Around the NFC East: After gut-punch vs. Dallas, can Birds catch Washington?

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USA Today

Around the NFC East: After gut-punch vs. Dallas, can Birds catch Washington?

The Eagles woes this weekend weren’t just confined to Sunday night; everything that could have gone wrong, did go wrong, at least as far as the NFC East is concerned. But hey… Jimmy Butler!

Here’s what happened, and what’s happening, this week in the NFC East… and get your popcorn ready, ‘cause this one is going to be salty.

New York Giants (2-7)

ICYMI: No one will blame you for opting-out of Monday Nights Giants/Niners Battle-for-the-Ages. 80-year-old Eli Manning led the Gmen on a game-winning touchdown drive (going 6-for-9 for 69 yards… double nice), giving the Giants their 5th win in 25 games. Meaningless production and an irrelevant result? Sounds like Vintage Eli to me.

Spin: Hooray for Giants fans who want to pretend like a win against Nick Mullens is some sort of significant accomplishment. The MNF crew was even scouting college quarterbacks for the Giants during the broadcast! This remains the final chapter in the odd and strangely-successful story of Eli’s career, but that doesn’t mean it’s worthy of your attention.

What’s Next: 162 days until the NFL Draft.

 

Washington (6-3)

ICYMI: After a flurry of significant injuries and with a tricky opponent on the dockett, Washington seemed set up for a trap game. Instead they completely shut down the perplexing FitzMagic, beating the Buccaneers 16-3. This game had nothing but field goals until the 4th quarter, but for Washington, it’s a quality win on the road that helped extend their lead in the division. So, that stinks.

Spin: With the easiest-schedule remaining of everyone in the NFC East, plus a two-game lead, Washington is the clear and obvious frontrunner to win the division and have the honor of being beaten at home by Carolina on Wild Card Weekend. It’s at the point now where, if Washington somehow doesn’t win the division, it should be considered a criminal choke job that should cost some dudes their employment.

Silver lining? This team is still owned by Dan Snyder, they have one of the oldest rosters in the league, and their offensive-minded head coach has built a yawn-inducing offense.

In short, their long-term prospects for growth and success are equivalent to that of the fidget-spinner.

What’s Next: Houston, Dallas, Philly. If a collapse is coming, it seems destined to start soon.

 

Dallas Cowboys (4-5)

ICYMI: C’mon… we all know you didn’t miss it.

Spin: The Sword of Damocles seemed set to drop on Dallas Sunday night, and the Iggles failed to cut the thread. As a result, the vultures circling around the jobs of both Jason Garrett and Dak Prescott will have to find a new target, at least for another week. 

And hey, maybe that’s a good thing for Birds fans. The Cowboys didn’t win Sunday because of the play of Dak or the offensive-creativity from Garrett. Neither is worthy of Eagles-fans fear. So if the short-term pain of Sunday night results in another five years of Garrett and Prescott, it may end up being worth it. Maybe.

Zeke is only 23 though. That isn’t great.

What’s Next: With Atlanta, New Orleans, Washington, and the Birds on the schedule the next four weeks, the Cowboys season should be decided within a month. Try not to read the tea leaves on Garrett or Prescott until then.

Brian Dawkins posts touching tribute to Stan Lee

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@BrianDawkins

Brian Dawkins posts touching tribute to Stan Lee

The world lost a legend today with the passing of Stan Lee, who was the co-creator of characters such as Spider-Man, the Hulk, Iron Man, Black Panther, the Avengers and many more.

Lee, 95, also was the co-creator of X-Men, a team of superheroes that, of course, includes Wolverine. Eagles Hall of Famer Brian Dawkins, whose nickname Weapon X is a codename for Wolverine, posted a tribute to his Twitter account.

The image Dawkins tweeted is from 2012, when Marvel enlisted X-Men artist Jorge Molina to draw Dawkins as Wolverine for a poster that was given away at Lincoln Financial Field to commemorate Dawkins’ retirement from the NFL.

Lee’s work will live on for generations, and especially with Wolverine, who will be forever linked with one of the best players ever to put on an Eagles jersey.

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More on the Eagles

Eagles Week 10 report card: Not everybody failed against Dallas

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USA Today

Eagles Week 10 report card: Not everybody failed against Dallas

You might be thinking all F’s for the Eagles after a 27-20 loss to a bad Cowboys squad on Sunday night – but then you would need to hold the opinion this team was better than that.

The Eagles were a “C” team going in, and played like it from top to bottom.

Quarterback

Carson Wentz: 32/44, 360 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT

The Eagles scored all of three points in the first half while Wentz completed 10 of 17 of passes for 104 yards with the interception. He was great over the final 30 minutes, but it was too little, too late.

Grade: C

Running backs

Josh Adams: 7 ATT, 47 YDS

Adams showed some burst on a 29-yard gain, although his agility turning the corner on the next play, a five-yard carry, was even more impressive at 6-foot-2, 225 pounds. Corey Clement, on the other hand, just can’t get going, netting eight yards on six touches with a drop.

Grade: C

Wide receivers & tight ends

Zach Ertz: 14 REC, 145 YDS, 2 TD

Once again, Ertz padded the stats with four receptions for 45 yards in garbage time, but it was a big night regardless, with two pivotal touchdowns. Nelson Agholor set up one Ertz score with a 51-yard bomb, and Jordan Matthews added 40 yards on three catches, all first downs. It was Alshon Jeffery and Golden Tate who disappointed – Jeffery couldn’t come up with the tough grabs the offense sorely needed, while Tate finished with two catches for 19 yards in his Eagles debut.

Grade: C+

Offensive line

Surprisingly not the problem, considering Halapoulivaati Vaitai started in place of an injured Lane Johnson at right tackle. Some of Wentz’s struggles could be traced to pressure, yet the quarterback was only hit six times on 47 dropbacks. Then again, the lack of consistent running lanes is an issue, and the penetration on a 4th-and-1 carry resulting in a turnover on downs was pitiful.

Grade: C

Defensive line

Michael Bennett: 2 TKL, 2.0 SK

So disruptive at the start. Fletcher Cox was in the backfield every snap. Bennett and Brandon Graham combined for 3.5 sacks and seven quarterback hits. Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott’s first five carries went for 14 yards. Unfortunately, the unit tired as the night went on, the quarterback got a little more comfortable and Elliott took over.

Grade: C

Linebackers

Nigel Bradham: 10 TKL

Bradham and Jordan Hicks combined for 17 tackles, and somehow zero noteworthy plays – unless you count the times Elliott was in the second level unattended. Kamu Grugier-Hill dropping a sure pick-six was kind of big, too.

Grade: C-

Defensive backs

Granted, the secondary was without four of five starters after Ronald Darby went down, but 26 completions, a 72.2 completion percentage and 270 yards passing were all season highs for Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. Rasul Douglas especially left Eagles fans longing for Jalen Mills, with too many negative plays to list – though his matador impression on 3rd-and-15 stands out.

Grade: C-

Special teams

Cameron Johnston: 2 PUNTS, 44.0 AVG, 2 IN20

The Eagles had six cracks at returns in this game – four from Clement, two from Tate – with no remarkable plays to show. As average as it gets.

Grade: C+

Coaching

Eagles’ record: 4-5

Not one of Doug Pederson’s or Jim Schwartz’s best performances. However, at some point you look at personnel. It’s not like this was a horrendously called game from start to finish. Players aren’t making plays, from Wentz on down to the many injury replacements on the field.

Grade: C