NFC East Round-Up; Eagles Winning Ugly, But Still Winning
In college football, there are style points. Because of the ridiculous system in which teams are selected for bowls and national title games, various schools feel it necessary to run up scores or leave starters in longer than normal in order to impress other coaches and pollsters. It’s a tried and true tactic but one that is completely unnecessary in the National Football League. Take the Philadelphia Eagles for example. They are now 3-1 on the season after a 19-17 win over the rival New York Giants.
Philly’s three wins have by a combined total of four points. No style, no flash, just wins and the Eagles will take each and every one of them. The win also demonstrated that when Andy Reid sticks with LeSean McCoy, he is more often than not rewarded as McCoy carried 23 times for 123 yards. This kept some heat off of Michael Vick and allowed the Eagles’ defense to get some rest too.
The Giants meanwhile struggled to run the football and left Eli Manning as seemingly their only hope for victory and he almost came through as kicker Lawrence Tynes missed a field goal that would have given the Giants the victory. The loss for New York drops the defending champs to 2-2 but more importantly puts them at 0-2 in the division. New York needs to get healthy at key positions like wide receiver if they are going to challenge in the NFC.
The Standings: Philadelphia Eagles 3-1, New York Giants 2-2, Washington Redskins 2-2, Dallas Cowboys 2-2
Washington 24 at Tampa Bay 22 – The legend of Robert Griffin III grows even larger as he led the Redskins down the field in the final minutes to set up Billy Cundiff for the game-winner. The kick was no gimme either considering that Cundiff had missed his prior three attempts on the day. RGIII was superb against the Bucs going 26 of 35 for 323 yards on the afternoon and he picked up another 43 yards and a score on the ground as well.
Defensively, the Skins gave up some yards, but they were overall better than they had been in the previous three weeks. One thing is for certain with this team; As long as RGIII is at the helm, they are never out of a game.
Chicago Bears 34 at Dallas Cowboys 18 – Dallas quarterback Tony Romo threw for over 300 hundred yards but also threw five interceptions including two pick-sixes in Chicago’s 34-18 win in Big D. Dallas falls to 2-2 on the season.
Looking ahead to Week Five
Dallas is on their bye week
Philadelphia Eagles at Pittsburgh Steelers – The Eagles have won three of the last four in this series and look to go to 4-1 on the season while putting the Steelers in a 1-3 hole. The key for a Philadelphia win will be balance and ball security on offense and pressure on defense. Having turned the ball over 12 times in four games is an issue for the Eagles and they can’t afford to give the Pittsburgh offense short fields. I have to believe Andy Reid will stick with what worked for him Sunday night and that’s balance between McCoy and Vick throwing the ball.
Defensively, the Eagles will attempt to keep the Pittsburgh running game right where it is, at the bottom of the league. Making the Steelers one-dimensional will make it difficult for the Steelers to protect Ben Roethlisberger all game long so making him miserable will be and unable to make his reads will go a long way towards a victory. The Steelers are a desperate team that cannot afford to fall to 1-3 in a division that could be run away with by Baltimore or Cincinnati. I like the Steelers to win a tight one.
Cleveland Browns at New York Giants -If you needed a chance to get healthy and get a win then this is it for the Giants. Cleveland comes in at 0-4 and has arguable been in every game so they wont be pushovers, but the Giants pass rush should dictate the game and Eli Manning should have his was with a fairly weak Browns’ secondary. I like the Giants to rebound from their Sunday night loss.
Atlanta Falcons at Washington Redskins – The Falcons are playing like this year’s ‘team of destiny’ as they pulled out a win last week against Carolina when all hope seemed lost. The Redskins pretty much have only one hope in this game and that’s to win a shootout because I don’t see the Redskins’ defense doing much to stop Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ offense right now. RGIII will need to be at his best and will need to get help as well in the running game in order to take time off the clock and keep Ryan and company on the sidelines. Easier said than done in my opinion, I like the Falcons to win handily in the nation’s capitol.