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Cowboys claim early NFC East lead with rivalry win

Three NFC East teams are 1-0, but only one of them got that victory within the division

Dallas Cowboys v New York Giants Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys couldn’t have done more to start this season off right, trouncing the New York Giants 40-0 last Sunday night. But with the other two teams in the NFC East also winning their openers, we now have a three-way tie in overall record heading into Week 2.

The Philadelphia Eagles did as expected, even as the road team, hanging a loss on the New England Patriots. But the game was closer than some might have thought as the reigning NFC Champions were challenged right down to the final seconds. As you’d expect from a Bill Belichick team, the Pats stayed competitive with schematic exploitation of the Eagles’ few weaknesses. Ultimately, though, the better team won.

The same happened in Washington as the Commanders got the win over the Arizona Cardinals. But in what was generally projected to be one of the more one-sided games of the week, Arizona actually led at halftime. The Commanders defense stiffened in the second half, giving up just one field goal and recovering two fumbles to facilitate the comeback win.

Based on these results, here are the NFC East standings after opening weekend.

So why does the NFL list the three 1-0 teams in this order? The Cowboys are technically in first place right now as the only one with an in-division victory. Washington gets to sit above Philly for beating another NFC team in Arizona, while the Eagles win came outside of the conference. Naturally, this could all be meaningless by January but is still worth noting for the present.

There won’t be any inter-division play in Week 2. The Eagles have a short week, heading home to welcome the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday Night Football. It will give Philly a chance to pick up their first conference win of the year, while Minnesota is hoping to make up for an upset loss to Tampa Bay last Sunday. This will be the second straight year the Vikings have had to go to Philadelphia in Week 2, losing 24-7 in 2022.

Washington should face a greater test this Sunday than they did last week, traveling to face the Denver Broncos. Sam Howell will finally have to get a win against an actual starting NFL quarterback, not backups like Cooper Rush and Josh Dobbs. While the Broncos narrowly lost to the Raiders in their opener, Russell Wilson and Sean Payton should give the Commanders a lot more to worry about than the Cardinals did.

Speaking of Arizona, that’s where the Giants are headed in Week 2. It’s a good opportunity for New York to work out their issues and prepare for a tough Week 3 meeting in San Francisco. If they somehow drop this one, the prospect of starting the year 0-3 could be very real and far from spectacular.

The Cowboys’ home opener against the other New York team feels very different now that Zach Wilson is starting for the injured Aaron Rodgers. Once considered as part of a tough early-season schedule, the game now sees Dallas heavily favored given the Jets’ dramatic change at the primary position.

We should learn more about who all four NFC East teams really are, for better or worse, as all NFL clubs get closer to their true selves in Week 2. The Cowboys appear to have the easiest path to a 2-0 record among their rivals, but if we learned anything last week it’s that nothing is certain in this league.

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