Each week, we'll take a look at how the Eagles' division rivals fared the previous weekend (spoiler alert: GAME OVER!) and what they have upcoming. This week the Giants make about as much sense as Ben McAdoo’s barber, Washington saw its worse choke-job since George Dubya met a pretzel, and the Cowboys, well...I’m pretty sure you heard what happened to the Cowboys.
Here’s what happened this week in the NFC East:
New York Giants (2-8)
What Happened: The Giants can't even Process correctly. A week after being hilariously humiliated by the winless 49ers, Eli Manning and Company (or what remains of the Company) went ahead and beat the previously-playoff-bound Kansas City Chiefs in overtime, 12-9. Before you ask, yes, this one was about as much fun as that score leads on.
Tough loss for Andy Reid, whose Chiefs appear to be rotting faster than your neighbor's Halloween pumpkin (and the owners of both should probably think about making a change). This game featured more interceptions thrown by non-quarterbacks (two) than it featured touchdowns (one). Allegedly, the world’s least-deserving future Hall of Famer, Eli Manning, spent the pregame “firing up the troops,” which sounds about as believable as Donald Trump saying “I believe the women.” Seriously, the only individual I can imagine being less inspiring than Eli is the guy in the red jacket and mustache on the other sideline telling reporters he’s got to do a better job.
Despite the win, the Giants were mathematically eliminated from winning the NFC East on Sunday, which is about as shocking as the fact that Mike Lombardi can’t get an NFL front office to hire him. The realization that they've been officially knocked out before Turkey Day is funnier than JoJo blocking and flopping. Seriously, this Giants season is a lot like Charles Manson, in that I was pretty surprised to hear death didn’t officially arrive until this week. Who knew?
Positive Spin: Nothing. Seriously, there is nothing positive Giants fans should take from this victory. They didn’t even act spoiler against a legitimate rival (does any New Yorker get some emotional pleasure from a victory over Alex Smith?). There are cat videos on YouTube that can prove more productive. This was a complete and utter waste.
Roger Lewis Jr., an undrafted wide receiver only in the game because Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall, AND Sterling Shepard are out, made a ridiculous grab to put New York in field goal range to win it. This doesn’t turn him into the next coming of Victor Cruz, but hey, there’s not a lot of silver linings this deep down in the barrel.
Negative Spin: Everything that this team does from now till the end of the season should be focused on 2018. By beating the Chiefs, the Mara’s franchise is now back into 3rd on the 2018 NFL Draft Board. That may not seem like too big a deal, except when you consider the difference between the 2nd overall pick and the 3rd can mean the difference between, say, Carson Wentz or Joey Bosa (or even worse, Donovan McNabb vs. Akili Smith). The draft is about as predictable as what-issues-Alabama-voters-care-about, but ask yourself this; is a victory in November really worth it?
This is a franchise with a lot of tough questions to ponder going into the offseason. Winning a game in Week 11 isn’t some Earth-shattering shift, but it definitely doesn’t help in any fashion.
What’s Next: Tryptophan won’t be the only thing putting people to sleep this Thursday. The Giants head to the district to take on Washington.
What Happened: Imagine sitting down this Thanksgiving after spending the entire day slaving over a fantastic meal; full turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes with the little marshmallows in it, the real deal. Then, right before you’re about to dive into this incredibly delicious spread you’ve spent the past several hours pulling together, Drew Brees runs into your home, steals all your grub, and then on his way out, kicks all of your friends in the shins.
That’s essentially what happened to Kirk Cousins and his Washington squad on Sunday. Up fifteen points in New Orleans, the Washington D let Brees throw two touchdowns in the final minute, then gave up the game-winning field goal in OT to give the Saints their eighth consecutive victory and drop Dan Snyder’s squad to 4-6 on the year. Adding literal insult to injury, Jay Gruden’s crew had to put a number of players on injured reserve, including the electric Chris Thompson and the guy who is certainly NOT Alshon Jeffrey, Terrelle Pryor.
Pryor’s one season in D.C. ends with 20 catches and a touchdown. Please note that his numbers have been eclipsed by Jeffrey (whom the Iggles opted to sign instead) as well as former Washingtonian’s DeSean Jackson (who’s catching passes from Ryan Fitzpatrick) and Pierre Garcon (who’s been out since Week 8). My goodness, even Sam Hinkie made better free agent signings (looking at you, RoCo).
After the game, Cousins complained about an incorrectly-called intentional grounding penalty against him, which is justified but irrelevant (which, notably, is the same tagline for the new Justice League movie). When you blow a fifteen-point fourth quarter lead, there’s often a few issues more prevalent than the zebras.
Positive Spin: For 48 minutes, Washington beat down on a Super Bowl competitor with a Hall of Fame bound quarterback, which is comparable to saying for 99% of her swim, Chrissie Watkins had a blast.
Meanwhile, Cousins added more evidence into the ‘sign this guy to an extension’ folder, made even more impressive by the fact that he’s doing it with a bunch of no-names at the skill positions. The NFL-leading Philadelphia Eagles laid out a pretty clear blueprint on how to upgrade the weapons around a talented quarterback; if Washington’s front office can get their act together fast enough to do the same, the path back to relevancy shouldn’t be too windy for this franchise.
Negative Spin: This team is receding faster than LeBron’s hairline, and like The King’s fro, the owner seems happy to pump money into a quick rebuild. But don’t bet on it. Two years ago they won the division, a year later they just missed the playoffs, and this year they’re bolting towards the exit faster than that lazy coworker you hate. They’ve let a number of playmakers leave and many of the replacements have failed to impress (the ageless Vernon Davis notwithstanding). Considering this franchise’s history of being more disjointed than a season arc on AquaTeen Hunger Force, the chances of a bounce-back don’t seem too good for anybody (except for us Iggles fans, naturally)
What’s Next: If Washington has any chance of getting back into the Wild Card conversation, it’ll have to get a victory Thursday night at home against the Giants. That seems unlikely, so it’s probably best for Birds fans to pull for Big Blue on Thanksgiving, in an effort to negatively impact their draft status.
Dallas Cowboys (5-5)
What Happened: If you're reading this, you're either a masochist Cowboys fan (oxymoron alert) or you already know. Despite playing at home, despite playing with their backs against the wall, despite Cowboys owner Jerry Jones honoring Cowboys owner Jerry Jones at halftime, and despite said owner Jerry Jones promising that his team would be better, ‘dem Boys were completely and utterly out-classed at home in front of a God and a national audience on Sunday by the future NFC East Champions.
Plenty has been said about the victory, so no need for me to get into how the Cowboys D couldn’t stop anyone come the second half, or how Dak Prescott had the worst game of his career with four turnovers, or how Dallas is now on the outside looking in on the 2017 playoffs. And I won’t even get into how they’ve only scored one touchdown in the last eight quarters, or how they’ve been outscored by 48 points the last two games, or how their offense has come to a grinding halt ever since Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension finally came through. No need to mention any of that. Lets keep it on the hush.
But is it just me, or is Dez Bryant's heart just not in it anymore? It use to be painful watching him throw a temper tantrum worse than a small toddler deprived of a happy meal, but the fact that he wasn’t seen on the sideline berating some poor wide receivers coach arguably is enough to put him in the NFLs concussion protocol. Dez, like this squad as a whole, seems a shadow of his former self.
Meanwhile, Jones won't be suing the NFL after all, showing he has the same steel legal cajones as his President. It doesn’t matter if Sunday night was the turning point to send Dallas’ season spiraling into irrelevancy; the Jones/Goodell brouhaha is likely to dominate this team’s headlines for the remainder of the year, and I, for one, don’t have nearly enough popcorn.
Positive Spin: If you’re a Cowboys fan trying to put down the bottle this week, here’s what you need to grab onto; your squad was missing a Pro Bowl running back, a Pro Bowl offensive lineman, a Pro Bowl linebacker, AND a Pro-Bowl kicker. Despite it all, Big D was leading at halftime. Prescott, meanwhile, will presumably only get better, and therefore the gap between the Cowboys and the NFL-leading Philadelphia Eagles isn’t as wide as the 37-9 final score would lead one to believe.
Negative Spin: Every bit of that is bull. For starters, the Iggles were also missing a Pro Bowl running back, a Pro Bowl offensive lineman, a highly-rated linebacker, and their starting kicker. Shoot, the Birds had actually lost TWO kickers by the time this one hit the second quarter, and you can bet your Thanksgiving stuffing Birds fans wouldn’t have accepted that as an excuse had Doug Pederson’s squad been embarrassed Sunday night.
The Cowboys stink, for all the natural reasons we’re all very familiar with. But as currently constructed (and football-lord forgive me for typing this), they’re not a bad team. However, to suggest that they’re anywhere near being on the same level as this Eagles squad, healthy or not, is a clear indicator you’re (like Dez) probably suffering from symptoms of a concussion. Either that, or you sniff the same glue Skip Bayless uses. That guy’s a bigger joker than Mark Hamill.
What’s Next: The Cowboys face the Los Angeles Charges tomorrow on T-Day, then have a relatively easy schedule, facing New York, Washington, and Oakland. They could win all four and still lose this division, so don’t under-appreciate how big the Birds win Sunday night was. This year, there’s plenty for Iggles fans to be thankful for.
For me, I’m thankful the Cowboys owner hasn’t fired GM Jerry Jones yet.