Thursday, September 20, 2012

State of the NFC East: Week 2

Before the Giants take the field tonight, let's take a look at the NFC East landscape.

It doesn't matter how, Vick has
led the Eagles to a 2-0 record.
1. Philadelphia Eagles (2-0) - 2-0 is 2-0. It doesn't matter how. After two ugly performances, the Eagles escaped with two one-point victories, first team in NFL history to do so. The good news, Philadelphia hasn't even played close to their potential on offense. The Eagles are averaging 471 yards per game this season, an enormous amount. However, they are only averaging 20.5 points per game. The nine turnovers committed in two games is obviously to blame. There's no way they'll keep up that pace. The bad news, they won't keep escaping games where they show such a carelessness with the football.

Look ahead: Andy Reid and the Eagles make the trip to Arizona to play the Cardinals. Look for the Eagles to clean up their offense a little and keep Celek heavily involved. Arizona will look to force turnovers and take care of the football on offense.

T-2. Washington Redskins (1-1) - The Redskins look like the second-most impressive team in the NFC East. Rookie sensation Robert Griffin III has lived up to the hype through two games. That doesn't necessarily mean his success will be continued, the NFL now has two game-films on him. Look for defensive coordinators to attack the rookie with complex looks, but look for Shanahan to keep the reads simple and quick. Washington's defense was impressive against the high-powered Saints offense, but with the news that DE Adam Carriker and OLB Brian Orakpo are done for the year, the defense will take a major hit.

Look ahead: Washington plays its first home game as they welcome the (1-1) Cincinnati Bengals to town. The Bengals have been far from impressive so far, especially on defense. RGIII should put up solid numbers but I think Cincy will scrape out a victory, they're too good of a team to put together three straight duds.

This guy could be the key
to the Giants secondary
T-2. New York Giants (1-1) - The Giants have been up-and-down so far in 2012. They looked bad for seven quarters of football, then Eli Manning and company exploded for 25 points in the fourth quarter in a comeback victory over Tampa Bay. The defense is still led by a good defensive line, but the secondary is hurting. Former first-round pick Prince Amukamara has had problems staying healthy and hasn't played at a consistently high-level. The Eagles and Cowboys have too many weapons for the Giants to handle, but a good pass-rush can mask weaknesses behind it. Eli Manning is one of the best fourth-quarter QBs in the NFL, if not the best. If you're going to beat the G-Men, you might need to take a big lead after three.

Look ahead: New York travels to Carolina on a short week to play the Panthers tonight on NFL Network. For a game breakdown, check my Thursday Night Football piece.

T-2. Dallas Cowboys (1-1) - The Cowboys looked good in the NFL opener, but they looked equally bad in the Seahawks game Sunday. It was quite surprising and has to be discouraging for Cowboys fans, because they had four extra days to prepare for Seattle and delivered a horrendous performance. They were out-muscled by the 'Hawks. Rob Ryan's defense should rebound, with newly-acquired CBs Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne, their pass D should be much-improved. They still have playmakers on both sides of the ball.

Look ahead: The Cowboys host Tampa Bay this Sunday. I got Dallas in this game, I don't see them delivering a similar performance like last week. The lack of consistency is a reflection of head coaching, if they don't start improving that aspect, I don't see them seriously contending in the East this year.

Follow me on Twitter @Matt_Chastain25 and @eaglesallday95, I'll follow you back.

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