Each week, we’ll take a look at how the Eagles division rivals fared the previous weekend (spoiler alert: I feel the same way about them as Martha Stewart feels about Pumpkin Spice) and what they have upcoming. This week, the Giants did absolutely nothing different, Washington barely beat a team that lost twelve games a year ago, and the Cowboys, like the old Siberian Express, looked vastly overhyped on their way to an ugly beatdown.
Here’s what happened, and what’s happening, in the NFC East after Week Two.
Dallas Cowboys (1-1):
What Happened: Oh man, this was fun. Imagine the Chiefs/Birds game, but without all the good things that happened; that was essentially this game for Cowboys fans. Jason Garrett’s squad went on the road against an AFC opponent and got brutally demolished, losing 42-17. Unlike being barely-beaten by long-term NFL Quarterback Alex Smith (like the Eagles were), the Cowboys were thoroughly slaughtered by Trevor Siemien, who tore into the depleted Dallas secondary like they were every single kid from middle school that used to make fun of his last name.
I, personally, couldn’t be happier. It had been eight months since we’d gotten to experience a Cowboys loss, which is far too long (speaking purely from a medical perspective, of course), and this one was especially epic. I’ve seen a solar eclipse more recently than I’ve seen Jerry Jones look this deflated. The Cowboys losing is like a new season of Wet Hot American Summer. There’s something familiar about it. Something safe. And always, a part that will make you laugh hysterically.
The part that made me laugh hysterically this week was watching the worst game of Ezekiel Elliott’s career. The Cowboys star running back had just eight more yards on the day than LeGarrette Blount (who, in case you forgot, had zero), and was then called out after the game by Canton-bound Ladainian Tomlinson for being a quitter. Yup, Ezekiel Elliott is the new Jay Cutler, a comparison that doesn’t seem fair to J-Cut, since he’s actually won a playoff game.
Positive Spin: Like the Birds, dem Boys can take solace in knowing they lost on the road to an AFC opponent they’ll never have to face again, which is like not being embarrassed you farted audibly on public transit ‘cause you’re getting off the next stop anyway. One game doesn’t make a season, nor does it suddenly prove that Zeke or Dak Prescott don’t belong in this league. This was one unfortunate result at a point in the season where teams can afford to have unfortunate results… like how it’s okay to lose one of your fingers, because you still have nine others. At least that’s what they taught me in the Yakuza (though its made glove shopping impossible. Luckily, JPP introduced me to his guy).
Negative Spin: I mean, it was 42-17, and while Zeke and Dak are still legit, some flaws were definitely exposed. Siemien, who was fighting for the starting spot less than a month ago, made the Dallas secondary look like, well… the kind of secondary that employs Nolan Carroll. Imagine what Alshon Jeffrey should be able to do. Or Odell Beckham. Or Jordy Nelson, or Julio Jones, or any of the other top-flight wideouts in the NFC that Dallas will be expected to beat if they want this season to surpass the results of the past two decades.
Dallas looked really bad on Sunday. Some of it should be easily fixed. But that secondary may need a little bit more than duct tape and Orlando Scandrick to get things rolling. But don’t worry, Dallas fans; I’m sure Jason Garrett, who’s had two winning campaigns in his six full seasons as head coach, will be able to push this team forward, no doubt. It’s like having the former UBER CEO take over your kid's lemonade stand.
What’s Next: A road-game against the Arizona Cardinals, who barely snuck out a victory against Indianapolis last week. With David Johnson’s broken wrist ruining your fantasy team, and Carson Palmer continuing to age at the normal going rate, Arizona just isn’t very good. Road game or not, Dallas should be able to turn things around in the desert next weekend.
What Happened: Out in Los Angeles, the Washington Football Team defeated the previously undefeated Rams 27-20. A week after letting a close one literally slip through his fingers, Kirk Cousins threw a game winning touchdown with less than two minutes to play, and the D.C. D snatched an interception off of Jared “Not Carson” Goff moments later to seal it.
It was a crucial win for Jay Gruden, who like Andy Reid, was able to knock off his former offensive coordinator, in this instance 31-year-old Sean McVay. FUN FACT: When Doug Pederson was McVay’s age, he was the starting quarterback of your Philadelphia Eagles. Isn’t math fun?
Positive Spin: Washington avoids the dreaded 0-2 start, and any win on the road should be considered applause-worthy… even if the stadium looked less crowded than Anthony Scaramucci’s Going Away Party. Seriously, just by mentioning someone from the Trump White House, I’ve guaranteed more angry tweeters @ me than attendees at L.A. Coliseum last Sunday (though in their defense, Sean Spicer said it was the largest crowd ever). Remind me again why Los Angeles has two football teams?
Meanwhile, Chris Thompson is making moves like a young Brian Westbrook. The guy who made Iggles defenders looks like they were playing ‘tag’ in Week One had a pair of touchdowns against a respectable Los Angeles defense, including a 61-yarder (which I believe is more rushing yards than Birds runnings backs have all season combined).
Cousins wasn’t phenomenal, but he showed improvement from last week (which is comparable to saying the urinal looked better after the auto-flush). With a victory, Washington avoids the “Dan Snyder’s Team Is Always Doomed To A Pit Of Despair” storyline for at least another week.
Negative Spin: Washington almost lost to the Rams. The RAMS. This is a team that went 4-12 last year playing in the NFC West. Sure, they may be improved (how could they not be?), but you won’t find many barstool bloggers inside the beltway this week saying “WE SURE LOOKED GOOD NEARLY BLOWING A 13-POINT LEAD TO JARED GOFF.”
And meanwhile, what is this team planning to do next year if they don’t re-sign Cousins? Hand the reigns over to Colt McCoy, the 31-year-old journeyman who’s essentially just Doug Pederson 20 years later with a better name? What does this team do if they go 8-8 and Cousins essentially looks the same he’s looked these past eight quarters? I’m not saying Gruden’s squad should go full Sam Hinkie Trust The Process after a 1-1 start, but it’s really hard to get excited about the long-term future of this football team. Even victories make the fanbase groan.
What’s Next: SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL! The soon-to-be-Las-Vegas Raiders come to D.C., and they haven’t really been tested yet (beating the Titans and Jets handedly the first two weeks). A win against the trendy AFC-Champ-Pick on Sunday would significantly alter the opinion of this team heading into October.
New York Giants (0-2):
What Happened: The Giants lost at home to the Detroit Lions 24-10, and things are starting to get ugly. How ugly are they? With just 13 points on the year, the highly-celebrated Giants offense has just one more point on the season than Nelson Agholor. They’re being outscored by the Jets! That’s like finding out your loser roommate who never leaves the apartment is actually a gun-smuggling millionaire (coming this Thursday on FOX!).
Brandon Marshall, who was supposed to take this offense to the next level, dropped a big third down pass in the fourth quarter, and the very next play was an 88-yard punt return for a TD by someone named Jamal Agnew that broke Big Blue’s back. Meanwhile, coach Ben McAdoo spent his postgame presser taking shots at two-time Super Bowl Champion and six-time Mouth Breather of the Year Eli Manning, so rest assured Giants fans, leadership has a plan for turning this sinking ship around! McAdoo may even hand over play-calling duties! What a great hire.
Meanwhile, Eli was sacked five times (or what they call in New York “one short of a Winston Justice”). While we can only grimace at decade-old memories of Winston-the-Pooh at right guard being eaten up by Osi Umenyiora like Chris Christie at CiCi’s, this Sunday at the Linc may top that. The Iggles D-line is very, very good, while the Giants O-line has the toughness of overcooked spaghetti. This is the kind of day Jim Schwartz should be bragging about when he’s interviewing for the Cincinnati Bengals head coaching gig four months from now.
Positive Spin: IT CAN’T GET WORSE.
Negative Spin: Since 1990, only 12% of teams that start 0-2 make the playoffs. And while I haven’t taken a deep-dive into it, I’d be willing to bet that the O-line of this Giants team is way worse than any of that 12%. Meanwhile, waiting for Marshall and Manning to get on the same page is like waiting for a new season of Arrested Development. It may never come, and even if it does, will it be worth it? And at this point, who really remembers when it was that good to begin with?
For all the mystique around Eli-led Giants teams being great down the stretch, it’s important we remember he has a career winning percentage of just .545. That’s .004 points higher than Nick Foles! Andy Dalton, Alex Smith, & Teddy Bridgewater all have a higher winning percentage than the 36-year-old Giants quarterback. To expect him (and, presumably, Odell) to turn this thing around may be a little out of touch. Like how DirecTV thinks it’s okay to put Charlie Kelly in any football jersey other than midnight green.
What’s Next: Week 3 is a Must-Win game for New York, and the circumstances are not fun. Well, they’re actually super fun for us; after losing Monday night, the Giants come to Philly for the Eagles home opener at The Linc, where they haven’t won since 2013. A divisional game on the road off a short week.