WITH the Eagles away on Bye Week, There will be no Four Things this week. Needing something to write about until next week, it was time to do another review of our division rivals. I said I’d do three. You remember the first one, and the final one will hit right after the regular season. This one here, this is the middle child.
So everyone wave hello to Jan, and lets dive in.
(That seemed weird.)
New York Giants: 1 – 7, 4th in the NFC East
The giants are ranked 29th in scoring (16.1ppg), and 29th in points allowed (25.9). They rank near the bottom of nearly every meaningful team statistic. In the last two games they’ve been outs scored 75 – 24, with one of those being a 51 – 17 loss to the Rams. Added note: Both of these games were at home.
Offensively, they still can’t run the ball. Considering the depletion of the receiving corps, the injury to C Weston Richburg, and the ineptitude of head coach Ben McAdoo, QB Eli Manning is practically performing miracles anytime that offense produces a point.
Defensively, the team has suspended CB’s Janoris Jenkins (Week 9), and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Week 6), as well as benching CB Eli Apple (Week 5), all for “conduct detrimental to the team”. If this were a great defensive team with great depth, this wouldn’t be an issue. The giant’s however, are anything but a great defensive team. They need all the help they can get. So why the coaching staff would try to discipline players at the expense of embarrassing the franchise in it’s own home, is beyond me.
There are clear indications of a dysfunctional coaching staff, locker room, and front office culture.
McAdoo’s throwing of players under the bus reached peak ridiculousness, when he (I guess) threatened(?) to bench Manning, after his team allowed 51 points in a game where Manning was hardly the problem. From here (and pretty much anywhere else), it looks as if the team has quit on the coach. That leaves the giants ownership with a question: Is Ben McAdoo worth replacing 53 guys?
Washington Redskins: 4 – 4, 3rd in the NFC East
Ranking 14th in scoring (22.1) is a solid, healthy position to hold. However, ranking 24th in points allowed (24.2), could be a problem. While that stat line would give the impression that Washington loses close games, the fact is they’ve won both of their close games (26 – 24 vs San Fran, and 17 – 14 vs Seattle). It’s all the games where they get man-handled that’s the real issue.
Offensively, it would appear that their plan of having a QB throw to a QB, isn’t working out as well as they thought it would. Thus, “WR” Terrell Pryor is now riding pine on Sundays (while probably wishing he’d stayed in Cleveland.) Thanks to RB Chris Thompson, the teams leader in rushing and receiving yards, QB Kirk Cousins doesn’t spend 30 minutes per game crying while curled in the fetal position, and wishing he was in Cleveland.
On defense, given that twice this year we hung 30 on Washington, I’m surprised by their ability to hold teams like the Rams and Seahawks, to ten points under their averages. Ranking-wise, they’re bottom third in points allowed, but middle of the road in yards allowed. There are no huge visible leaks, but there is clearly something that is holding this team back.
When a team starts the year 0-3 vs their division, you have to think that maybe a Wild Card appearance wouldn’t work in favor of the coming rebuild. Yes, I said rebuild. The Redskins are in a dangerous place. It’s a team that could possibly delude itself into thinking it’s a player or two away, when in fact it needs major renovation. Long-term, the last thing this team needs is to find itself in the playoffs via Wild Card. That could set them back for years. So of course I’ll be rooting for them to make it!
Dallas Cowboys: 5 – 3, 2nd in NFC East
The Cowboys are 4th in scoring (28.2), and 15th in points allowed (22.2). Prior to their Week 6 Bye, they were allowing 26.4 per game. Since the bye that number is just 15.3, which is dramatic drop. Speaking of trends over that period, their scoring has been on a decline from 40 points vs San Francsico, to 33 points vs Washington, to 28 vs Kansas City.
On offense, RB Ezekiel Elliott was suspended for 6
yes, 6 games, but that doesn’t mean the Cowboys won’t still be able to move the ball. QB Dak Prescott is the undisputed, second-best QB in the division, and he helms the 17th ranked passing offense in the league. Then again, who needs to be #1 in passing, when you have RB Ezeki- wait. (Sorry about that.) The fact is, that the Cowboys have the NFL’s #2 rushing attack due to their outstanding (but still overrated) offensive line, and RB Eze—oh crap. (Did it again.) Well there’s RB Alfred Morris, right? And he’s… I mean, he’ll get like… Yeah, so there’s him. They got him. Also that other guy. The one who’s been a healthy scratch every week so far. They got those guys, right? Hey remember WR Dez Bryant? I wonder what he’s doing these days.
On defense, Dallas has not allowed an opponent to reach 20 points since they came off their Bye. In a two week span they grabbed 9 sacks. They got five sacks against the (0-9) 49ers, and four sacks against the Redskins, who were only missing 60% of their starting offensive line,(LT Trent Williams, LG Brandon Scherff, and C Spencer Long). To be fair, they did hold Kansas City to just 17 and beat them in the process.
They loaded up the box, to take the run game away from a Chiefs team carried by it’s young RB. In the end, a game managing QB and an All-Pro TE weren’t enough to make up for a suspect group of WR’s. The team figures that averaging 28 points per game, will hide the fact that their leaky defense allows opponents to score 20+ per game. In the end, that shoddy style caught up with them.
(For any Cowboys fans who missed what I just did there, that was me holding up a mirror. We know how to beat you. It’s the same way you beat the Chiefs, and the same way we beat the hell out of the Broncos.)
So, that’s the state of our division rivals, as the Eagles head into our Week 10 Bye. The next time I do one of these will be at the close of the season. With a little bit of luck, we’ll be on a first round Bye, getting ready to hold home-field advantage through the Conference Championship. Don’t assume it, but put the vibe out there. Don’t make it a wish, make it an invitation. We are inviting the playoffs to Philadelphia.