With the first month of the 2021 season in the books, the race for the NFC East is beginning to take shape.
Three out of the four teams in the division came away victorious in Week 4, with the Cowboys starting to build a lead in the standings over the field. As we enter Week 5, this season may be all about chasing Dallas down for the division crown.
Here's something we learned from each team this past week.
Washington Football Team (2-2, 2nd)
As always, we start with the hometown team. Washington needed a win in Atlanta not only to get back on track from their blowout loss in Buffalo the week before, but to get another game in the win column before the schedule starts to get rough. None of Washington's next nine opponents have a losing record at the moment and the next two months will feature matchups against the Chiefs, Packers, Buccaneers, Panthers, Raiders and Cowboys.
Luckily, they have Terry McLaurin on their team, who went off for 123 yards and two touchdowns against the Falcons in Week 4. Taylor Heinicke had a bounce-back week as well with 290 yards and three touchdowns. However, the defense struggled to get off the field on third down yet again and couldn't do much to slow down a limited Atlanta offense.
This team isn't built to win with a struggling defense, so either Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio figure things out on that side of the ball, or the next eight weeks could get ugly.
Dallas Cowboys (3-1, 1st)
After a statement win over the Eagles in Week 3, Dallas continued to roll this week with a win over Sam Darnold and the undefeated Panthers at home. Dak Prescott was an efficient 14-for-22 on his passes for 188 yards and four touchdowns, Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard averaged roughly seven yards per carry on 30 combined attempts, and the defense turned Carolina over a few times to secure a 36-28 win that wasn't all that close.
With Prescott playing the best football of his career and the defense turning people over every week, not to mention the strong rushing attack, there's really not much more you could ask of this team. The Cowboys look like the best in the division by a wide margin and could have a say in who comes out of the NFC by the end of the season if they keep this up and stay healthy.
Philadelphia Eagles (1-3, T-3rd)
The good news? The Eagles' offense looked much better against the Chiefs than they did against Dallas last week. Jalen Hurts was solid minus a few bad misses, including overthrowing Zach Ertz in the endzone on a drive that ultimately ended in a field goal.
But here comes the bad news. The defense got gashed for four straight quarters for the second consecutive week. Nick Sirianni and the coaching staff misfired when they went for it on a 4th-and-3 but failed to get the play set up in time, causing a timeout. Thinking they were called for a delay of game, the Eagles sent out the field goal unit. They were not called for a delay of game and ultimately settled for three points they didn't want to settle for.
Then there's the bevy of dumb penalties this team continues to commit in big spots. Three touchdowns were taken off the board in this game due to penalties, and this was the most penalized team in the NFL entering Week 4. The Eagles don't have the talent to make up for these kinds of miscues, and it's hard to see this trend coming to an end any time soon with a young roster and inexperienced coaching staff.
New York Giants (1-3, T-3rd)
The Giants are on the board, folks. New York recorded its first win of the season this week by beating Sean Payton's Saints in overtime. New York hit a late field goal to tie it and got a walk-off touchdown run by Saquon Barkley to close things out on the road.
It was a good week for Daniel Jones as well. He completed 70% of his passes for 402 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, while Kenny Golladay finally shook loose for a breakout game (six receptions, 116 yards) and rookie Kadarius Toney pitched in with 78 yards on six catches as well.
Joe Judge still plays it way too conservative in these games and the jury is very much still out on Jason Garrett as a play-caller, but a win is a win. Considering their next six games are against the Cowboys, Rams, Panthers, Chiefs, Raiders and Bucs, the Giants probably aren't all that worried about how they get their wins.