In lieu of the all-bEast team this early in the season when it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, here are some winners and losers for each team from Week 1:
Dak Prescott and Kellen Moore
Statistically this was the best game of Prescott’s career. Much of the credit there probably goes to new OC Kellen Moore. It was astonishing how many Dallas receivers there were running middle-distance routes that just didn’t have anybody covering them. But when they weren’t wide open, Dak threw some pinpoint balls and was particularly impressive on downfield throws.
One of the biggest drop-offs from 2017 to 2018 for Wentz (and the Eagles generally) was third down efficiency. In Week One they went 11-17, and Wentz went 12/13 for 197 yards and three touchdowns. He also converted three QB sneak opportunities on third/fourth down.
Washington Pass Catchers
Washington was widely considered to have one of, if not the, worst collection of pass catchers in the NFL heading into Week One, but playing without Jordan Reed, this group showed up. Nobody more so than Terry McLaurin, who blew by the Eagles defense for one long touchdown and should have had another if not for a Case Keenum overthrow.
Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram
It’s probably going to be a long season for these two, but they can play. Saquon finished the day with nearly 11 yards per carry and Engram was the most consistent receiving option the Giants had.
Cowboys’ run defense
Not much went wrong with the Cowboys’ Week One performance, so this is nitpicking. Overall, they allowed 151 yards on 17 rushes (8.9 ypc). Some of that is the natural result of playing with a lead and prioritizing pass defense over run defense, and 59 of it was on one play on the Giants’ first drive.
Eagles’ pass rush
Eagles’ DL vs Washington’s OL was supposed to be a mismatch coming into this game, but the ragtag Washington OL including Donald Penn, who is past his prime, and Ereck Flowers, who never had a prime, stalled the Eagles’ pass rush for most of the game. The Eagles finished with one sack, 3 TFLs and 7 QB hits. Not a good showing.
You can’t have high expectations for a defensive coordinator that Washington tried to replace but couldn’t so they brought him back. Third down defense was a disaster and probably cost Washington the game. The Eagles’ average distance needed to convert third down was 8.4 yards, but somehow they still went 11/17.
The entire Giants’ defense
Week 2 Preview:
Cowboys (-7) at Washington
Tough to see much in this matchup that favors Washington. The Cowboys gave up four plays of 20+ yards in an otherwise dominant win over the Giants, and Washington only had one touchdown drive of more than seven plays versus the Eagles and that was garbage time, so I think they’ll need to find some big plays to stay in this one.
Cowboys 27 – Washington 21
Bills (-2.5) at Giants
The Giants are a home dog to the Bills. The Giants haven’t been a home dog to the Bills since 1996. The Bills weren’t a road favorite over anybody in 2018. My preseason thought on the Giants was that they would be bad, but that Shurmur and Eli are experienced enough to keep them from totally bottoming out. That was before seeing that defense in live action. Still, I can’t pick the Josh Allen Bills on the road yet.
Giants 20 – Bills 17
Eagles (PK) at Falcons
The Eagles have had the Falcons’ number the past two years, but both games were in Philadelphia and were nail-biters that could have gone either way. Both also had Nick Foles at QB. Dirk Koetter torched Jim Schwartz’s defense in 2018 with a less-talented Bucs offense to the tune of 402 passing yards. Still, I think this Falcons team is soft on both sides of the ball, and I like this Eagles offense.
Eagles 28 – Falcons 20