Week four has come and gone! Each week we learn more and more about each team that makes up one of the most interesting divisions in all of football. The Eagles pulled out a close road victory in L.A., but every other NFC East team fell in week number four.
The Cowboys fell in disappointing fashion to the Los Angeles Rams, the Giants have yet to get themselves in the win-column, and the Redskins came up short on the road in the closing moments against the Chiefs. Through four weeks, there have been no shortage of storylines surrounding the NFC BEast.
Who is the best team in the division?
New York Giants (0-4)
Last Week: L 23-25 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Next Week: vs. Los Angeles Chargers (0-4)
Yeesh. It’s been a rough season for a team that had high hopes heading into the 2017 season. The Giants added Brandon Marshall in free agency, Evan Engram in the first-round of the draft, and brought back nearly everybody from last year’s 10-win squad; however, sub-par quarterback play behind perhaps the league’s worst offensive line has spelled doom for Ben McAdoo’s team. Even the mighty defense has shown its flaws over the first four weeks of the season.
After dropping the season opener to the Cowboys, a Monday Night game at home versus the Lions, and a heartbreaker to the Eagles, the Giants had a golden opportunity of picking up win number one and avoiding a disastrous 0-4 start. However, Jameis Winston and company had different ideas; they didn’t want to be the team to give New York their first W of the season.
The game in Tampa was similar to last week’s New York-Philly game — as soon as you thought Tampa was about to pull away, the Giants came back and took the lead late in the second half. But, in both weeks, the comeback effort fell short.
Winston and the Buccaneers jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead when Mike Evans reached the end zone from six-yards out in the first quarter. Winston later hit rookie tight end O.J. Howard for a big 58-yard touchdown towards the end of the opening quarter. After the missed PAT, the Bucs held a 13-point advantage early.
The Giants wouldn’t go away, though. New York nailed a field goal and Eli Manning ran in a 14-yard score himself in the second quarter to close the gap to 13-10. The Bucs then hit a field goal of their own with about 30 seconds left to stretch the lead out to 16-10 heading into halftime.
Eli hit rookie tailback Wayne Gallman for a four-yard score to cap off an eleven play, 61-yard drive towards the end of the third quarter. The Giants took the 17-16 lead with 4:19 left in the third period of play. The game would get even crazier.
The Buccaneers came back with a touchdown of their own, as Winston hit tight end Cameron Bate for a 14-yard score with 7:44 remaining in the game to go up 22-17. Up by five, the Bucs attempted — and failed — a two-point conversion that would have pushed the lead to seven. Eli and the Giants then drove down the field on a 10-play, 75-yard drive that took 4:28 of game time. Manning found tight end Rhett Ellison for the two-yard touchdown to take the 23-22 lead with 3:16 left in the game. The Giants, wanting to go up three points to avoid losing on a field goal in back-to-back weeks, went for the two-point try. Eli found Odell Beckham Jr. in the back of the end zone for the conversion — BUT the referees determined OBJ stepped out of bounds before the catch, therefore denying New York the two points.
Here’s what happened:
Brutal. The Buccaneers would then use a nine play drive to eat up the rest of the clock before Nick Folk nailed a 34-yard field goal as time expired.
The Giants — and their next opponent — are still looking for their first victory of the season.
Philadelphia Eagles (3-1)
Last Week: W 26-24 @ Los Angeles Chargers
Next Week: vs. Arizona Cardinals (2-2)
The Eagles defeated the Chargers on Sunday to take the lone spot on top of the NFC East.
Philly opened the game on the road with a quick scoring drive in the first quarter when Carson Wentz hit Alshon Jeffery to cap off an eight play drive. Jake Elliott would later kick a field goal later in the first quarter. The rookie kicker would go on to hit three more kicks — from 40, 47, and 53 — as the game progressed after hitting a huge 61-yarder to beat the Giants at home last week.
The highlight of the game was LaGarrette Blount’s Marshawn Lynch-esque run in which he ran — and stiff armed — all over the Chargers poor defense. What. A. Run.
The Eagles never trailed in the game, but the Chargers didn’t make it easy. The Chargers only gained 54 less yards than Philly despite having 21 less plays and 19 less minutes of possession in their two-point defeat on Sunday.
As of now, the Eagles are on top of the division with a 3-1 record. With the Cowboys struggling to find themselves and the Redskins also at 2-2, the Eagles must take advantage of these next two weeks against the Cardinals and the Panthers if they want to get a big leg up on the rest of the East.
Washington Redskins (2-2)
Last Week: L 20-29 @ Kansas City Chiefs
Next Week: BYE
The Redskins started out hot on Monday Night Football. Kirk Cousins and the ‘Skins drove right down the field on the Chiefs’ defense in the opening minutes. Cousins hit free agent acquisition Terrell Pryor for a huge 44-yard touchdown to open the game. It was Pryor’s first score on his new team, and it came against one of the elite corners in the game.
Terrelle Pryor beats Marcus Peters for a 44 yard TD! pic.twitter.com/YMqThbFzTi— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) October 3, 2017
The Redskins would eventually take a ten point lead, but the Chiefs came back storming. Kansas City just has too much offensive firepower not to, and the ‘Skins found that out quickly. Kareem Hunt couldn’t be stopped on the ground, Alex Smith played very well, and the defense held Washington to ten points for the remainder of the game after the opening quarter.
Despite the loss, the Redskins have built an argument that they are among the division's best teams through four weeks. Yes, the Eagles have the better record and even have the head-to-head, but the ‘Skins have been playing much better since their week one performance. Since the opening loss, the ‘Skins have notched an impressive road victory over the Rams in Los Angeles, the Raiders back at home in a game in which Derek Carr looked anything but his typical self, and had the Chiefs on the rope in Arrowhead Stadium. That’s a very impressive resume this early in the season.
They have the same record as the Cowboys and we are only four weeks through the season. It will be interesting to see how Washington responds after a week off going into a four-game stretch consisting of the 49ers, Eagles, Cowboys, and Seahawks.
POST-WEEK FOUR NFC EAST POWER RANKINGS:
1.) Philadelphia Eagles (3-1)
With just one loss and a head-to-head win over the Redskins, the Eagles are at the top for now.
2.) Washington Redskins (2-2)
Since losing to the Eagles to open the season, the Redskins have wins over the Rams and the Raiders and a close road loss to the Chiefs on Monday Night Football. The argument could be made that they are the division’s best after four weeks.
3.) Dallas Cowboys (2-2)
The Cowboys may be the most talented team in the NFC East on paper. Can they put everything together and get a big win over Aaron Rodgers and the Packers?
4.) New York Giants (0-4)
The Giants play the Chargers in a winner-gets-their-first-win game.