By Joey Esquire
Rough week for the NFCE, going 1-3 with the only NFCE win coming against itself. Both the Eagles and Redskins were favored in Week 2 and both flopped.
Cowboys – Kris Richard Effect?
The Cowboys had one of the worst secondaries in the NFL last season. It has only been two weeks and they have only played two (generously) mediocre offenses, but two solid performances thus far. One week after getting the better of Jalen Ramsey, Odell Beckham was held to a quiet 4 catches for 51 yards on 9 targets. And although Eli’s final stat line doesn’t look bad, the offense never really got going and did nothing down the field. The schedule sets up nicely for the Cowboys’ defense – their opponents week 2 through week 5 are currently a combined 0-8, and they don’t face a team that finished in the top 10 in passing in 2017 until the Eagles in week 9.
Redskins – Downfield passing still absent
After a dominant week 1 win, it would have been nitpicky to point out the lack of involvement by the WRs in the offense. After a week 2 flop, it’s a lot easier to criticize. Through two games, the Redskins have thrown 76 passes. Just 30 of those passes have been targeted for WRs, and the four WRs to be targeted this season rank 5th through 8th in yards per target. So they’re not throwing the ball to WRs, and when they do they’re typically less successful than when they’re throwing it to someone else. In the final two drives, trailing by 12 and needing some big plays, Alex Smith completed 11 passes on 16 attempts for 86 yards. Only three of those passes were even targeted to WRs, and none went for more than 10 yards.
Eagles – Welcome back, Carson
Thanks for the memories, Nick, but after seeing Foles’ subpar play through two games I think everybody is happy to have Carson Wentz back. So what can we expect? Wentz does not return to a receiving group as strong as the one he left last season. Alshon Jeffery is still not back and his backup is injured.Torrey Smith is gone and his replacement is injured. Right now the Eagles don’t have any legitimate vertical threats at WR. With Wentz having not played for nine months and coming back to an unfamiliar group of WRs, there will definitely be timing and rhythm issues. And it’s not clear what type of mobility he will have, and being able to improvise and escape pressure is such a tremendous weapon for Wentz. Eagles fans will age approximately 47 years of the course of this season, losing their shit every time Wentz takes a hit. Or scrambles out of the pocket. Or moves. Or breathes. Still, those disclaimers aside, it’s good to have him back and he should be a huge improvement for an offense that needs a shot in the arm.
Giants – What does this team do well?
Honest question. I really don’t know the answer. Through two weeks they are allowing 168 yards passing per game, which I suppose is nice. 64 of Dak Prescott’s 160 yards on Sunday came on his second pass attempt, a bomb to Tavon Austin after Janoris Jenkins missed a jam and left him wide open. After that play, the Giants allowed 14/23 passing for 87 yards and 0 TDs, but really had no impact plays at all. No turnovers, no sacks, hardly any negative plays. Similar story in week one versus the Jaguars. I think the defense, by and large can play well in coverage. That is the nicest thing I can say about the Giants.
Standout Performances – Good
Standout Performances – Bad