Eric Marmon

NFC East Report, Week 6: Jerry Jones implodes his own locker room

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USA Today Images

NFC East Report, Week 6: Jerry Jones implodes his own locker room

Each week, we'll take a look at how the Eagles' division rivals fared the previous weekend (spoiler alert: everyone who played got a win, which is sorta okay, since Dallas didn’t play) and what they have upcoming. This week Washington got revenge on the younger Shanny, Jerry Jones went full TO on his own locker room, and the Giants found a new way to let their fans down.

Here’s what happened in Week 6 in the NFC East:

Washington (3-2):

What Happened: Let’s call this one the “Jim Tomsula Revenge Game,” which up until this point, had just been what Washington’s defensive line coach had called it when he sent bits of his old mustache to members of the York family.

Despite getting to face Brian Hoyer (who was benched in the 2nd quarter) and holding the moral high-ground against San Fran’s winless head coach Kyle Shanahan (who was complicit in the physical destruction of Robert Griffin III), Washington barely squeaked a victory out at home over the hapless Niners, 26-24.

 Thanks to some pretty inconsistent play by future Niner Kirk Cousins (as well as one of those awful fumble returns for a touchdown where no one really knows what’s happening and you’re pretty sure the runner was down anyway), Washington blew an early 17-0 lead. They fought back, but then nearly blew a 10-point lead with three minutes to play, getting bailed out by an interception by some guy named Kendall Fuller. At the end of the day, Washington got the victory, despite being arguably outdone by rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard (who’s name would be infinitely cooler if it were DJ Beathard, or even C.J. Beard-hard).

Positive Spin: These aren’t Chip Kelly’s Niners; San Fran has lost their last five games by three points or less, and there’s something to be said about finding a way to win against an opponent that refuses to back down. It’s like Apollo Creed celebrating his split decision over Rocky in the first one.

A win is a win is a win is a win, and fans in the D.C. area still reeling after Max Scherzer and some freakish luck knocked off the local baseball team (AGAIN) can take pleasure in seeing their football team at least knew how to finish a game. If we believe in the edict that every win in the National Football League is tough, then good for Jay Gruden’s squad for getting the victory… even if it was against a winless bottomfeeder with no quarterback that had to fly across the country.



Negative Spin: While the Birds went on the road and beat an NFC contender on national television, this Washington squad struggled against a winless team at home. It’s like comparing your 100 meter time to Usain Bolt’s; no one is arguing that you can’t run 100 meters, but we’re not gonna sit here and argue whether you look as impressive doing it. That’s how Washington fans should be feeling right now; there was nothing good about this victory except that it was a victory. The NFC East leading Eagles, at this juncture, seem quite a few stones-throw ahead.

And while Washington didn’t lose the game, they lost some guys to injury, including first-round pick Jonathan Allen, cornerback Bashaud Breeland, and kicker Dustin Hopkins. The Breeland injury could be bad, as they’re already down Josh Norman, and losing a kicker is like losing a neighbor; you never know how good you had it until you get a really awful one. Here’s hoping the new Washington kicker plays death metal too loud at night, mows the lawn bright and early on Saturday, and never cleans up after his dog. Also, is an ax murderer. 

What’s Next: Don’t act like you don’t know. The Washington Football Team comes down 95 to Lincoln Financial Field on Monday Night with a chance to make the NFC East interesting.
While they’ll still have ten to play come Tuesday morning, this is a pretty big must-win for the only team whose nickname causes Supreme Court rulings. The Birds beat Washington in D.C. in Week One (like you forgot), which means a similar beating this week would give Philly the tiebreaker (not to mention a three-win lead in the division).

To sum-up: if Washington falls in Philly Monday night, expect Jeffrey Lurie to ask for playoff ticket deposits come Tuesday.

Dallas (2-3):

What Happened: It’s pretty hard for things to go poorly during a bye week, but Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is truly a master of innovation. He’s like the Steve Jobs of the NFL, had Jobs been able to create unnecessary controversy by talking when he shouldn’t have. Bare with me here, as this is going to wade a little bit into political waters; I’ll try my best to asses the entire thing purely from a football-standpoint.

Brief sum-up: While the Cowboys were preparing to lose to the Green Bay Packers two weeks ago, Jones’ was getting himself knee-deep into the Colin Kaepernick / Donald Trump feud. Most notably, Jones (whom Donald Trump apparently cold calls) became the first (and only) NFL owner to say any player who ‘disrespects the flag’ will be benched. (Those who read this space regularly will recall I begged Dez Bryant to call his bluff. As of print time, Dez had yet to return my calls. We can only reasonably assume he is a coward and/or only uses his phone for drawing silly pictures)

Needless to say, Jones’ threat to essentially fire players who protest did not go over well with a lot of the guys on his roster, resulting in a coaches-players meeting and then later, a players-owner meeting where many of “‘dem Boys” seemed reluctant to address whether their concerns had been addressed by the boss. 

So purely from a football perspective: In a league where management is often hell-bent on mitigating distraction, Jones has found a way to inject ADHD directly into the brainstem of his lockerroom. 

Jones is like a schoolteacher that learned all the other faculty are dealing with kids playing with fidget spinners, so he walked into his spinner-free class and yelled "ANYBODY WHO PLAYS WITH FIDGET SPINNERS GETS DETENTION." Except in this case, the fidget spinners are a non-violent protest against social injustice. But again, let's leave the politics out of it 

So politics aside, as an Eagles fan, I couldn't be happier that Jones has gone out of his way to sabotage the chemistry in his own locker room. It would have been less destructive for him to bring in Terrell Owens, Tim Tebow, and a pack of genetically-altered fire ants that learned how to recite “yo momma” jokes. What a clown.

Oh, and Zekes suspension was upheld, then blocked again, which means THAT bit of news will continue to hang over this team like a Hurricane over… Ireland, apparently. Man, the world makes zero sense.

Positive Spin: The only good news for Cowboys fans this week was the unfortunate injury to Cowboys Owner Aaron Rodgers. That’s what it takes to find joy as a fan of this franchise; injuries to the game's biggest stars. For shame.

They still have five division games remaining, including two against the Birds. That’s a lot of football left to play, and it’s entirely plausible the entire vibe around this squad is completely different come Thanksgiving. But for now, they’re not doing themselves any favors.

Negative Spin: The NFC East hasn’t had a repeat winner since the Iggles lost the Super Bowl, and there’s a reason for that; having everything go right two years in a row isn’t easy. Having already lost two games at home, and doing everything in their power to be the league's most controversial squad, the Cowboys aren’t exactly the betting-mans favorite to leapfrog the NFC East leading Birds, who currently hold a three-win advantage over them.

Oh, and Jason Garrett’s never had back-to-back winning seasons as a head coach, let’s not forget that. Can you believe this guy’s been in charge of this team for eight years? This bozo had a longer run than Castle, which is shocking, as I’d feel way more confident with Nathan Fillion calling plays. BRING BACK FIREFLY!

What’s Next: The Cowboys get those same winless 49ers this week, though at least it’s in San Fran. They’ll then travel across the country to face Washington who, if all goes according to plan, will have just been embarrassed on Monday Night Football. 

New York Giants (1-5)

What Happened: Yep, this seems about right. A week after dropping to 0-5 and missing a half-dozen starters, including the phenomenal Odell Beckham Jr., the New York Giants simply dismantled the Broncos in Denver on Sunday night 23-10, because sometimes football just doesn’t make sense. 

It’s like finding out that all the disgusting matter you pushed down your shower with Drain-O morphed into a sentient being, moved to Manhattan, and is now a Victoria’s Secret model. That was watching the Giants Sunday night, as this 0-5 disaster suddenly resembled an overly competent football team.

The Giants D made Broncos QB Trevor Siemien less comfortable than a television audience listening to Al Michaels crack Harvey Weinstein jokes, sacking the young QB four times and forcing a pair of interceptions. A Janoris Jenkins pick-6 in the final minute of the first half essentially sealed this one, though the most notable change for the GMen was some semblance of a running game. Some guy named Orleans Darkwa had over 117 rushing yards for Big Blue, which is the first time someone from the Giants has rushed for over 100-yards in a game since flip-phones were trendy. 

Credit will be given to Head Coach Ben McAdoo for firing himself and handing the play-calling duties over to Mike Sullivan. Me personally, I just wonder why it took McAdoo so long in the first place. Or why he was even hired to be making these decisions in the first place. It’s like buying plane tickets, then having the airline tell you all the flights are delayed so they’re giving you Amtrak tickets instead. Sure, I’ll still get to my destination, albeit a little late, and I can’t help wondering if I wouldn’t have been better off not hiring the airline in the first place.

That last analogy will be lost on the Mara family, as I assume they’ve never had to fly commercial.


Positive Spin: THE GIANTS HAVE FIGURED IT OUT!! They just went into the Mile High City and beat an AFC Contender coming off a bye week! This season’s not over yet, baby! After all, these Broncos won a Super Bowl just two years ago, and if there’s one thing Giants fans appreciate, it’s overrating a team’s expectations on some crazy Super Bowl victory of the past.

Negative Spin: At 0-5, the Giants season had ended. Honestly, it probably ended when Jake Elliott’s kick soared through the uprights in Week Three. And now, right when the tanks were getting ready to roll, they found a way to not only win, but win convincingly. The team that showed up Sunday Night looked legitimate, like the ones most delusional New Yorkers had been bragging about all summer. 

So not only has this team failed to live up to expectations, they’re now failing at tanking as well.

And we can’t go the whole recap without touching on the McAdoo / Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie feud. The Giants head coach suspended DRC for the crime of repeatedly quitting on his team, which Iggles fans will remember is exactly what he did to Andy Reid’s squad back in 2011. It’s almost as if this guy doesn’t care once his team starts losing. DRC’s in his 4th-year with the Giants and is a veteran on that defense; McAdoo seems completely in control of this locker room, yes sir.

What’s Next: Who cares? This team is in a no-win scenario. Lose, and they make their fans miserable. Win, and they cost a franchise in need of a youth movement the chance to draft higher. It’s one of those awkward wasted seasons where fans just aren’t sure what to root for; like that one game Pat Shurmur coached the Eagles, or any NASCAR race.

Anyway, the Giants play host to Seattle next Sunday, and who you root for really depends on whether or not you’re counting the magic number towards home-field advantage in the playoffs. I say GO GIANTS!

NFC East Report: Washington sits, Cowboys choke, and Giants are the walking dead

NFC East Report: Washington sits, Cowboys choke, and Giants are the walking dead

Each week, we'll take a look at how the Eagles' division rivals fared the previous weekend (spoiler alert: EVERYTHING WENT AWESOME) and what they have upcoming. This week, Washington fell another game behind the Birds, Aaron Rodgers made AT&T Stadium his home office, and the Giants went from funny to sad faster than an episode of M*A*S*H. 

Here’s what happened in Week 5 in the NFC East:

Washington (2-2)

What Happened: The Washington Football Team was on a bye this week, so let’s take a quick sec to recap how their season has gone so far.

After opening the season with a four-turnover loss at home against the Eagles, Washington squeaked a victory by the maybe-better-than-expected-Rams in LA. They then went on national television and completely demolished a Raider squad before the wheels came off for Oakland, and then nearly beat the still-undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. Their quarterback is playing well (though not $24 million well), Chris Thompson looks electric (though not electric enough to get his coach to give him the ball more), and the defense is currently ranked eighth overall (though second overall is the 2-3 Cincinnati Bengals, so how important are those rankings, really?).

A quarter of the way through the season, and this team appears to be trending upwards… just like the Army of the Dead in Game of Thrones (which makes Dan Snyder the Night King). And like the Army of the Dead, history tells us this Washington squad is in store for a long, drawn-out demise. The best we can hope for as fans is some unbelievable action scenes before they end up losing, ideally to the good guys.


Positive Spin: Kirk Cousins continues to look above-adequate, despite losing two 1,000-yard wide receivers during the offseason. More importantly, the defense appears dramatically improved, which was probably the biggest reason this team missed the playoffs in 2016. The Oakland victory was unlike anything we’d seen in DC since RG3 was relevant, and they really were just one dropped pass away from stealing one in Kansas City. Jay Gruden probably isn’t getting the credit he deserves, which seems like a reasonable time to remind everyone that Howie Roseman hired Chip Kelly (who would later overthrow him) rather than give the younger Gruden a serious interview.

If Washington fans are looking to avoid the inevitable Nationals collapse in October, and are already dreading the inevitable Capitals collapse in April, this football squad may offer some temporary relief, like taking Pepto or just farting really loudly.

Negative Spin: Josh Norman is out for about a month, which won’t make things easy on this defense. The running game duties are mainly being given to “Fat” Rob Kelly & Samaje Perine, who are both terrible, and are both being outplayed by Thompson, whom Gruden inexplicably hates. And with Jordan Reed chronically injured, 57-year-old Vernon Davis has had to play a significant role in the passing game. That’s a recipe for success in the same way drinking raw eggs like Rocky will help you fight a heavyweight.

Oh, and they’re still paying Kirk Cousins $24 million. That’s a bigger waste of money than Mike Pence buying his entire secret service detail Colts tickets and having them leave before the coin-flip (and on “Peyton Manning Day,” no less. Sad!). 

This franchise's’ history under Snyder is well documented, in the way a termite colonies ability to destroy a house is well documented. If you’re looking for cracks in this team’s foundation, there’s plenty to find.

What’s Next: A must-win game at home against the San Francisco 49ers, and I only write “must win” because they’ve already fallen two wins behind the NFC East leading Birds. They’ll then get a chance at revenge against Philly, followed by a tough stretch against Dallas, Seattle, and Minnesota.

 

Dallas Cowboys (2-3) 

What Happened: HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA haha.. Ha… woo.

Despite leading by as much as fifteen points, despite winning the time of possession by ten minutes, despite 116 yards on the ground by Ezekiel Elliott, and despite taking the lead with just 1:13 to play, the Dallas Cowboys choked it away to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers at HOME, by a final score of 35-31. Again.

Prescott had three touchdown passes in the first half (Wentz threw three in a single quarter, so NBD), and Elliott had perhaps his best game of the year, but just like last postseason, the Dallas D couldn’t contain A-Rodg for a full sixty minutes. The Packers offense scored 20 fourth-quarter points, including the game-winning touchdown to Davante Adams on an incredible 9-play, 75-yard drive that took 62 seconds flat. And just like that, Jason Garrett (who’s never had back-to-back winning seasons his entire coaching career) has his Cowboys team at 2-3.

Oh, and word is Jerry Jones will bench any player who protests social injustice by kneeling during the anthem, and OH MY GOD DEZ BRYANT PLEASE DO IT. Lord knows I’ve never asked anything of Dez Bryant. He OWES me! Besides I’ve laughed at some of his cell phone commercials, sometimes even genuinely! 

Seriously, does anybody believes Jones would REALLY bench a player like Dez or Zeke or Dak if they kneeled during the anthem? This is the same man who signed domestic abuser Greg Hardy knowing he’d be suspended for four games, and then defended him for an entire year. This guy would do anything to win, social injustice or the American flag be damned. Jones would frack below his own stadium, then use the Stars and Stripes to wipe up the excess oil if he thought it would help him get a Lombardi trophy.

Anyway, the Cowboys are 2-3, matching their loss total from all of last season. Good riddance.

Positive Spin: Aaron Rodgers is a future Hall of Famer, and there’s no shame in being just another highlight in his long reel of awesomeness. It’s like being one of Leonardo DiCaprio’s ex-girlfriends. Besides, Dallas did lead for most of this one, and there’s a lot of positive things they can take away; like how they won the time of possession, or were winning most of the afternoon, or that linebacker Sean Lee could be back as soon as the next game. Sure, their record won’t be as impressive as last year, but it’s a long season, and the Cowboys still have the horses to get through this one.

Negative Spin: AARON RODGERS OWNS THIS TEAM. Sure, Lee may return and magically have his feeble limbs turned into adamantium, and the offensive line may start to play up to the level Dallas “fans” have come to expect. If you’re looking for reasons to believe the Cowboys can play better, there’s enough evidence here to fill a dossier. #ThatsWhatRobertMuellerSaid.

But no matter what, the road to the Super Bowl in the NFC will almost certainly be through Green Bay. And at this point, there’s no way anyone even close to the Dallas Cowboys should feel confident they can ever beat the Pack. Look no further than color commentator Troy Aikman, who spent the entire final ten minutes of the game pleading with his former team not to score, just so Green Bay wouldn’t get the ball back. Those are the words of a man who is afraid…  or just the victim of one-too-many concussions. Whichever it is, it’s not funny!

It’s not hard to imagine the Cowboys coming back to win the NFC East. It’s nearly impossible, however, imagining them beating any team with Aaron Rodgers.

What’s Next: A bye week, which is just perfect. Let them seep in it. With a little Wentz Magic Thursday night, the Cowboys could come back from their bye three wins behind the NFC East leaders.

 

New York Giants (0-5)

What Happened: Like an episode of Scrubs, the New York Giants went from giggle-filled hijinks to medical mystery in a blink of an eye. Ben McAdoo’s squad lost their fifth consecutive game 27-22 to the winless “Los Angeles” Chargers while their entire wide receiving corp went down with injury. The Giants actually took the lead on an Eli Manning TD early in the fourth, but would eventually blow it, because of course they did. The Giants have had a fourth-quarter lead in each of their last three games, and as everyone knows, they lost all of them. 

But that’s not the story right now. After Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard, AND Dwayne Harris all left the game with leg & ankle injuries, New Yorkers had to watch the most exciting player in the NFL, Odell Beckham Jr. (no offense to Senor Elliott) break his ankle and be carted off in tears. His season, like the Giants season, is officially over.

Last week I wrote that the characters on The Walking Dead have a better outlook than the GMen. The line is no longer funny. This team is as dead as John Cleese’s pet parrot.  They’ve shuffled off this mortal coil and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible. A season that started with so much promise (for no real reason, we see now) has come crumbling down as fast as humanly possible. 

Things are so bad that many are beginning to ask if the second-year head coach is on the hot seat. That’s a pretty dramatic shift for the Giants, who have had just six head coaches in the last thirty-four years. It’s like McDonalds saying they’re replacing the Big Mac with frozen bananas, or GEICO saying they’ve replaced the gecko with a cocker spaniel that looks like Gordon Gekko. I’m not saying any of those would be bad changes, just that they would be surprising and out of character.

Positive Spin: There’s only eleven more games to go. And hey, tanking isn’t the worst! Look how excited Sixers fans are!!

Negative Spin: The demise of the Giants has gone from hilariously enjoyable to cruel and unusual. Watching the brutal injury to Beckham on Sunday was as uncomfortable as chewing aluminum foil. It’s like learning the school bully has to go to summer school, which is funny, then finding out his Auntie has to sacrifice shifts at the Wawa just to pick him up, which is awkward. That’s what this Giants season feels like, where you feel a little dirty thinking “thank the Football Gods that’s not us!”

What’s Next: No mercy. The Giants next three games are against the Broncos (coming off a bye), the Seahawks (coming off a bye), and the Rams. Eagles fans can only hope they have something left in the tank when they take on Washington at the end of November, and Dallas at the start of December. But at this current pace, they’ll be lucky if they can field a team.

NFC East, Week 4: Eagles take commanding 1-game lead over losers

NFC East, Week 4: Eagles take commanding 1-game lead over losers

Each week, we'll take a look at how the Eagles' division rivals fared the previous weekend (spoiler alert: the NFC East barely exceeded Brett Brown's .229 winning percentage) and what they have upcoming. This week, Jay Gruden did a great Andy Reid impression, Dallas let Greg the Leg dominate your fantasy league, and the Giants experienced a glitch in the Matrix.

New York Giants (0-4)

What Happened: Deja vu! The New York Giants, who many predicted would win the NFC East solely because they added 33-year-old Brandon Marshall, dropped to a dismal Oh-and-Four for the year, and for the second consecutive week, it was on a game-ending field goal. This week, it was Nick Folk's 34-yarder that ended it; not as impressive as Señor Elliott's 61-yarder, but still pretty amazing. It's like comparing Star Wars: A New Hope to The Force Awakens — the first is inarguably a classic, but that doesn't make the latter any less enjoyable.

Despite coming back from a 13-0 first-quarter deficit, getting seven receptions from Odell Beckham Jr., and witnessing a Wentz-esque touchdown run by Eli Manning, the Giants fell in Tampa, 25-23. On the plus side, Eli is now the Giants' rushing leader on the year, which I'm sure is exactly what the Maras were hoping for when they pushed out two-time Super Bowl Champion Tom Coughlin to promote Ben McAdoo and his innovative offense. 

The game was announced by Ronde and Tiki Barber, which had about as much charm as a bucket of snakes. Remember that time Tiki retired suddenly, then slammed the Giants' coaches and locker room on his way out, so Michael Strahan decided to go ahead and steal his dream life? HAHAHA ... good times.

Positive Spin: So if you think back all the way to 2013, you'll remember that this same Giants squad actually started 0-6, yet they never gave up, they never quit, they kept fighting, and they ended up winning seven out of their final 10. It can happen!

Not that it would matter. The G-Men missed the playoffs in 2013 and the season was a waste.

The Giants should win some games this year (no promises), and will likely spoil someone's season down the road. For some Giants fans not ready to watch the Post-Melo/Post-Phil Knickerbockers, that should bring some joy. When you lose your first four games on the year, that's about as positive as things get.

Negative Spin: What's the future here? At least in 2013, they were just a couple years removed from a Super Bowl. Eli is old, the genius coach doesn't seem so genius, the running game hasn't been relevant since Brandon Jacobs retired, and the team's most interesting young player, while only in his fourth year, has been healthy for all 16 games only once and doesn't feel like a safe bet to have a Jerry Rice-like 20-year career. The characters on The Walking Dead have a better five-year plan than these guys. The outlook's about as bleak as Donald Trump's chances of being elected as Puerto Rico's Man of the Year.

The Giants are like a new Tim Burton movie — fans tend to get a little over-excited based off of some fantastic release from childhood. At a certain point, the busts start to outweigh the booms, and we're all gonna be left wondering if there was ever anything special there to begin with.

What's Next: A home game against the Los Angeles Chargers, who after last week, are already pretty familiar with having to play on the road. 

• • •

Dallas Cowboys (2-2)

What Happened: Despite leading 17-6 and 24-13, Dem Boys fell to Greg "The Leg" Zuerlein's seven field goals and the Los Angeles Rams by a score of 35-30. Let's call this one "The Wade Phillips Revenge Game." Jason Garrett, who once sabotaged his own offense in order to get Phillips fired and steal his job, watched Todd Gurley rack up over 200 all-purpose yards on the way to the NFC East's biggest upset of the season.

Dallas looked in control early, scoring three touchdowns in the second quarter, but the game flipped and reversed faster than Zeke's legal playing status. Garrett's squad fell behind when Gurley snuck through on a 53-yard slant pass from Jared "Still Not Carson" Goff, which was part of a 19-point L.A. run that the Cowboys couldn't overcome. 

Oh, and Jerry Jones, who gave $1 million to Donald Trump during the campaign, is getting cold-called by the guy about kneeling during the anthem. Take that however you want it.

Positive Spin: Zeke looked fine, Dak looked fine, and Dez made some highlight-reel catches for a change. The offensive playmakers are still there and being effective, even if they weren't effective enough to get the W this week. Like having a CD player in your car, this offense still works.

Besides, it's still hard to say just how good the Los Angeles Rams actually are. Goff has certainly resembled a competent quarterback these first four weeks, and Gurley's having a bounce-back season shouldn't shock anyone. It's possible this upset doesn't look quite so upsetting a few months from now. If Dak & Zeke steamroll over Green Bay next Sunday, this fart-in-the-bathtub will quickly be forgotten.

Plus, the fact that Zuerlein had seven field goals (not a typo) could be a testament to a defense that will bend but not break, but I dunno. SEVEN field goals? If your backbone had that much bend, you'd be a human right angle.

Negative Spin: THE SKY IS FALLING IN JERRY WORLD! The Cowboys are just one defeat away from tying their total from all of last season, while Dak is just one interception away from tying his total from all of last season. Oh, and did we mention Zeke hasn't had 100 yards rushing in three consecutive games!? The regression is real. How does Garrett still have a job?!

In all seriousness, the Cowboys just lost a game at home to a conference opponent they were favored to beat. That's not good. The defense clearly missed the oft-injured Sean Lee in this one, and the offense appears to be missing the under-appreciated Doug Free overall. The Cowboys, who weren't good enough to win a playoff game last season, so far appear to be a less-competent team this season. At least their fans have Lavar Ball to look forward to.

What's Next: The Green Bay Packers travel to Dallas a lot healthier than they were when they knocked the Cowboys out of the playoffs seven months ago. At 3-1 and with a Canton-bound quarterback, the Packers are probably the toughest challenge Jones' squad has faced all season. In the immortal words of whats-his-face, "Get yo' popcorn ready!" 

• • •

Washington (2-2)

What Happened: Despite going up 10-0 early, the Washington football team fell to the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs by a final score of 29-20, and it was a lot more dramatic than that score leads on. Wide receiver Josh Doctson, who's getting serious snaps only because Dan Snyder refused to pay Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson, 2016-Agholor'd a Kirk Cousins pass in the end zone with 50 seconds remaining that would have given DC a four-point lead. 

Andy Reid watching another head coach mismanage the clock is like Donald Trump calling someone else out for poor leadership, or me complaining that someone's sports blog is too political. But that's exactly what happened. Jay Gruden took a timeout on third down with a minute remaining, single-handedly ensuring Kansas City would get the ball back with time to make a move, no matter what the Washington offense did.

Turns out, Washington would end up tying it with a field goal. But with 47 seconds still on the clock, Alex Smith was able to put his team into field-goal range for the game-winner. Presumably, that's why Reid always burns his timeouts in the third quarter; to ensure he can't use them to self-sabotage deep in the fourth. It's like hitting yourself in the head with a hammer before you get on your motorcycle.

In the end, a broken lateral play resulted in a defensive touchdown for the Chiefs, because somebody somewhere needed to learn that gambling was bad. Josh Norman busted his ribs and could be out a while. Oh, and we learned Jason's brother Travis is a champion dancer. Here's hoping the Eagles' center finds a way to score next week, just so we can see if he can answer.

Positive Spin: This was about as "good" a loss as teams get in the NFL. Washington went up against the only undefeated team remaining and nearly stole one on the road. Cousins' stats don't blow you away, but he looked pretty darn good on that final drive (sans the Doctson drop), and he and Pryor seem to be getting on the same page. A week after crushing the Oakland Raiders on national TV, Gruden's squad was one dropped pass or one boneheaded timeout away from being 3-1. For a franchise that makes Equifax look competent, that's a pretty good streak.

Again, let's keep in mind what franchise we're talking about here. Dan Snyder's squad going 2-2, and nearly beating two top AFC teams in the process, is like BoJack Horseman being nominated for the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series.
 
Negative Spin: Brian Dawkins used to say "there's no such thing as a good loss." Washington is 2-2 and couldn't carry its momentum over from last week. Gruden, meanwhile, who has been coaching this team for three years now, should know better than to pull an Andy Reid with the game on the line. So while plenty of people will want to "like that" they almost got the dubya, it's important to remember that "almosts" still count as losses.

There's been a lot of talk this week about how the Eagles have been learning to win the close ones. Well on Monday night, Washington lost a close one. So for anyone out there who believes one or two plays actually confirms whether a team has learned how to be a winner vs. just got lucky on a handful of crucial plays, Washington technically lost a close game for the second time when a handful of better plays would have made the difference. I guess they just don't know how to be winners yet. Maybe they should bring in Tebow.

What's Next: A bye week?! That feels lame. And that's how this article ends? Even David Chase thinks that's a cruddy way to wrap something up.