Each week, we’ll take a look at how the Eagles' division rivals fared the previous weekend (spoiler alert: they’re all failures). This week, the Cowboys picked up where they left off, Washington got run over by the Wentz Wagon, and the Giants looked ready for a spot in Del Boca Vista.
Here’s what happened, and what’s happening, in the NFC East after Week One:
What happened: I mean, y’all saw it. Despite a hat trick of turnovers, Washington still had a chance to win this game on the final drive, and gave up a maybe-it-was-maybe-it-wasn’t fumble on a Brandon Graham sack that resulted in Fletcher Cox’s first career touchdown (and might I also add, a fantastic touchdown dance). In short, Washington had a chance to win it, and Kirk Cousins didn’t have enough … which, quite soon, may be what we’re saying about his bank account.
Sure, you can argue all you want about the final call. It doesn’t change the fact that Washington averaged less than three yards per carry, put up just 10 total points on offense, and ended the day with four brutal turnovers. You can’t complain about the last turnover when you’ve already handed it over three times. That’s like a chef ruining every dish on a four-course meal, then getting mad at the waiter for sneezing on the dessert. Cousins' performance on Sunday was a mucus-covered souffle, which is ironic, because I’m sure dozens of waiters in the DC area have spit in Dan Snyder’s food.
Positive spin: Insert obligatory “It’s only Week 1” comment here. In fact, Washington has lost Week 1 every year Jay Gruden has been in charge. They love losing Week 1, in the same way Jon Snow likes squinting at things or how the military likes taking its orders via Twitter. THE CHAOS IN DC IS CONSTRUCTIVE, can’t you see!?
Meanwhile, Ryan Kerrigan’s play is as consistent as your neighbor doing construction the only Saturday morning you have to sleep in, Chris Thompson made arguably the play of the day, and Washington lost a game to a division rival it was bound to lose to sooner or later. This one hurts for DC fans, but it’s not a backbreaker. It’s more like a paper cut … a massive, Cox-sized papercut.
If it wasn’t for a couple of Tony Romo-esque Houdini moves by Carson Wentz … and a fumbled punt … and a QB fumble in the first quarter … and a fourth-quarter interception in the red zone. .. maybe Washington’s in control all game. And maybe if we elected our president by popular vote, Snyder and Donald Trump wouldn’t be neighbors. That’s why we play the game, folks.
Negative spin: Washington lost a home game to a divisional opponent, and looked ugly doing it. Terrelle Pryor and Cousins looked out of sync, like when your live stream is just a second off so the lip movements don’t match the sound. And the offensive line, which was suppose to be a strength, struggled mightily against the Iggles' pass rush, like Sean Spicer at a “Guess the size of the crowd” contest.
Much has been made about how Cousins is playing for his next contract. His display on Sunday isn’t the kind of show that’ll get you 2016 Brock Osweiler money.
What’s next: Gruden’s squad heads out to Los Angeles to face a Rams team coached by its former offensive coordinator, Sean McVay. The McVay-Gruden dynamic is essentially the same thing Iggles fans will get with Andy Reid-Doug Pederson on Sunday, just with a lot less labored breathing.
The Rams are coming off a 46-9 victory, and consider it a must-win for Washington. The team will take on Oakland and Kansas City after that, and don’t expect it to be favored for either.
New York Giants
What happened: Giants fans have been waiting for years for Eli Manning to start looking like Peyton Manning. On Sunday night, he finally did … unfortunately, it was the 38-year old version who had the accuracy of a stormtrooper. Despite coach Ben McAdoo’s decision to go with the Chase Utley hairstyle, the Giants were thoroughly beaten by Dallas on Sunday night, 19-3. Just as we all predicted, the Giants' offense has been outscored on the season by Cox.
It was announced shortly before the game that star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., whom McAdoo got hurt in the preseason by being a moron, would not be able to play. That was about as exciting as the Giants' offense got. New York had just two first downs the entire first half, and had 256 yards total the entire night. Sitting through this game was a slow bleed, like bathing in a tub of leeches, or trying to binge watch all of Marvel’s Netflix shows. Oh, Iron Fist, you have the charisma of a mashed potato.
Positive spin: The defense looks good, in the same way Chip Kelly’s defense use to look good before the high number of plays sent them all into cardiac arrest. Wherever he is, Bradley Fletcher is probably still trying to catch his breath (also, a streaking wide receiver). While there wasn’t much for Giants fans to hang their heads on, their defense kept them in this bore-fest deep into the fourth.
And, presumably, OBJ will be back, though after watching Manning's noodle arm, it’s hard to imagine him in a rush. Once Beckham returns, he’ll make everyone look better. He’s like T.J. McConnell that way, only with worse hair.
At the end of the day, losing to a division rival on the road (like New York did) is better than losing at home (like Washington did). So, that’s something. Like how the one Wicked Witch probably preferred being melted by water as opposed to getting crushed by a house like her sister. How’s that for a dated reference?
And speaking of old things ...
Negative spin: Manning looked old. New Yorkers are offering him a seat on the subway, that’s how old he looked. Like clips of Ari Gold verbally berating women, the younger Manning has not been aging well. His numbers have been getting worse from year to year, despite the addition of Beckham (and Sterling Shepard, who’s still everything we expect Nellie Agholor to be), and maybe the Giants' front office was onto something when they drafted an heir apparent in the third round last April.
The Giant issues (see what I did there?) go beyond the quarterback, though. The offensive line makes tissue paper look like adamantium. Brandon Marshall had as many catches on Sunday as Jalen Mills. And the running game was … well, it was like the Eagles' run game, which is to say it was a complete and utter non-factor. The Giants' offense was bad. Like, Dark Tower bad, but with more summer hype (and less angry diehards).
Again, it’s only one week, and the Giants bounced back from a 2-3 start last season to make the playoffs. A month from now, we may have all forgotten that Manning looked ready for the scrap heap, or that the running game looked nonexistent, or that Marshall looked as old as Melisandre in that one Game of Thrones scene that didn’t make sense. But for right now, today, at this moment, after a beating on national TV in Dallas on a stage the Giants have typically thrived on, McAdoo’s squad looks like it’s got some problems.
What’s next: The Giants come home for a game against the 1-0 Detroit Lions, who feature the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL, Matthew Stafford. Fun fact: Matty Staff has a .460 winning percentage in his career, which is the exact number in millions he’s currently getting from the Ford family. Glad to see Detroit becoming a beacon of high-paying American jobs!
What Happened: Ugh, please don’t make me recap this one. Reliving an easy Cowboys victory is as cringeworthy as what I imagine being stuck on an elevator with Sam Bradford is like.
In the same way the Birds got a monkey off their backs beating Washington for the first time in two-and-a-half years, the Cowboys chased away a bit of a boogeyman by easily defeating the New York Giants Sunday night at home. Eli and Co. swept Dak and Zeke last season, a feat made more impressive by the fact that the Cowboys only lost four games all of last year.
Evan Rafa Nadal thought this one was too easy. Dallas moved the ball effectively enough on the Giants, and while it struggled to get touchdowns (the lone one being scored by AARP spokesman and man-without-a-neck Jason Witten) and technically let the G-Men hang around, the Cowboys still felt in control all evening. Prescott wasn’t perfect, but he was effective, and Elliott found enough holes to be successful … which, coincidentally, is also the opening statement from his legal team.
Positive spin: The Cowboys looked like the exact same team that went 13-3 last year, which is great for the next three months (but as per usual, has little impact on the postseason). Elliott escaped his suspension, perhaps temporarily, or perhaps forever, in thanks to a Texas-based judge’s ruling and I’m sure that judge doesn’t have a Michael Irvin jersey in his closet, for sure. The Cowboys RB/QB combo got the job done again a tough Giants defense, proving there won’t be a sophomore slump (at least for one week).
Negative spin: This wasn’t a true test. Without OBJ, the Giants' offense had the fight of day-old roadkill. Oh, and they probably should have had more than 19 points. The offense stalled in the red zone a few times, a result of some poor Prescott passing. I’m nitpicking here, but hey, I’ve got a format for this article, and I’m gonna stick to it. I respect and follow the rules. If I don’t, Jerry Jones might try to hire me.
Oh, and did you know Prescott grew up a Cowboys fan? Yet he was born in California. That's so weird.
What’s next: A flight to Denver to face an opponent coming off a short week. Jones is so clearly the shadow commissioner of this league, I’m surprised he’s not using a shell company to buy Facebook ads targeting independent voters.