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Keeping an Eye on the Other Beasts in the East

Only Washington's disappointing (disappointing for them-he, he) loss to Detroit spoiled a dominating week for the NFC East teams. The Eagles, Giants, and Cowboys all won their Week 3 games by two touchdowns or more.

This week the Eagles are on a bye, while the Giants and the Cowboys hit the road against AFC West opponents. The Redskins return home to try and regroup. At 1-2, they are two games behind the unbeaten Giants and a game behind both the Cowboys and Eagles - each with two wins a piece.

More Beasts in the East after the jump.

 

Philadelphia Eagles (2-1)

Last game: 34-14 Home Win vs. Kansas City

Next up: Bye

The bye week comes at a good time for the Eagles. Starting QB Donovan McNabb (ribs) and RB Brian Westbrook (ankle) both sat out of last week's game, while WR DeSean Jackson (groin) played through his injury.

Jackson still turned out a big game, catching six passes for 149 yards with a score. He also won the NFC's Special Teams Player of the Month award.

Jackson nabbed special teams honors thanks to a 22.2-yard punt-return average, including an 85-yard punt return for a touchdown, which helped the Eagles go 2-1 in the month. In addition, he had 12 catches for 259 yards and two scores, as well as five carries for 48 yards. Jackson recorded touchdowns of 85, 71 and 64 yards and became the first player in NFL history to record a 60-plus- yard touchdown in each of the first three games of the season. In his second year out of California, Jackson took his first monthly award.

In place of McNabb, QB Kevin Kolb grabbed himself the NFC's Offensive Player of the Week honors.

In last week's 34-14 win over Kansas City, Kolb became the first quarterback in NFL history to pass for 300 yards in each of his first two career starts. Against the Chiefs, he completed 24-of-34 passes for 327 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Here are the highlights of Philly's win over KC.

Washington Redskins (1-2)

Last game: 14-19 Loss @ Detroit

Next up: Home vs. Tampa Bay (0-3)

Washington will try to switch things up a little this week by replacing SS Chris Horton with Reed Doughty, says Redskins DC Greg Blache.

"Reed's actually played better the last couple of weeks," Blache said. "And Chris has struggled a little bit. He had a play last week with bad eyes; we got a big interference call. He had an incident the week before where it was not a good fit. And it's not that we're down on him, but the fact that you have a guy in Reed that's so close to him, gives him an opportunity, gives Chris a chance to catch his breath, refocus and come back strong."

Blache blames himself for the team's defensive struggles.

With a good deal of criticism heaped on the offense -- which has scored five touchdowns in three games and has been miserable inside the 10-yard line -- Blache said he felt like he has to take responsibility for the struggles of a unit that is supposed to be the Redskins' strength.

"Because I'm the leader, and quite honestly, if the calls aren't real good, that's my fault," Blache said. "If the players don't play with detail, that's my fault, because it all comes back to coaching. If we didn't have talent, then you'd say, 'Well, there's a talent issue.' We have talent. But in our league, the most talented teams don't always win. The teams that play the best win."

MLB London Fletcher says the players just aren't executing.

Earlier this week, Fletcher provided some perspective on the Redskins' performance in saying the organization hasn't a great season in a long, long time. As for this season and the problems on defense, "if a call is made defensively, let's go out and execute that call," Fletcher said. "You look at the film, we're not executing our calls. It's as simple as that."

"So I don't know about identity. If the call is made and you ain't executing, the identity is you ain't executing the call. Let's just get back to doing that."

On offense, Clinton Portis says he is due for a breakout game.

"It's only a matter of time before I have a 200-yard game," Portis said. "It's only a matter of time before I have a 150-yard game. It's only a matter of time before I get two or three touchdowns. It's just the fact, when's it coming? I know it's coming. But when?"

With an ineffective rushing attack through three games, the Redskins began installing their game plan for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday, taking the practice field without their starting backfield. Nursing a calf contusion, Portis was present but wasn't wearing pads and wasn't participating. Fullback Mike Sellers sat out with bruised quadriceps.

Against the Bucs this weekend, Portis should be able to bring back the Redskins' ground game.

Washington is averaging 91.7 rushing yards per game; Tampa Bay is allowing more than twice that. In fact, only one team in the NFL, Houston, has been worse than the Bucs against the run thus far. Last week against the Giants, Tampa Bay's defense allowed 226 rushing yards. Ahmad Bradshaw had 104 yards and Brandon Jacobs finished with 92. After the Cowboys ran for 118 yards in the season-opener against the Bucs, the Bills totaled 218 yards on the ground in Week 2, including 163 yards from Fred Jackson.

Aqib Talib vs. Santana Moss should be a key matchup to watch in this game.

Talib, the 20th overall choice of the 2008 NFL Draft, was the highest pick the Bucs have ever used on a cornerback. He starts at left corner and has very good ball skills. It's hard to throw over him because of his height. Talib had four interceptions in 2008. He likes to talk trash to opposing players. If Tampa is to win, Talib needs to back up the talk and hold Moss in check. Moss is coming off his best game of the season last week -- 10 catches for 178 yards and one TD vs. Detroit. He presents a tough matchup for teams because of his speed and ability to catch all types of passes.

Here is NFL.com's Bucs @ Redskins video preview.

New York Giants (3-0)

Last game: 24-0 Win @ Tampa Bay

Next up: @ Kansas City (0-3)

The Giants finish up their three-game road stretch this week against the winless Chiefs. Their offense will meet a K.C. defense that gives up an average of 362.3 yards and 28.3 points per game.

RB Brandon Jacobs will look to shutdown the recent criticism that he "tiptoes" to the line.

[A]fter Sunday’s win against the Buccaneers, during which the FOX broadcast team repeatedly critiqued Jacobs for "tiptoeing" and not running downhill, he’s heard about it all week. "I don’t care about analysts," Jacobs told reporters in the locker room Thursday. "They are analysts. They are going to say what they’ve got to say. I am here, we are 3-0, and that’s all I am focusing on."

Jacobs particularly did not want to focus on Tony Siragusa, who made the bulk of the tiptoeing comments throughout the broadcast. Later, he said if Siragusa approached him during pre-game warm-ups, Jacobs would "grab a hold of my ego and talk to him. It’s a mirage, but I’ll talk to him."

Ahmad Bradshaw (ankle) has missed practice time this week, but expects to play.

"I ran a toss play and ended up getting it fell on the wrong way," the Giants' running back said of the play that temporarily knocked him out of Sunday's victory over the Buccaneers. "It was a high ankle sprain ... and it just lingers." Bradshaw, who played through the pain of the injury on his way to 104 yards on the ground against Tampa, said he should be ready for the Chiefs this coming weekend.

"We fully expect that he'll be able to go, to play in the game," coach Tom Coughlin said. "But right now they are treating it with a boot and lots of extra time in the training room."

Also sitting out of practice this week were DT Justin Tuck (shoulder), DE Chris Canty, and RB Danny Ware. RT Kareem McKenzie (knee) should be ready to go against the Chiefs.

The only player listed as injured for the Chiefs is WR Dwayne Bowe (hamstring), who was limited in practice this week. Here is the rest of the injury report for the Giants.

For the Chiefs to even sniff at pulling off an upset, their offensive line has to play much, much better than it has.

In the debacle at Philadelphia, the Chiefs' line gave up three sacks and contributed heavily to the team's 10 penalties. Overall in three games, Chiefs quarterbacks have been sacked eight times, one of the biggest totals in the league. That's a scary stat considering the fast and physical defense the Giants will present on Sunday.

The problems have not been confined to the unsettled right side. Left tackle Branden Albert, after a terrific rookie year, has been inconsistent. He drew a holding call last week and has been beaten for two sacks.

Here is NFL.com's preview video for the Giants @ Chiefs.