IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN KIDDIES!!!
GENERALLY when I talk football, it’s about my Eagles. I tend to keep mum about our rivals, unless we have a game coming up against one of them. Otherwise, I’ve reserved most talk about them for my Pre-Draft Preview, which drops each April. (Look for it).
In 2017 however, I decided to try something new, and give our fan base a running commentary of what the division is doing around us. This ensures that Eagles fans ARE actually the best informed, and most knowledgeable fans, in the NFL. (Provided you visit this site often.) These updates will come out three times during the season: After Weeks 3, 9, and 15.
This edition had to wait until the edge of Week 5, because the Eagles had a short week last week. That meant cramming Four Things Reviewed (Lions), Four Things (Packers) and Four Things Reviewed (Packers) into a Monday to Friday window. After which came the Eagles Quarterly Report Part 1. So there just wasn’t time (with a day job), to fit in researching three teams, and writing about them. But now it’s done.
And of course it’s worth the wait. I am always, worth the wait. So let’s hit it.
This is where things are today:
Washington Redskins: 0 – 4, 4th place in the NFC East
Which is worse, being 29th in scoring (16.5 ppg), or 31st in points allowed (29.5 ppg)? Unable to run (31st, 49.8 ypg) or unable to stop it (29th, 147.5 ypg)? Is it worse to be the prey, or the predator that takes 17 weeks to starve to death?
As I write this, QB Colt McCoy is getting set to start his first game of the 2019 season. This is after QB Case Keenum went 0 – 3, and then was yanked early in Week 4, for rookie QB Dwayne Haskins. Presumably to capture some of the “magic” that the giants had experienced benching starter a week earlier. The thing is, the giants rookie got a week to prep. Haskins came off the bench, cold. So yeah. They Redskin’d it up.
Haskins came out, and proceeded to prove everyone who’s ever doubted him, as being right on the money. His 17 attempt, 9 completion, 3 interception debut, had all the “magic” of a 16-wheeler, sliding on its side through an orphanage. Today the Redskins QB position sits in shambles. A perfect representation of their team as a whole.
New York giants: 2 – 2, 3rd place in the NFC East
Two weeks ago the giants were 0 – 2 behind QB Eli Manning, and the organization said “Fuck it! Put the kid in!” The kid, is rookie QB Danny Jones, whom we all mocked the giants for drafting in April. They gave him a week to prep. Eli got a week to play diplomat. It was a tasteful ceremony. Everybody hugged and had s’mores. The transition went smoothly. (Did you hear that Washington? Smoothly!)
The second Jones hit the field, BAM! the “Anybody But Eli” movement got an emotional lift. The giants (behind a stunning four touchdown debut from Jones), beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 32 – 31, after the Bucs missed a field goal that would have iced the game. A week later, Jones would look a lot like Eli, and get his struggle face on, in a game against the lowly Redskins.
This week they get a hungry Vikings team with a chip on their shoulder. It was different when the season was in the shitter, and the giants were just grooming a kid. Problem is, today 2 – 2 is just two games out of the division lead. Problem is, today there’s NFL tape on Jones. Problem is, today NYC will have expectations of and from the kid.
Throw the stats out the window. None of them mean diddly. The giants are a team in transition now. They are not who they were in Week 1. They’re trying to figure out who they are now. Unfortunately for the kid, there is no worse place, no less patient place on Earth, than New York for doing that.
Dallas Cowboys: 3 – 1, 1st in the NFC East
Had this report come out on time, this section would have been written very differently. Perhaps even deferentially. In light of that, I want to send a shout out to my friends, the New Orleans Saints… Good luck during the season, fellas. We’ll see you here. After our first round Bye.
Now to the Cowboys.
If your team has yet to win a game, the Cowboys are gonna smash that ass. They have hung no less than 31, that’s THIRTY ONE, points on every team they’ve beaten this year. If your team’s defense already can’t stop anyone, the Cowboys offense is a machine.
Until they finally beat someone who comes into a game against them, with a win, they’re basically the Tommy Gunn of the NFC.
Three weeks in, there was serious talk about QB Rayne Dakota “Dak” Prescott, being the NFL MVP at season’s end. He was completing 156% of his passes, while throwing 18 touchdowns per game, with a passer rating of “Where do you want it?! Where do you want it?!” Those numbers are of course an exaggeration, but you get the idea. Cowboys fans were in Greasy Hooker Heaven.
People were talking about how Prescott’s price tag was just going up and up. Everyone was saying that Cowboys team owner Jerry Jones, was foolish for not rushing to get Prescott signed to long-term deal.
All the rumblings of Prescott needing RB Ezekiel Elliott to carry the Cowboys to win games, seemed to quiet down. Except, the entire time Prescott was playing well, so was Elliott. Until Week 4 when Elliott didn’t have a great game vs the Saints, and the burden was shifted to Prescott, who also had WR Amari Cooper playing in that game.
Suddenly all the excuses were gone. Elliott was playing, but he was struggling. They had a #1 WR. They had a Hall of Fame TE, in Jason Witten. They had their entire starting offensive line. They had a bookend DE. Good Lord, they even had a healthy Sean Lee! It was Prescott’s moment. His time to shine!
Final score: 10 to 12.
And the Cowboys bandwagon…
The MVP talk has suddenly gone stone silent, and those rumblings about Prescott have now re-started. The conversations around the Cowboys are suddenly very different. People want to see what happens this week against Green Bay before they say anything else. They likely sense what I’ve been saying the whole time.
Lean in. Close. Closer than that dammit! It’s a screen, I can’t bite you!
Have you ever heard the term “overrated”? Inflated? Propped up? Paper Tiger? I’d been saying that for weeks now. No matter. A week ago, this section would have been written very differently. Perhaps even deferentially. But one game against a decent team, with a so-so back-up, and well…? Well here we are.
So that’s the state of our division rivals as your Eagles head into Week 5. The Eagles have their issues. There is absolutely no room for patting ourselves on the back. That said, this is still a wide open division. We’ll check back and see how things are shaking out after Week 9. (No short week for us then. That one will be on-time.)