Will Week 4 prove to be a “separation Sunday” in the NFC East? The Dallas Cowboys certainly hope not as they look to keep pace with the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles by beating the Washington Commanders in their first meeting of 2022.
The division boasted two undefeated teams going into Week 3, Philly and the New York Giants, but only one of them maintained that status. The Giants were exposed in their Monday night loss to Dallas while the Eagles dominated the Commanders to stay perfect.
- Philadelphia Eagles 3-0 (1-0 in division)
- Dallas Cowboys 2-1 (1-0 in division)
- New York Giants 2-1 (0-1 in division)
- Washington Commanders 1-2 (0-1 in division)
Now the Cowboys will host that same Washington team this Sunday and look to duplicate Philadelphia’s success. After Commanders QB Carson Wentz was sacked a whopping nine times last Sunday, he has to face a Dallas defense that currently leads the NFL in total sacks.
With WR Michael Gallup expected back, and hopefully TE Dalton Schultz as well, the Cowboys offense could also be on the rise this week. Eagles QB Jalen Hurts had his best passing performance of 2022 against Washington; 340 yards and three touchdowns.
In the second half of last Monday’s win over New York, we watched this offense seemingly come together. Cooper Rush’s command of things and a major uptick in big plays were positive signs for what’s to come. Getting Gallup back alone should open things up more, and adding Schultz to that as well would be a huge boon for Dallas.
The Cowboys need this home win over Washington for lots of reasons, but perhaps none more crucial right now than not letting the Eagles soar out of reach. Philadelphia takes their 3-0 record back home for a meeting with Jacksonville. While the Jaguars are coming off two straight wins, the level of competition has left some dubious about their chances this Sunday.
However, there’s also potential fools gold in the Eagles’ record. None of the Lions, Vikings, or Commanders are currently viewed as NFL elite. And while Philadelphia’s big victory margins the last two weeks speak well for them, they arguably haven’t faced a major test yet.
Elsewhere in the NFC East, New York hopes to correct course this Sunday with a home game against the Chicago Bears. Was Monday’s loss to the Cooper Rush-led Cowboys an anomaly or a sign that maybe Brian Daboll hasn’t turned the franchise around so quickly? How the Giants perform against the Bears will tell us a lot about who they really are.
The NFL schedule and postseason format don’t allow for many meaningless games. But here in Week 4 with teams still trying to prove themselves, both internally and to outsiders, this feels like a pivotal slate of matchups in the evaluation of contenders versus pretenders.
The NFC East is no exception. How legit are the Eagles? Can Dallas stay in range while working through its injuries? Do the Commanders and Giants even belong in the conversation?
We’ll see how many answers we get this Sunday.