With Week 8 of the NFL season this weekend, there are headlines across the NFC East. Let’s take a look at what’s going on with all of the New York Giants division rivals in this week’s Around the NFC East.
Snaps- Greg Manusky used 18 of his 26 defenders over the course of 65 defensive snaps against the Eagles on Monday Night Football. The 8 that did not play on defense included 4 inactives (A.J. Francis, Josh Harvey-Clemons, Josh Norman and Deshazor Everett) and 4 players who only took part on special teams (Will Compton, Martrell Spaight, Chris Carter and Fabian Moreau).
Anthony Lanier, Joshua Holsey and Stefan McClure only received 14 combined snaps in the game, while every other player that saw time on defense took at least 22 snaps.
Quarterback Pressure- Washington defenders sacked Carson Wentz on 3 of his 29 dropbacks (10% sack rate). The defense has recorded multiple sacks in every game this season and has registered 3 or more of them in each of the last four games.
The Bengals failed to sack the opposing quarterback on Sunday for the first time in their last 35 games, which means that the Redskins streak of at least one sack in their last 30 contests is now the longest active streak in the NFL.
If they record a sack in each of the next four games, they will tie the second longest sack streak in franchise history. That would also tie the Bengals recently snapped streak, which was the fifth most consecutive games with a sack by a team in the last 15 years.
Third Down- The defense’s never ending struggles on third down continued on Monday. They allowed Philadelphia to convert on 6 of their 12 third downs (50%) in the game. Half of those conversion came on third downs with 6 or more yards to go. The Eagles scored on all four drives they converted a third down on.
Red Zone Defense- The defense allowed the Eagles to score touchdowns on 3 of their 4 trips inside of the red zone. Their first and only successful stand in the red area did not come until 7 minutes were left in the game. Jake Elliot finished that drive with a 42-yard field goal.
The 3 red-zone TDs allowed was a season high for the Redskins. They have not yet held an opponent to a RZ success rate of under 50% this season. Their 64.7% RZ TD scoring rate allowed ranks 29th in the NFL. That’s even worse than the 59.2% conversion rate and 26th place finish they had in this statistic last season.
KIRK COUSINS WAS glowing. He'd spent months praying and patiently waiting for a moment like this, and now it had improbably arrived on Dec. 16, 2012. With their playoff hopes on the ropes, the Redskins had turned to the rookie backup in desperation after starter Robert Griffin III injured his knee. Cousins responded in his first career start by throwing for 329 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a comeback win against the Browns.
The visitors locker room in Cleveland was buzzing. Cousins was standing by his locker, receiving celebratory handshakes and backslaps from teammates, when Redskins owner Dan Snyder and team president Bruce Allen entered the room-and essentially breezed right past him. Snyder, according to a witness, patted Cousins on the shoulder and kept walking.
Snyder and Allen were on their way to see Griffin, the dynamic multi-threat quarterback who was seen as maybe the future of the NFL. Griffin seemed annoyed that the team had given the start to Cousins, and would later confess as much to reporters. He felt his knee was healthy enough for him to play; the team's medical staff felt otherwise. Snyder and Allen were aware of the tension and sought to reassure Griffin that no matter what Cousins did, RG3 was still the Chosen One. Cousins is polite and charming but also a fiery competitor who has been dismissed his entire football career as "just a guy." On that day, he soaked up the scene and tried not to let the snub bug him. His teammates, however, were furious. When head coach Mike Shanahan heard what happened, he paid a visit to Snyder's office. "Kirk is a strong guy, and he can handle it, but his teammates are pissed at you," Shanahan says he told Snyder. "That's not the way you handle things. If you do that, you run the risk of losing the football team in the future."
PHILADELPHIA -- Losing middle linebacker Jordan Hicks for the season is going to have a profound impact on the Eagles' defense, and it is also going to impact the way coordinator Jim Schwartz calls the signals.
Hicks, lost for the season Monday night with a ruptured Achilles tendon, was designated as the Eagles' signal caller and wore the transistor helmet to get the calls from Schwartz and the coaching staff from the sidelines.
Typically the middle linebacker calls out the signals and aligns the defensive linemen in front of him, in part because of his perspective of the field as well as being lined up directly over the opposing quarterback who could also be changing the offense based on the look shown by the defense pre-snap.
Those responsibilities to get the calls and set the defense will now fall to Nigel Bradham, although the plan currently is not to move Bradham from his outside linebacker job when the Eagles are in their base 4-3, which is a bit of a surprise.
"I'm going to the tight end anyway," Bradham said. "That's where I align. Me, automatically looking when we come out of the huddle, where [the tight end] is going, that's where I'm going, anyway. I'm going to the call."
Dallas had to play, granted both at home, the Rams and Packers after each team was coming off of playing on TNF. That was a mini bye for each of them as they prepared to travel to AT&T Stadium. Given the results, it’s hard not to say that it helped.
The script has been flipped a bit for the next two weeks, though. The Cowboys are now the soon-to-be benefactors of scheduling, granted not to the same degree.
Dallas is traveling to Washington this week (who is also riddled with injuries) and will host Kansas City in Week 9. Both the Redskins and Chiefs will be coming off of playing on Monday Night Football.
Washington was on the road for their MNF game (a loss to the Eagles), but the Chiefs will be at home next week when they play the Broncos. Dallas will have the same amount of time to rest for both given that they played in the three o’clock slot last Sunday and will again this week.
These are two big games for the Dallas Cowboys. Any advantage, however big or small, is welcome.
With reigning NFC champion Atlanta struggling, the conference seems to be wide open. And an NFC East rivalry game for the conference title is a real possibility, at least according to MMQB's Peter King.
"I think it's wide open," King said in an interview with KTCK The Ticket [96.7 FM/1310 AM] on Tuesday morning. "What is absolutely incredible is that the NFC Championship Game could include two teams from the NFC East. Maybe it's too strong to say it's incredible. A Philadelphia-Dallas NFC Championship Game or whatever, it's going to be really interesting to see."