New York Giants (2-1)
Washington Redskins - 29
New York Giants - 27
Next: @ Minnesota Vikings
This was a contest that the Giants should have won rather handily considering the relative difference in the directions of the two combatants. Big Blue was flying high on the wings of two consecutive wins while the 'hog snout wearing bunch' had plummeted to 0-2 to start the season. The saying 'any given Sunday' held true and Washington handed New York its first loss of the season on their home turf. At first glance it is just one loss, but the timing could not have been worse for the G-Men; the team now heads to the mid-west for consecutive games against the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers. The odds are strong that the once undefeated co-division leaders could fall under .500 before they return to MetLife Stadium.
The team will have to regroup to prove that this is not another edition of the same old song and dance that has plagued New York the past couple of seasons.
"Just get back to work and work hard and stay focused. It is the National Football League, so you are going to have weeks like that. But it is just all about how the guys respond and take it to next week's game, which is what is pretty cool about the NFL - you always have the following week to prove yourself, especially early on in the year. We have some pretty good football players and some pretty good coaches, and I think that everyone is doing a good job of refocusing on the task at hand." - DT Damon Harrison
The Vikings might be led by Sam Bradford at quarterback, but he will have the benefit of working against a Giants secondary that has suddenly found itself depleted. They also enter the contest with serious injuries at running back as well. The situation will make a tough road game even tougher. The one thing that might work out in their favor is that they play on Monday night, so they do have an extra day to get healthy.
Sometimes it is good to be the first person to accomplish a feat; and then there is Weston Richburg. A new NFL rule states that any player who is flagged twice in a game for unsportsmanlike conduct will be ejected from the game. Enter the Giants starting center. Richburg's mouth got the better of him last Sunday.
First he was flagged for arguing a holding call, and then he tapped into his inner Odell Beckham, Jr. and ran his mouth at Josh Norman. It was the comments directed at the Washington CB that ultimately made his wallet lighter and arranged for an early shower. At least the veteran lineman owned his mistake after the game.
"I let my teammates down. I have to be a presence in there and be a leader, and I let my team down." - Weston Richburg
Washington Redskins (1-2)
Washington Redskins - 29
New York Giants - 27
Next : Cleveland Browns
Despite the title of this piece I will spare you the cliche of Tom Cruise demanding Jack Nicholson answer a certain question. Let's just move on to the football.
Heading into Sunday's game against the visiting Cleveland Browns, the Redskins (1-2) rank 31st out of 32 teams in turning red-zone possessions into touchdowns, going just 3 for 14 so far — a success rate of 21 percent.
That includes an 0-for-4 showing last week during what Washington managed to turn into a 29-27 victory over the NFC East rival New York Giants.
You are not going to win many football games in this or any league if you cannot convert in the red zone. That being said, Washington does have an opportunity this weekend to improve on their standing as they host the Cleveland Browns.
One of the biggest challenges that the Redskins have faced is that teams are now double teaming tight end Jordan Reed when the offense gets close to paydirt. With a seemingly non-existent run game there has been little to force defenses to shy away from loading up to stop the player who was the ace in the hole for Washington last year. Until they prove that they can still pound the rock, it is not likely to get much better for Jay Gruden's team.
Josh Doctson was brought in to give quarterback Kirk Cousins an added downfield weapon and make the Washington offense more explosive. Thus far he has not materialized into the player expected for the Redskins. Through two games he has only contributed one reception and was held out of the action against New York last week due to an ongoing Achilles issue.
"We keep thinking he's getting better, and he keeps teasing us running out there, making a great catch and looking good, and then the next day he gets sore." - Jay Gruden
The Skins are trying all options to get their first-round selection to be a contributing part of the offense, but it now seems they are going to have to rest him in hopes that his health improves.
The New York Giants spent a lot of cash in revitalizing their defense over the off season, but it was the Redskins defense that stepped up and won the game on Sunday. Young defenders like Su’a Cravens and Quinton Dunbar are strating to show that they belong in the league, while some veterans are also rounding into shape. Washington still has issues along the front seven, but they are starting to show a 4-2 front with more frequency and it has helped to shore up some shortcomings that stood out in the first couple weeks of the season.
Philadelphia Eagles (3-0)
Pittsburgh Steelers - 3
Philadelphia Eagles - 34
Carson Wentz is the Eagles big name rookie, and deservedly so. The first-round selection is proving to be all that many of us suggested that he would be. Fifth-round pick Wendell Smallwood deserves a little attention himself. The former West Virginia running back is far exceeding the expectations normally set for a fifth-round player. It took a few weeks of regular season action for Smallwood to find a rhythm, but it is beginning to look like the Eagles also have a rookie backfield tandem to contend with.
"He's a big, powerful guy. He's a downhill guy. He's a one-cut runner. He did a great job for us. To get first downs, to be smart about the end of the game, (and) to get the first down and stay in bounds as a rookie is tremendous." - Doug Pederson
The rookie back has earned more playing time for himself behind Wentz, and if he can continue to eat up chunks of yardage it will help make Wentz that much more effective in going to the air.
Each week McManus and former NFL DB Matt Bowen break down a play and explain what is going on from Bowen's perspective. If is a feature that I find fascinating and look for each week because it betters my bank of football knowledge. It also give us a look inside how coach Doug Pederson thinks.
This week they examine a play within the red zone that turned a short five-yard route into a touchdown.
When you are in a slump the bye week cannot come soon enough, but when you are on a hot streak like Philly is right now you want to keep on rolling for as long as it will last. They will not get the opportunity this week. Philadelphia, along with the Green Bay Packers, have a bye week as the season reaches the quarter pole.
It's rough for both franchises, but especially for Philadelphia, the surprise team of 2016 that's out to a 3-0 start with a momentum that could only be stopped by the schedule-maker's forced vacation. It's too early for that. Philadelphia, in the midst of its hottest streak since the days of Donovan McNabb, one day after surprising the league and destroying the Pittsburgh Steelers, now won't play until Oct. 9. There will be teams that have played five games while Philly (and Green Bay) will have played three.
Knowing the love that Dallas fans have for their counterparts, I am sure a loss of momentum leaves you heartbroken. We may jest, but with a young quarterback leading the squad, this bye could not have come at a worse time for the Eagles. They are one of a handful of teams to still feature a perfect record. The departure from the schedule could impact the team over the next few weeks, and Coach Pederson is going to have to be careful with how he manages things until the Eagles again take the field.