By Joey Esquire
Eagles – Welcome back, Carson
It was a rebound week for the defense, a decent effort from the fourth-string RB, and the third goal-line stand to win a game in the Eagles last four home games, but obviously the story of this game was the return of Carson Wentz. There was some rust, to be sure – a missed throw to Joshua Perkins on the sideline and a really ugly pick – but overall an encouraging performance. Wentz didn’t appear to lose any of his athleticism or mobility as a result of his injury, and made some really nice signature Wentz plays including a huge third-down completion to Nelson Agholor while avoiding pressure in the pocket. Eagles fans can look forward to Wentz getting back to form as he gets more game action and, perhaps most importantly, gets a nearly-full complement of weapons back.
Side note: not NFCE related, but it’s kind of sad to watch Andrew Luck out there. It’s good that he’s back on the field because when he is fully healthy I think he is a top 5 QB in the NFL, but his arm is almost as dead as Eli Manning’s. He just can’t make throws downfield right now.
Redskins – Jekyll and Hyde run game
The Redskins sit at 2-1 heading into a crappy Week 4 bye, with dominant wins over the Cardinals and Packers, but also a terrible showing against the Colts in week 2. I think week 2 was just an aberration, but those kind of inconsistent performances have popped up throughout Jay Gruden’s tenure. In their two wins, the Redskins rushing attack has dominated and Alex Smith has been ultra-efficient, which is a formula the Cowboys had success with in 2016. In Week 2 versus the Colts, the run game couldn’t get going and it rendered the entire offense anemic. It will be interesting to see if Alex Smith and this pretty terrible collection of WRs can make downfield plays if opposing defenses can bottle up the rushing attack going forward.
Cowboys – Yuck
Terrible performance pretty much all around. This offense feels like the 2015 Eagles in that they are stuck in a non-working formula, the coaches don’t have the creativity to change it and the players don’t have the talent to execute it. This team seems to need a shot in the arm from somewhere, but I don’t know who can provide it. Week 3 is obviously too early to throw in the towel, and the Cowboys’ next two games are against to pretty poor teams in the Lions and Texans, so they might be able to get back on track in the next few weeks, but frankly I think Jason Garrett, Scott Linehan, Dak Prescott and the league’s worst collection of skill position players is going to bog this team down all season.
Giants – A win!
Did you know that was the Giants first win with Odell Beckham in the lineup since they took that boat trip to Miami? It’s being called a “vintage” Eli Manning performance, and Cody Latimer said it proves Eli “still has something left in the tank”, but even in his prime it was pretty rare to see Eli put up a stat line like 25/29 for 297 and 2 TDs with 0 INTs. Those numbers don’t even show the most impressive aspect of Eli’s game: after the Texans scored a touchdown to bring the score within 5 points, Eli led a 9-play, 77-yard touchdown drive that took up 5:29 of clock and slammed the door shut on the Texans comeback bid. That drive included two key third-down conversions including a great route by Saquon Barkley split out wide on third and 2 that produced a 21-yard gain. Houston is one of the NFL’s bottom-dwellers, but a win is a win.
Standout Performances – Good
Standout Performances – Bad