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NFC East roundup: First divisional games are upon us

NFC East matchups across the board for Week 3.

New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

NFC East Pick 'em record: (4-4)

The Cowboys Week 2 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals was important to win for their statistical chances of making the playoffs. This week's game against the New York Giants is more critical for their actual chances of making a playoff run.

A team winning their division is always the quickest way to the postseason. For parts of the NFL, it seems harder for teams to separate themselves (see: AFC South). This week, all four teams in the NFC East will be playing a divisional opponent for the first time all season.

Here is a breakdown of the rivalry games for Week 3.

Dallas Cowboys (1-1) at New York Giants (2-0)

On's power rankings article, the Giants are at No. 19 behind the Las Vegas Raiders (No. 15) and the Cincinnati Bengals (No. 12). The Raiders and Bengals are 0-2. The Giants are the only undefeated team the media doesn't seem to be taken seriously.

The run game is significantly better with Saquon Barkley, who leads the league in rushing, and New York has a better statistical defense than the Eagles, Chiefs, Rams, and Saints. So why are they low if they are 2-0? It comes down to the trust in quarterback Daniel Jones.

Head coach Brian Daboll was brought to New York to change the culture and help fix the quarterback. Jones is nowhere near the athlete of Josh Allen, but "Danny Dimes" is an athletic signal caller. The problem has been his security with the football.

So far, Jones has a 70.9 completion percentage through two games and a three-to-one touchdown to interception ratio. If Daboll can find a way to successfully let Jones throw more down the field, then this offense can be much better.

However, the Dallas defense is the team's strength, and Jones has had little success against them. In the five times that No. 8 has played the Cowboys, his record is 1-4 with 776 passing yards, three touchdowns, two interceptions, and five lost fumbles. Jones has also been sacked five times in those matchups.

Numbers don't lie in this situation, and Micah Parsons should be a factor against the Giants offensive line, leading the team in pressures and sacks.

The game plans should be similar for Dallas or the Giants to win. Be effective in running the ball, and don't let your quarterback make mistakes. If either team can do that, they will walk away with a win.

Dallas has the better defense, offensive line, and more serviceable quarterback. They should be able to end the Giants undefeated season by a score of 20-16. The Cowboys might also be getting Michael Gallup back in the lineup, which would boost their wide receiver room and Cooper Rush.

Philadelphia Eagles (2-0) at Washington Commanders (1-1)

Compared to the Giants, the Eagles are a team that looks every bit of their 2-0 record. Philadelphia has looked impressive through two games. They have the No. 1 offense in the NFL led by dual-threat quarterback Jalen Hurts and wideout A.J. Brown.

Brown might not have put up impressive stats against the Vikings, but that is because the Eagles have a plethora of weapons. Dallas Goedert, DeVonta Smith, and Quez Watkins all had nice games. Carson Wentz could do everything in his power to succeed against his former team, but it will be up to the defense to stop the Eagles.

The Commanders defense is middle of the pack until Chase Young comes back. They have given up an average of 404 yards per game and 29.0 points per game. That is not the same defense Washington had back in 2020. There are promising pieces along the defensive front, but they have five sacks total. If they do apply pressure, Hurts has shown the capability to scramble for positive yards.

One way Washington can win this game is if they can keep Hurts in the pocket and force him to throw. If their defense can be opportunistic with turnovers, it puts the ball back in the hands of the Commanders offense, which looks better.

The Washington offense has three playmakers at receiver in Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, and rookie Jahan Dotson. Antonio Gibson is still the starter at running back and has been used more as a wideout than in the previous seasons. Samuel has also lined up in the backfield successfully and seems to be playing healthy for the first time as a Commander.

Until Philadelphia has a full-on collapse, it is tough to pick against them right now. The Week 15 matchup between both teams in 2021 seems like it could have a repeat performance here. Hurts threw for almost 300 yards with one touchdown and an interception. Miles Sanders also exploded for 131 yards on 18 carries. Sanders has quietly put together an excellent start to the season, so expect him to do well on Sunday.

Let's go with the Eagles staying undefeated winning 28-20. Sanders and Hurts will each have a rushing touchdown, and A.J. Brown will have two touchdowns.

NFC East Week 3 record prediction:

Dallas Cowboys (2-1)

Philadelphia Eagles (3-0)

Washington Commanders (1-2)

New York Giants (2-1)

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