After two weeks, the NFC East is still wide open; the New York Giants are the division’s only winless team, but the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys and Washington are all 1-1. For the Giants’ three divisional rivals, it’s now time to try to separate from the pack. This makes Week 3 just as critical for those teams as it is for the 0-2 Giants, despite the rest of the NFC East being far less desperate than New York. Here are the most newsworthy notes around the division for this week.
Philadelphia Eagles: The big news out of Philadelphia this week is that quarterback Carson Wentz has been cleared for contact and will start on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts. The Eagles had been treading lightly with Wentz following tearing his ACL and LCL last December, but the time has come for him to take over for Nick Foles, the reigning Super Bowl MVP.
Bleeding Green Nation’s Brandon Lee Gowton is certainly excited, exclaiming “THE GOAT IS BACK,” when reporting the news earlier this week. And Alexis Chassen has all the need-to-know takeaways from Wentz’s first press conference on Wednesday.
Wentz, though, won’t have the services of wide receiver Mike Wallace on Sunday. Wallace suffered a broken fibula in Week 2, requiring surgery, reports Gowton. In response, the Eagles brought back a familiar face: Receiver Jordan Matthews, who had 73 receptions for 804 yards and three scores with Wentz throwing to him in 2016.
Dallas Cowboys: Have the Cowboys done enough in just a week to feel confident in their offense? Blogging the Boys’ Tom Ryle seems to think so after Dallas’ 20-13 win over the Giants on Sunday night. He cites the improvements along the offensive line and a lack of Dak Prescott turnovers as two positive developments, but concedes the team isn’t doing enough to get Ezekiel Elliott involved and notes that the lack of actual receptions by actual wide receivers is still a problem.
One thing that could help that up-and-down Dallas offense in the near-term is the schedule. RJ Ochoa points out that the Cowboys “have the most favorable upcoming three weeks of any NFL team,” with the Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions and Houston Texans all on the slate ahead. The trio are a combined 0-6, and a clean sweep could set the Cowboys up for a No. 1 spot in the NFC East.
Washington: More injuries are plaguing the offensive side of the ball in Washington. The team placed running back Rob Kelley on injured reserve with a toe injury that may require surgery, according to Hogs Haven’s Scott Jennings. They also boosted an injury-ravaged receiving corps this week, signing Breshad Perriman and Michael Floyd.
So, how to describe Washington’s team this season? And where is criticism founded and where is it just a result of fan frustration? Hogs Haven’s Mark Tyler says to look to the stats and numbers to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of Washington’s players, in order to determine whether the criticism is warranted or overblown.