NFC East - Overreaction Thursday
This NFL season has been nuts. There are only two undefeated teams remaining in the entire league, as both the Miami Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles sit at 3-0.
In just three weeks, we’ve seen a level of parody that extends beyond the norm and has likely knocked you out of any survivor league (I’m already out of mine). Results like the winless Colts defeating the Chiefs and the Jaguars rocking the Chargers 38-10 highlighted the most recent week’s upset results.
In the NFC East, we have perhaps the league's most historic division returning to glory, as Philadelphia looks to be one of the NFL’s most dominant teams, while the remaining three teams have shown flashes themselves.
In the NFC East, no team has repeated as division champs since the Eagles did it in 2003 and 2004 and that trend looks to continue as last year's champion Cowboys may have a difficult time surging past Philadelphia.
Since 2004, Dallas has won six division titles, Philadelphia has won five, and New York and Washington have both won three.
Through three weeks, the NFL’s most unpredictable division has already supplied us with narratives and then narratives on top of those narratives…and we’re only just getting started.
In this article, as I did following Week 1, we’ll sift through some of the early season narratives in the NFC East and decide what is and what is not an overreaction.
The Eagles aren’t the best team in the division…they’re the best team in the NFL
Not an overreaction
Through three weeks, who has looked more dominant than The Birds?
Offensively, Philly has racked up the third most touchdowns in the NFL this season and has won two of its first three games by 16 or more points. The rushing attack has looked unstoppable at times, while the new wide receiver duo of A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith looking dominant in the early stages of 2022.
Quarterback Jalen Hurts has also been prolific. Hurts currently is third in the NFL in passing yards and leads the league in yards per attempt. He also is 21st in the league in rushing with 167 yards on the ground so far this season and 3 touchdowns.
Defensively, after surrendering 35 points in the opener against Detroit, The Eagles have held its last two opponents to less than 10 points.
The team sits third in the NFL in average scoring margin and turnover margin, making Philadelphia one of the more balanced teams in the league, with an offense and defense that is humming in the early part of 2022.
Look, all I’m saying is that I’m not sure that America has the infrastructure to support a Bills Eagles Super Bowl…but I’m definitely here for it.
The Cowboys defense can carry the team to the postseason
Not an overreaction
Two weeks ago, everyone was freaking out about the Cowboys opening night performance. In a 19-3 loss to the Buccaneers, quarterback Dak Prescott suffered a hand injury that has sidelined him since. Dallas has won both games without Prescott in large part because of its defense.
Photo: AP Photo/Adam Hunger
The Cowboys defense has held opponents to under 20 points in every game this season and has knocked off the Bengals and Giants in consecutive performances.
It’s unclear when Prescott will return, but they seem to be doing just fine without him.
The Commanders are going to finish last in the division
Is it though? The only reason I have this as an overreaction for now is that the Commanders haven’t played The Giants yet and the two teams will likely jostle with one another to finish third in the division.
After a Week 1 victory over the Jaguars that is already looking like an outlier win, The Commanders have dropped two straight to the Lions and Eagles.
Photo: David Maialetti / Staff Photographer Philadelphia Inquirer
Washington’s offense was humming for most of the first two weeks before only scoring once in a 24-8 loss to Philadelphia this past week.
It won’t get much easier for The Commanders as their upcoming opponents include Dallas, Tennessee, Chicago, Green Bay, Indianapolis and Minnesota. Washington might be the betting favorites for one of those contests, if any at all. This could get a lot worse before it gets better.
The New York Giants are going to make the playoffs
I’ll say this…The Giants don’t play boring games, contrary to what many said about their Monday night loss to the Cowboys.
So far, New York has won by one, won by three and lost by seven. The resilient Giants have a healthy Saquon Barkley and a quarterback in Daniel Jones who is playing for his career.
The Week 3 loss to Dallas hurt, especially after New York had the momentum before The Cowboys scored 14 unanswered points to finish the game.
Nonetheless, New York can easily play itself into the playoff picture due to its easy schedule. There are tough contests, but there are also games against Chicago, Seattle, Houston, Detroit and Washington twice.
If The Giants win the games they should win and steal one or two more, just like they have early in the year, there’s no reason this team can’t be in the mix come December.
By the end of the season, the quarterback will be the biggest problem for Dallas
Not an overreaction
Defense? Check. Receivers? Check. Offensive line? Not a problem anymore. Run game? Zeke and Pollard are feasting. So, what’s going to keep this team from long-term success into the postseason? The quarterback.
Before his injury in the opening loss to Tampa Bay, Dak Prescott was 14/29 passing for 134 yards and an interception.
Photo: USAToday Sports
In the two games since the injury to Dak, Cooper Rush has thrown for just over 200 yards and a touchdown in both games. He’s serviceable, but he’s not yet shown that he’s going to win a game for Dallas…and neither has Dak when it mattered most (see how last year ended).
This Dallas defense just needs an above average offense to make the postseason and I think they have that. But in order to make a run in the postseason, you need a quarterback and I’m not sure I’m buying anymore Dak Prescott stock until I see a lot more once he’s back and healthy.