September 19, 2023
Two weeks of NFL action are in the books. The Eagles are weathering the storm after some uneven performances, the Cowboys' defense looks like the best unit in the NFL, the Commanders are the league's biggest surprise and the Giants are the league's biggest joke.
Let's take a look at the NFC East as a whole...
The state of things:
The NFC East is 6-0 against non-divisional opponents, by far the best mark in the NFL currently:
Combined records in non-division games thru Week 2— Deniz Selman (@denizselman33) September 18, 2023
NFC East 6-0 (1.000)
NFC South 4-0 (1.000)
NFC West 2-2 (.500)
AFC East 2-2 (.500)
AFC North 1-1 (.500)
AFC South 1-3 (.250)
NFC North 1-5 (.167)
AFC West 1-5 (1.67)
Thursday, 8:15 p.m., Giants (+10.5) at 49ers
Sunday, 1:00 p.m., Bills at Commanders (+6.5)
Sunday, 4:25 p.m., Cowboys (-13) at Cardinals
Monday, 7:15 p.m., Eagles (-6) at Buccaneers
• This week's iteration of Thursday Night Football has classic boring blowout written all over it. You can snag the 49ers adjusted line -13.5 at +155 on DraftKings.
• I typically am all in on betting home underdogs, but I'm not quite sure I'm ready to roll the dice on Sam Howell against a Bills team that's won at least one playoff game each of the last three years.
• The Cowboys' point differential of +60 is the best in the NFL by a large margin. I'm expecting that to skyrocket up after a meeting with Jonathan Gannon and the Cardinals.
• Tampa has some "house of horrors" energy for the Eagles, but laying a touchdown against a frisky 2-0 Buccaneers team feels worthwhile.
• The Giants overcame a loss that might have been more embarrassing than their Week 1 40-0 thumping, fighting back and beating Gannon and the Cards in Week 2. Congratulations to reigning Coach of the Year Brian Daboll for taking down a wildly inferior roster and to Daniel Jones for playing like an NFL quarterback against a tank-worthy defense. The Giants at -37 currently have the worst point-differential in the NFL. Saquon Barkley is absent from the lineup for an indefinite period of time. The discussion ahead of Thursday shouldn't be whether the Giants can win. It should be how many points they'll inevitably lose by.
• Washington has not started 2-0 since 2011. They haven't been 3-0 since 2005. Howell was five years old then. It's been a while! Their competition has been substandard so far this year (wins against Arizona and Denver), but new play-caller Eric Bienemy has Howell efficiently coming along. He tossed two TDs and 299 yards in that Week 2 victory where the offense put up 35 total points. I would not be surprised, however, if Josh Allen came to the dump that is FedEx Field and cut all this goodwill short. A 3-0 start with a quality win over Buffalo would require Eagles fans to view the Commanders as more than a simple afterthought though.
• This Cowboys defense is something fierce. They have elite talent and ballhawks that make up for Dak Prescott no longer being at his peak. San Francisco is 2-0, but with how the Cowboys' defense stacks up on paper and through two games' of tape, they are the team that should most concern Eagles fans in the conference. A split against them in the season series is, at minimum, a must if the Eagles want to have a first-round bye again. That potential bye is their ticket to Vegas in February.
Despite all this chatter, I would like to see Dallas beat a good quarterback at some point. A matchup with Joshua Dobbs and the Cardinals does not present that challenge. You have to play who's on the schedule though, as Eagles fans saw in 2022 while they destroyed the likes of Carson Wentz, Davis Mills and more bottom-feeders.
• The Eagles' secondary is in flux currently. James Bradberry and Reed Blankenship missed Week 2. Avonte Maddox has likely been lost for the season, too. The Birds desperately need Bradberry back out there as he recovers in the concussion protocol because of Tampa Bay's wide receivers.
Darius Slay will attend to Mike Evans, who just put up six catches for 171 yards and a touchdown in Week 2. Chris Godwin should not be overlooked just because he's the WR2 behind a potential Hall of Famer in Evans. It could be up to two 2022 undrafted free agent corners, Josh Jobe and Mario Goodrich, to come up huge under the bright lights of Monday Night Football. New Buccaneers offensive coordinator and play-caller Dave Canales has gotten the job done so far.
• Barkley's injury doesn't seem too serious. The NFL Network's Ian Rapoport noted on Monday that Barkley has a sprained ankle and is considered "week-to-week."
• The Eagles have cut much-maligned punter Arryn Siposs and signed Braden Mann to their practice squad. It remains to be seen if Mann is a true upgrade over Siposs, but the bar is the floor at the moment.
• Josh Harris continues to look incredibly awkward when interacting with any other human beings:
• Jalen Carter is pretty damn good:
Most pressures through two weeks:— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) September 18, 2023
Aidan Hutchinson 13
Micah Parsons 12
Jalen Carter 11
• Rams running back Cam Akers has fallen out of favor in Los Angeles. His name is being floated as a potential target for the Giants with Barkley's injury.
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