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NFC East: Week 2 Looks Much Better For The Division

It is time once again for us to take a deeper look at what is going on around the rest of the NFC East.

Kirk Cousins practicing Eli-face
Kirk Cousins practicing Eli-face
Scott Cunningham

New York Giants (0-2)

Arizona Cardinals 25
New York Giants 14
  • This past week the Giants were gifted a winnable opportunity by the football goods but in a manner all to familiar to Dallas Cowboys fans, they managed to fumble it away. Mistakes cost New York the opportunity to win the game. Our SBNation colleague Ed Valentine at Big Blue View summed it up for Giants fans everywhere before he reeled of a list of miscues that left fans of the other blue team frustrated.

The New York Giants proved to be their own worst enemy on Sunday, turning a winnable game against the Arizona Cardinals and backup quarterback Drew Stanton into a 25-14 loss that leaves them at 0-2 to start the 2014 season.

For three quarters they actually did seem to make progress. Embattled Eli Manning completed 13 of his first 15 passes on his way to a 277-yard, two-TD afternoon that proved that Ben McAdoo's new system wasn't the problem.

  • On a down note, it was a tough week for the Giants on the injury front. Cornerback Walter Thurmond (chest) and wide receiver Jerrel Jernigan (foot) were both placed on season ending IR. Linebacker Jon Beason also re-injured the foot that caused him to miss all of training camp. The team is hopeful that the middle linebacker will be able to return this season.
  • It looks like there is a chance that the Giants #1 draft pick, Odell Beckham, Jr., will finally see action this week. For the first time since the preseason began, Beckham has not been ruled out. So far he has been the New York version of Matt Johnson, and yes it is hamstring issues that he is dealing with.

The great game-changer for the Giants offense stands an unimposing 5-11, and he's been so frail to start his career that he couldn't even survive a single full practice during training camp and the preseason.

  • Next up on the slate for Tom Coughlin's beleaguered club is a date with the 2-0 Houston Texans at Met-Life Stadium.

Washington Redskins (1-1)

Jacksonville Jaguars 10

Washington Redskins 41

  • The win at FedEx Field proved to be a costly one for Jay Gruden and the Redskins. Former 2012 first (and second plus 2013 & 2014 first round) draft pick Robert Griffin, III was lost to a dislocated ankle. This is the second serious leg injury of Griffin's short career. The Redskins starting QB will spend ten days in a cast and then be re-evaluated by team doctors.

On Monday, Gruden said he does not have a timeline for Griffin's possible return this season and that the Redskins may bring in another quarterback while Griffin rehabs the ankle.

  • Speaking of Coach Gruden, the former Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator is comparing his back-up turned starting quarterback to his former starter in Cincy, Andy Dalton. Gruden thinks that Cousins can manage the Skins offense and produce provided that he works within the game plan that the Washington offensive coaches provide him.

"He is a very similar guy to Andy. They both wear rubber rings on their ring finger, you know. They're drop-back quarterbacks and they're both very good, competitive, smart players. But Andy's done it. Andy's proven it. He's won.

"We don't expect Kirk to go out and win the MVP next week or win a Super Bowl to prove he's an upper-echelon quarterback right away. We do expect him to produce and play within the offense and not make mistakes and do what he's supposed to do. We expect him to be effective." - Jay Gruden

  • Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and the defense are showing some serious signs of improvement. That has been attributed to Gruden letting his subordinate run his own scheme, and the players are responding to their new found freedom to play to their abilities rather than Mike Shanahan's dictates. The former coach demanded that defensive linemen stay engaged with offensive linemen rather than playing aggressive football. Under the new regime things have changed.

"When you let your [defensive] linemen get up the field, it causes the [offensive] linemen to be so focused on trying to stop our guys. They're so worried about trying to stop them from making tackles for losses, they're not even getting up to us [Washington's inside linebackers]. We're able to follow the running back. The lanes . . . they're just a lot more open now." - Linebacker Perry Riley, Jr.

  • Next up for Washington will be the first NFC East contest of the young season. They will mak the short trip to Lincoln Financial Field to visit the Philadelphia Eagles.

Philadelphia Eagles (2-0)

Philadelphia Eagles 30
Indianapolis Colts 27
  • Nick Foles, the overly-hyped reserve turned starter that guided Chip Kelly's high flying offense last season is not looking so hot this season. Yes he is 2-0 this season, but his performance has been up and down. Around Philly there is some (partially justified) criticism that receivers are getting open but the passer is not finding them, but Foles struggles go deeper. He is struggling in his execution as well. (I am certain that many Cowboys fans would volunteer to assist an Eagle with his execution.)

The biggest question/concern at the moment is the play of QB Nick Foles. While his stat line doesn't look horrendously bad, there is definitely something not right with Nick. He looked more comfortable in the pocket in week 2 and did a better job of feeling the pressure and getting the ball out quicker. However his accuracy continues to be off most notably on crossing routes and passes out wide.

  • One of the keys to the Eagles comeback on Monday night was their running back, you know the guy I mean; what's his name?  Oh yeah, Darren Sproles. The former New Orleans Saints runner has picked up the slack while his colleagues in the Philly backfield have been struggling.

Sproles was the primary offensive weapon in the Eagles' last-second, 30-27 win over the Indianapolis Colts. His 152 receiving yards and 203 all-purpose yards helped erase another slow start and some inconsistent play from McCoy and quarterback Nick Foles.

  • With the loss of DeSean Jackson and the emergence of Zach Ertz plus the addition of the above mentioned Sproles, the Philly wideouts are becoming less and less of a factor in the Eagles offense. Coach Kelly is on record as saying that he does not care where the team gets its productivity, but others worry that if the team doesn't start getting some help from outside, then the high-powered Eagle attack is going to find itself grounded when facing better defenses.
  • Former Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson will make his first trip home this weekend as the Washington Redskins pay a social call on his former teammates.

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