Week 9 NFC East Recap: Eagles Have Nowhere to Go But Up

Welp, this has been a disaster so far. The Philadelphia Eagles, always the equal opportunists, have now lost to every one of their NFC East rivals and find themselves rightfully in the basement of their own division. 

Sure, this was suppose to be a rebuilding year. And sure, they lost each divisional game by a touchdown or less. And sure, it’s safe to optimistically assume this team will only be stronger in the future as a result of these gut-wrenching defeats.

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Which is like telling someone with food poisoning “hey, I know it feels like you’re depositing every single one of your internal organs into the bottom of your toilet right now, but one day, you’ll be able to eat sushi again!”

You are what your record says you are. And right now, the Eagles record has them at 0-3 in the NFC East. And that, no matter how you spin it, feels like a bee-sting to the eardrum.

New York Giants

What Happened: Big Blue’s $200 million defense stepped up big time against their divisional rivals, forcing two interceptions in the first quarter and holding on strong during the final drive to protect a 28-23 victory.

The big difference, as we all witnessed, was that Eli Manning’s offense was able to capitalize on Iggles mistakes, while the Birds weren’t able to do the same. The GMen put touchdowns on the board following each of Carson Wentz’s 1st quarter interceptions. The Birds, as we’re all too well aware, went into the redzone on three separate occasions and came away with zero points. 

The fact that the Giants even had to bite their nails on this one, really, is a testament to the kind of flawed squad they are.

Most notable for New York long-term was the injury to offensive lineman Justin Pugh, which will have him miss a few games but is not expected to be season-ending. Victor Cruz, meanwhile, will have an MRI on his ankle this week, though his loss wouldn’t be as devastating due to the development of rookie Sterling Shepard (who, btw, has more catches on the season than Nelson Agholor had his ENTIRE rookie year).

What It Means: Last week the Eagles lost a game to a team that was probably better than them. The New York Giants aren’t better than them. Just because “Deadpool” made more money than “The Godfather” doesn’t make Ryan Reynolds the millennial Marlon Brando. Play each other ten times, the Giants probably win three… four, tops.

Like the Eagles (and Washington, for that matter), this Giants team has enough talent to beat anyone. But they don’t, because they’re flawed, and those flaws are the kind of warts that drive a fanbase crazy.

In order to make something of significance happen this season, the Giants need to start getting something from their running game (the 54 rushing yards vs. Philly was actually their best in a month) and have their D-line put some pressure on the opposing quarterback. Improve in those areas, and this team can be an annoyance for a Wild Card Spot.

Fail to improve, and this franchise will have wasted another year of Manning. 

What’s Next: A lot of orange! The Giants get a home game against the Bengals, then the Bears, and then go to visit the currently-winless Browns. If the GMen are going to go on a run, now would be the time. 

Washington

What Happened: Washington was on their bye week, which was enough time for Pro Bowl offensive lineman Trent Williams to get suspended for breaking the NFLs substance abuse policy. He’s suspended for four games, or six less than Eagles tackle Lane Johnson. And like Johnson, Williams is claiming the suspension is due to procedural nonsense and is no fault of his own. It should also be noted, Johnson and Williams both believe global warming is a hoax, that Stevie Wonder isn’t blind, and that the Samsung Galaxy Note was actually the CIA’s way of testing for human-mutant development of flame-retardation, a la Pyro from the X-Men.

There’s plenty of juicy storylines in DC: Josh Norman said he’d stay aggressive despite leading the league in penalties, the running back by committee is driving fantasy owners crazy, and the franchise’s team name is being used as a tool to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN… all things considered, it’s actually been a pretty drama-free season so far for the franchise made famous by suing old ladies.

Oh, and franchise-QB Kirk Cousins got Lasik. You can make up your own punchline for that one.

What It Means: You can talk yourself into feeling pretty good right now if you’re a Washington fan. The Eagles seem to be floundering, the Giants are clearly flawed, and your team is in a similar position to what they were last season, where a hot streak at the right moment could project them into the postseason.

And sure, if Cousins gets hot (or if Jay Gruden relies more heavily on his running game), this offense could be more productive. However the loss of Williams, arguably the team’s best player, is going to hurt. 

Most notably, the NFC East has a clear favorite this time around, unlike last season when Washington ROSE FROM THE ASHES to an EARTH-ALTERING 9-7 record that earned them the divisional crown. Like the Giants, Washington could go on a run and earn a Wild Card, but that’s about as optimistic as their fans should be getting.

What’s Next: The Vikings, the Packers, and then the Cowboys. Here’s a quandary for you; with a first-round pick in the balance and the division all but lost, should Eagles fans be rooting for Washington against Sam Bradford and Minnesota this weekend?

Dallas Cowboys

What Happened: Oh, they BEAT THE BROWNS!! Stop the presses, everyone! THE DALLAS COWBOYS BEAT THE BROWNS. Oh, and IN CLEVELAND! What an impressive feat. I can’t wait to pre-order the documentary. Maybe it’ll be narrated by Robert Loggia.

In all seriousness, the Browns took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter of this game and like a bored college student who just got HBOGo, I began to dream! Alas, as every lifelong Eagles fan is too well aware, dreaming is as futile as arguing with internet trolls or asking the guy in the apartment above you to stop moving furniture at two o’clock in the morning. It just won’t happen.

Dak Prescott, whom I maintain will not be as good as Carson Wentz in the long-run, shut me up with three touchdown passes, and rookie-of-the-year front-runner Ezekiel Elliott had ‘only’ 96 yards and a pair of scores.

But hey, Dez Bryant only had one catch! So….. there’s that!

What It Means:

WARNING: If you are pregnant or suffer from a weak constitution, the Surgeon General strongly advises avoiding the following section.

The Cowboys are gonna win the NFC East.

I mean, hey, they may not. Stranger things have happened, and with a rookie quarterback at the helm, there’s always a possibility of a total and utter collapse. And there’s still a chance ‘dem Boys go back to Tony Romo, who is synonymous with late-season choke-jobs. If Jerry Jones and Co. do end up going back to Romo, by the way, put me down for a one-and-done postseason, no matter who they’re playing.

However, in all likelihood, this Cowboys team is going to the playoffs. Even if an NFC East rival is able to catch them (and right now, the closest team is the Giants, who did hand Dallas their only loss this season), the mediocre state of the NFC as a whole would likely give Prescott’s squad a Wild Card spot, at the least.

Which, despite what you may hear this week from your local politicians, is actually the biggest threat to our Republic currently.

What’s Next: A trip to Pittsburgh, which one can only hope slows down this team’s momentum. The date to circle is Dec. 11th, five weeks from now, when the Cowboys go up to New Jersey to face the Giants.

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