NFC East Report, Week 8: Washington loses, Dallas loses Zeke, Giants are just losers

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NFC East Report, Week 8: Washington loses, Dallas loses Zeke, Giants are just losers

Each week, we'll take a look at how the Eagles' division rivals fared the previous weekend (spoiler alert: even the team that won, lost) and what they have upcoming. This week Dallas lost their best weapon for a month-and-a-half, Washington got stuck on repeat, and New York got embarrassed without even playing a game.

Here’s what happened this week in the NFC East:

New York Giants (1-6)

What Happened: Let’s start with the Giants, who were on their bye week, making it the most successful handful of days this franchise has had all season. Unless we’re counting the offseason, when General Manager Jerry Reese (who is 31-40 as GM over the past five years) signed 33-year old Brandon Marshall and expected that to turn them into a Super Bowl contender. Yeah, that was arguably a better set of days. This team gets more hype than the upcoming Justice League movie, which would make Odell Beckham this roster's Wonder Woman … the best part that we’re probably not going to get enough of.

Eli Manning spent his bye week declaring that in order for the Giants to play better, he’ll have to play better. That’s some John Madden level of analysis, right there. WHAM!! In other news, the sun will need to rise in order for night to become day, cars will need to start moving in order for traffic to dissipate, and I’ll need to buy more febreze if I want to continue incorporating 7-bean dip into my balanced breakfast.

Also this week, the Giants suspended Janoris Jenkins for “violating team rules,” and you get the feeling it wasn’t something like “failure to properly recycle.” The Giants' prized cornerback, who was famously a part of the Rams RG3-bounty that produced zero playoff wins, becomes the second Giants defender to defect against Ben McAdoo. Not a great look for the second year coach, and that’s the first time someone has used that phrase about McAdoo without referencing his hair.

Positive Spin: They’re only two games behind the Jets!

Seriously, the best thing that happened to the Giants this week was San Fran trading for Jimmy Garoppolo (former underling of Bill Belichick, not to be confused with George Papadopoulos, former underling of Donald Trump). This presumably takes the 49ers out of the 2018 NFL Draft QB Watch, which increases New York’s chances of finding the Eli Heir Apparent. Friendly reminder — the guy they drafted this year, Davis Webb, is currently sitting behind former Jets savior Geno Smith, which has got to feel like an IK Enemkpali fist to the face.

If the guy who will replace Jerry Reese next season is planning on taking a quarterback, then he got some good news at the trade deadline via New England.

Negative Spin: The Jenkins suspension is some seriously bad juju. DRC getting suspended was one thing; the return in the Kevin Kolb trade has quit on losing teams before, and his actions shouldn’t have been a huge shock or any sort of referendum against the coaching staff.

Jenkins' suspension feels different, and it seems to be a lot of smoke from a locker room on fire. Maybe McAdoo is fine and this falls on former Eagles assistant Steve Spagnuolo, who’s suppose to be in charge of the defense but hasn’t really had any continual success since 2007. It’s absolutely remarkable that the New York Giants, who love to stick out their chests and huff and puff about how PROUD and GLORIOUS and PROFESSIONALLY RUN the Mara House is, somehow have a more dysfunctional locker room than the Houston Texans, whose owner literally compared his players to prisoners. 

Seriously, the Giants are three losses away from their fourth losing season in five years. Calling them a well-run franchise is like Miller High Life being dubbed the Champagne of Beers. It’s an artificial slogan, not some statement about quality.

What’s Next: A game at home against the 5-2 Rams, so it looks like our playoff preparation has Iggles fans rooting for Eli this weekend. GO ELI! THROW IT TO THE WIDE RECEIVER WE’VE NEVER HEARD OF!


Washington (3-4)

What Happened: It was AMERICA’S GAME OF THE WEEK on FOX, which was essentially one long Samsung commercial (because apparently, drawing photos on my phone is the deal-breaker in choosing a mobile device. Cool!). For the second week in a row, Washington held the lead over a division rival and let is slip away, losing to the Cowboys 33-19.

The game turned like bad milk for Washington fans in the 2nd quarter, when a blocked field goal that would have given them a two-possession lead instead resulted in an 86-yard return and an eventual Ezekiel Elliott touchdown run. The game just seemed to slip away from the overmatched Washington crew from that point on, finally ending when Kirk Cousins couldn’t muster a final touchdown drive and instead threw an interception to Byron Jones like this was 2014 or something.

This franchise can’t do anything right. All we ask is one tiny little victory at home against their most hated rivals, and they can’t even do that. You’ve got a better chance of having a Sixers first-round pick playing a full season. Coincidentally or not, Markelle Fultz grew up in Maryland, so therefore, we’re blaming Jay Gruden for destroying his shooting form.

Oh, and Terrelle Pryor, the front office’s biggest signing this offseason, played just 16 snaps and caught as many passes as I did. And yet, I can’t get Dan Snyder to pay me $8 million. Maybe I need to switch agents. 

Positive Spin: Well … if Cousins continues to be good-not-great all year, maybe they can sign him to a reasonable contract? Like the Giants, the best thing that happened for Washington this week was the Jimmy Garoppolo trade, which (presumably) takes San Fran (coached by former Washington OC Kyle Shanahan) out of the market for overpaying Cousins. That’s one less team this front office will have to bid against.

Negative Spin: When the most positive take you can muster is about the quarterback situation for next season, you’re probably in a bad spot. And make no mistake, this team is in a bad spot; they’ve lost consecutive games to the front-runners of their division, their top free agency pick-up has disappeared, Jordan Reed is injured again, Trent Williams is playing on half a leg, and their upcoming schedule is as horrifying as being chased by a pack of hungry-looking clowns. This is a bad situation for even the more functional of franchises; expecting Washington to bounce back is like asking your puppy to guard your steak supply.

What’s Next: THINGS GET WORSE! After two humiliating defeats, the Washington Football Team has to travel to Seattle, THEN face the NFC North-leading Vikings, THEN face the NFC South-leading Saints. Oddsmakers in Vegas are expected to peg Snyder’s squad at 3-7 come Thanksgiving. You like that?


Dallas Cowboys (4-3)

What Happened: Yes yes yes, the Cowboys won, going on the road against a desperate divisional rival and finding a way to get a much-needed victory. They won with a strong running game, solid defense, and some special teams timely plays that turned the tables. Washington was on a short week, though, so don’t color me impressed. Also, they stink.

Dak Prescott lived up to his reputation as an Alex-Smith-like game-manager, going 14-for-22 and not turning the ball over. Just typing that sentence brought a yawn to my grill. Somewhere, Trent Dilfer is offering a slow-clap. 

The big story was Zeke, who (despite fumbling on his first play) ended the day with three touchdowns and 150 yards rushing. Of course, the bigger story was also Zeke, whose suspension was reinstated by a federal judge on Monday. An emergency appeal was denied on Tuesday, which means the Cowboys star running back will be out for the next six weeks, pending some Law & Order style twist that I can’t foresee because my understanding of the legal system is limited to what I’ve been taught by Dick Wolf. Dun-DUN!

Oh, and the most popular Halloween costume in Big D this year is a midnight green Jay Ajayi jersey, because for Cowboys fans and their 15th-ranked defense, that ish is downright terrifying. 

Positive Spin: With two games still to go against the Philadelphia Eagles (who have the best record on the planet), the Cowboys are just two-and-a-half behind the division leaders. The victory over Washington felt more like a statement come the second half, and the more experience and playing time this O-line and Dak get together, the better the results will presumably be. Sure, they’re not the team every news outlet is talking about (unless we’re discussing the social justice protests players are conducting, since Jerry Jones feels required to stick his beak into everything), but media attention in October doesn’t necessarily translate to postseason success. For proof of that, see the 2016 Cowboys. Or any other Cowboys team from the last twenty years.

Also, while he’s no Zeke, there are worse back-ups to be reliant on than Alfred Morris. The former Pro-Bowler (wait, really?) isn’t exactly Darnell Autry, and should be capable enough to catch fire on your fantasy football waiver wire.

Negative Spin: Prescott has never had to play a game without Zeke. Now, he has to go two-thirds of the remainder of the season without the guy. It’s pretty hard for anyone not named “Skip Bayless” to provide an explanation for how Prescott will somehow be better without his star running back. Just a friendly reminder that the most accomplished running back Wentz has ever played with is Ryan Mathews, who presumably got injured just from reading this sentence. 

What’s Next: A game at home against Big Andy and the Chiefs, a trip to Atlanta against a suddenly-desperate Falcons squad, and then the big one when the Wentz Wagon rolls into Jerry World. 

Super Bowl champs showed up to ESPYS in style including a Philly Special homage

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Super Bowl champs showed up to ESPYS in style including a Philly Special homage

The Super Bowl champs showed up to the ESPYS in style on Wednesday night out in Los Angeles.

Nick Foles may have taken home the hardware for best performance in a championship -- with a heck of a speech to boot -- but it was the Eagles secondary who won best dressed.

Or maybe just most outrageously baller. Tough to tell these days.

I mean, just look at what Rodney McLeod wore. Purple. No shirt.

The Green Goblin wasn't far behind. Personally, I liked Jalen Mills going with a vest that still showed off his tat.

And then there was Malcolm Jenkins adding a bit of class to the group.

But the sartorial flair that won the evening may have to go to former Eagle and current member of the Chicago Bears Trey Burton who kept the Philly Special close to his heart.

And shouts to Jake Elliott and his hat just because.

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Are 2018 Eagles better or worse at quarterback?

Are 2018 Eagles better or worse at quarterback?

The one area the Eagles made no major changes from last season is at quarterback. Carson Wentz returns from injury. Somewhat surprisingly, Nick Foles was retained and even signed a contract extension. Nate Sudfeld remains in the fold as well.

The cast may be the same, but with Foles returning to the bench as a Super Bowl MVP, will the Eagles be better or worse off in 2018?



When Foles took the reins last December, he had barely played or practiced since 2015, his hellish season with the Rams – and, initially, it showed. But after what the 29-year-old signal caller accomplished in the playoffs, does anybody believe Foles is lacking for confidence now? Anybody still wonder whether he’s comfortable running the Eagles’ offense?

Foles is better prepared to take over for Wentz or start Week 1 than he was this time a year ago. So, too, is Sudfeld, who will benefit from his first camp with the team after signing last September, as well as his first NFL game experience in Week 17 against the Cowboys. QB2 and QB3 are both in a better place now, which is remarkable, but true.


Greater sense of uncertainty

Until the trade deadline comes and goes in October, there’s always the possibility Foles is traded this year. Obviously, there would be some drop-off between the Super Bowl MVP and Sudfeld, a third-year player who’s thrown 23 career passes, should that come to pass.

For now, that’s not the case, but is something to keep an eye for awhile yet.

The same

Nick Foles

Despite everything that’s happened – the winning, the newfound notoriety, going back to the bench, a so-called quarterback controversy, trade murmurs – the one thing you can count on is Foles’ demeanor. He may have questioned himself on the football field at one point in his career, but he’s in a place now where he knows what he’s capable of and his value to the Eagles.

Foles also hasn’t changed much as a player since his historic, breakout campaign in 2013. As long as the offensive line can keep him upright, and he has talented weapons to distribute the ball to, this is somebody that can win you a lot of games in the NFL. There’s no longer any disputing that.

The unknown

Carson Wentz’s knee

Wentz has looked so darn impressive in videos and on the practice field, it’s easy to fall into the trap that his surgically repaired knee is fine, everything is fine. Despite raising the question here, he’s probably better prepared to overcome a torn ACL than some past Eagles quarterbacks who struggled with the recovery in the past – namely Sam Bradford and Donovan McNabb.

Still, more passers than not have come back and looked less than 100 percent in their first season removed from the injury. And many of them had more time to recover than Wentz, who only went down in November.

We don’t even know for sure if Wentz will be cleared to play Week 1. It seems likely he will be, but it’s far from definite. Until he’s playing in actual NFL games, and back to looking like the 2017, MVP-caliber version of himself, all of these concerns give folks some pause before assuming the Eagles would immediately be better off with Wentz under center.

Better or worse?

Fortunately, the determination doesn’t rest solely on Wentz here. A comfortable and confident Foles and the developing Sudfeld should give the Eagles a marginal lift at quarterback. And even after sharing a pile of concerns about Wentz, eventually, possibly sometime in 2018, he will be fine, making Wentz-like escapes and ice-in-his-veins third-down conversions. In fact, if Wentz Is miraculously fine for Week 1, he should still be improving heading into his third season.

Now that’s something BETTER to look forward to.

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