Eagles Still the Team to Beat in NFC East, Despite Impressive Games by Dallas and Washington

Eagles Still the Team to Beat in NFC East, Despite Impressive Games by Dallas and Washington
A constant theme in his column has been how weak the NFC East is and that the Eagles shouldn’t have a problem winning the division.

That said, two NFC East teams did look impressive last week, with Dallas slamming reeling Jacksonville, 40-7 and the Washington Redskins holding off the Carolina Panthers, 23-17.

Washington is now 3-2 with the Eagles and Dallas both 3-3.

While both Washington and Dallas had their best showings of the year, especially considering the competition, whether both can sustain that type of success for an entire season remains subject to debate.

The only certainly in the NFC East is that the New York Giants, a team some felt would be the Eagles biggest challenger, are already done.

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The Giants showed plenty of holes in last week’s 34-13 loss to the Eagles, that dropped them to 1-5.
It also happened to be the Eagles best showing of the season.
 
Carson Wentz had his best showing by completing 26 of 36 for 278 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. His passer rating was a sparkling 122.2. He also rushed two times for 14 yards.

More than the stats was the fact that Wentz looked in total control. In fact since he has returned from last December’s season-ending knee injury, Wentz hasn’t looked cautious at all.

There seem to be no worried about the knee although an argument could be made that there was a little rust in his game coming back.

In three games back since returning from off-season shoulder surgery, Jeffery has 18 receptions for 218 yards and three touchdowns. He has been targeted 29 times, showing how important he is to the offense.

Not only is the 6-foot-3, 218-pound Jeffery a major threat in the red zone, he also has shown the ability to continually get open over the middle of the field.

Jeffery isn’t a speed burner, but he runs excellent routes.

As for the competition, Dallas looked good against Jacksonville because quarterback Dak Prescott decided to run more. Prescott has been inconsistent as a passer.

Now in his third year, he was compared favorably to Wentz in his first season, but he has digressed ever since. Against Jacksonville he rushed for 82 yards and a score on 11 carries. He was efficient as a passer completing 17 of 27 for 183 yards, two TDs and no interceptions for a 107.5 rating.

That is an excellent performance, but there will be times he will have to carry the team with his arm, and there is still a question whether he can do that on a consistent basis.

Plus, Dallas must show it can win on the road. The Cowboys are 3-0 at home and 0-3 on the road.
Washington’s problem isn’t at quarterback. Veteran Alex Smith is a mistake-free player, who has thrown just two interceptions in his first five games. Yet, Smith doesn’t have many great offensive weapons surrounding him.

One of Washington’s top weapons is 33-year-old running back Adrian Peterson who has rushed for 339 yards (4.4 avg.) and three TDs. While Peterson will be a serious Hall of Fame candidate, there is a question whether he can hold up for an entire season.

The Redskins are 2-1 at home and 1-1 on the road, but the win came at Arizona, which might be the worst team in the NFC.

 

So while Washington and Dallas showed great strength last week, they still must prove it for the long haul, which is why the Eagles should remain a solid favorite in the NFC East.

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Author: Marc Narducci

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