Each week, we'll take a look at how the Eagles’ division rivals fared the previous weekend (SPOILER ALERT: the Eagles are the best) and what they have upcoming. In Week One of the NFL season, Washington’s offense was powered by a couple of 2012 Pro Bowlers, Dak Prescott looked like the same guy we knew (and loved) in 2017, and the Giants have a talented running back for the first time since Tiki Barber retired...which still wasn’t enough to keep Eli from throwing the game away.
Here’s what happened, and what’s happening, this week in the NFC East:
New York Giants (0-1)
ICYMI: At home in the swamps of Jersey, the Giants were defeated by the immortal Blake Bortles (WOW! 18 completions for 176 yards… a new Bortles record!) despite huge fantasy numbers from rookie Saquon Barkley (5.9 yards per run) and Odell Beckham Jr. (11 catches for 111 yards). The play of the game may have been the jaw-dropping interception Janoris Jenkins had in the first half. It wasn’t as jaw-dropping as, say, finding a dead body in your home, but it was impressive nonetheless.
The Giants had a chance to win it, down five with under two minutes to go, but that vaunted Shurmur Offense couldn’t get another score and New York ended up turning it over on downs. Technically they had another shot when the Jags went three-and-out, but punt returner Kaelin Clay fumbled the catch and the Jersey crowd went home crying. Him and Tre Sullivan can exchange notes.
Eli Manning, who beat the odds and returned as the Giants starting quarterback this year, went a yawn-inducing 23-of-37 with zero TDs and a back-breaking pick-six. For him, that’s essentially on par.
Positive Spin: Saquon Barkley, very good. Odell Beckham Jr., very good. Pat Shurmur’s haircut, well… maybe not the sort of thing that gets you on the cover of GQ, but compared to the Ben McAdoo that Giants fans were subjected to last season, this is a definite improvement.
And hey, the Jaguars were in the AFC Championship Game last year! The Pride of London is a legitimate franchise this season. This may be one of those “good losses” we pined for back when the Eagles didn’t win Super Bowls.
The Giants have some really exciting offensive playmakers. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s exactly what Cowboys fans were saying just 24-months ago.
Negative Spin: They lost to Blake Bortles. His last name sounds like the noise your shower drain makes when it’s clogged with too much hair. The awfulness of Bortles may be a bit exaggerated at this point, but losing to him still involves a snicker… especially when the Jags best offensive weapon, Leonard Fournette, limped off after only a handful of touches.
The problem for the Giants is that Bortles was the best quarterback on the field Sunday. This may come as a shock to some, but Eli Manning still isn’t very good. He hasn’t been for a very long time. His pick-six was the difference in this game, and for the record it was a stupid, stupid throw.
On top of it all, Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold looked pretty solid against the Lions Monday night. Sure, that sentence comes with a handful of qualifiers (it’s only one game, the Jets will ruin him, Matt Patricia suffers from Philly Special PTSD, etc). The fact remains that after Week One of the 2018 season, there’s a very visible path to a future where we can all say “The Giants are wasting the best offensive skill players they’ve ever had because they ran-it-back with Eli Manning rather than invest in the young stud quarterback now employed by the Jets.” And that’s a future I want to live in.
Oh, and Ereck Flowers is still getting play. Has there not been enough evidence to shut this down already?
What’s Next: Lucky for the Giants, they now get to face off against an even worse quarterback (arguably). Week 2 features a trip down to Big D against the hated Dallas Cowboys, guaranteeing that one of the Iggles rivals will still be winless come Carson Wentz’ return in Week 3.
More fun this week in the NFC East: