to bury the defending division champs with an 0-3 start. Instead, we know that they let Washington off the mat. A Washington victory over the hapless Cleveland Browns and now the Giants are looking up at the Redskins and everyone else from the bottom of the division standings.
Washington’s schedule over the net six weeks looks a lot like the Giants. Ravens, Eagles, Lions, Bengals, Vikings, Packers.
It’s still hard to have faith in Kirk Cousins and the Redskins, but they are in the mix because the Giants couldn’t put them away when they had the chance. The Giants finish the season in Washington Jan. 1. Will the game mean anything?