Like a beautifully thrown pass right into the hands of former first-round pick Nelson Agholor, our Eagles continue to plummet in the NFC East standings. All three of the Birds rivals won this weekend, the second time that’s occurred this year, virtually guaranteeing (if it hadn’t before) that Doug Pederson’s squads only chance at playing a 17th game will be via the Wild Card.
Considering the season as a whole was originally expected to be a slow transition from Sam Bradford to The Unknown, being in the NFC East basement really shouldn’t be too much of a shock. In fact, in the long term, we all may be better for it --- which is the same kind of long-term-optimism that gets fans saying things like “Well, the good news is, we now know what we have in Agholor.”
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Okay, fine, I’m done picking on Nelson. Seriously. I’ve dropped it.
Here’s what happened this week in the confusingly-dominant NFC East:
What Happened: For the first time since October 29th, 2006, Antonio Romo found himself watching the Dallas Cowboys and maybe, just maybe, it was as miserable for him as it was for the rest of us.
Ho-hum, yawn, snooze. The Cowboys won again behind impressive performances by Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot. Dak Man Jones threw another three TDs (two going to reinvented-wallflower Dez Bryant), while Elliot had “only” 97-yards on the ground as ‘dem Boys handedly defeated the NFLs best rushing defense, 27-17.
It’s a franchise-record winning streak for Dallas, which if you’re looking for a silver-lining, will make it even more heart-breaking for their fans when they inevitably lose. Assuming they ever lose again. Which it feels like they won’t. But they will. They have to. Right? RIGHT?!
What It Means: Dallas is now the best team in the NFL, Prescott is in the MVP discussion, and a dark cloud has fallen across the nation. This is the most impressive Dallas squad since Jerry Jones let Wade Phillips drive them to a 13-3 record back in 2007. And while it may be comforting to remember THAT team, despite having a bye and home-field advantage throughout the postseason, didn’t win a playoff game, it still stings to think they were defeated by the eventual Super Bowl winning Giants.
What’s Next: A home game against Washington (whom they already defeated once during this nine-game streak), followed by a trip North against Sammy Bradford and the Vikes. It’s the last time the Iggles former franchise quarterback will face an NFC East rival this season. Surely they have to flex it, right?
New York Giants
What Happened: The Giants have quietly been keeping pace with the smoking hot Cowboys, winning five in a row after they (eventually) put away the Chicago Bears by a score of 22-16.
The Giants let Chi-town hang around until a Landon Collins interception, and at some point I have to give credit where credit is due. The guy is an interception magnet. The Giants safety seems to have a pick every week, and has now seemingly locked himself into a trip to the Pro Bowl. In fact, Collins now has more interceptions than Nelson Agholor has catches. Is he kidding? I’M NOT EVEN SURE ANYMORE!
In all seriousness, Collins seems likely to be to Agholor what Earl Thomas was to Brandon Graham early in his career. Consider this your friendly reminder that Collins was taken thirteen picks AFTER Nellie, at a time when the Birds had just finished the year with Nate Allen playing at safety. Thank you, Chip Kelly.
Oh, Eli Manning threw for 227 yards (and a pair of scores), rookie wideout Sterling Shepard put another nail in the coffin of Victor Cruz’s Giants career, and the GMen had some semblance of a running game thanks to Rashard Jennings. All in all, a tidy (if uncomfortably-close) victory for New York.
What It Means: You want to stop Dallas? The Giants may be their biggest threat, not just in the NFC East, but potentially the NFC as a whole (if you ignore the Seattle team that just whupped the Birds on Sunday).
That being said, (and despite beating them in Week 1), the Giants just don’t seem to be on the same level as Dallas. They barely beat the Bears. Same with the Ravens and the Rams. Sure, you are what your record is, and the Giants record is 7-3. To complain about a 7-3 record is to complain about a few clouds on a bright and sunny day; it’s stupid and it makes you sound obnoxious. Go chew on a dry sponge.
With Eli behind center, sure, you always have a punchers-chance. But it’s hard to imagine any scenario where the Giants go up against Dallas as the favorite.
What’s Next: THE BROWNS?! Ugh, that must be nice.
But after that, it’s crunchtime for the Gmen; games against Pittsburgh, Dallas, and Detroit will likely decide whether Ben McAdoo and Co. are heading to the postseason or getting ready with the Eagles for the NFL draft.
What Happened: There have been few bigger disappointments in the NFL this season than the Green Bay Packers, who seem more-than-willing to fall flat on their faces whenever they come up against a team from the NFC East.
Jay Gruden’s Washington squad went off in the second half against Green Bay Sunday night, smashing the Eagles next opponent by a score of 42-24. The star was the franchise-tagged Kirk Cousins, who threw for 375 yards (and had a pair of WRs over 100 on the day) and three touchdowns without a single interception.
The Washington defense, meanwhile, held Aaron Rodgers relatively in-check for 351 yards and three scores, though a lot of it was once the game was out of hand. Rodgers was also the Packers leading rusher, however, which probably speaks more to the problem than it does a solution.
Dan Snyder’s squad is now 6-1-1 since starting the year off 0-2, and if the playoffs started today, would find themselves in the Wild Card spot alongside the Giants on account of that ugly looking tie.
What It Means: Trump isn’t the only loud guy with bad hair sticking around D.C. -- another strong performance by Cousins has the local media talking extension. And why shouldn’t they? Cousins has proven himself beyond-adequate, and for a franchise that has spent the past twenty years becoming synonymous with dysfunction, hey, that’s not so bad.
More importantly for the Eagles in the immediate, Green Bay is a desperate wounded animal. Ideally, the Eagles can send them into a death spiral on Monday night --- but more likely, Aaron Rodgers comes out ready to torch himself some Iggles secondary.
What’s Next: It’s Dallas Week for Washington, which means one bit of good news for Eagles fans -- next week, we won’t be talking about how all these teams went undefeated.