NFC East: Who will win it?

There isn’t a team in the NFC East with more than three wins, but it appears that there is finally a team emerging as the best through 10 weeks. The New York Giants, the team that many viewed as the worst team in football after week three, seems to have completely turned things around. They have been competitive in every game this season with exception to week three’s loss to San Francisco and now they are tied for most wins in the division with three.

But the Eagles do still hold first place thanks to a tie with the Bengals. The Giants now head into their bye week with a legitimate chance of winning this division, but the with all four teams grouped together with two and three wins, it is still anyone’s division.

(Note: More will be said about the Eagles and Giants as current front-runners in the division)

Philadelphia Eagles

Coming into this season, the Eagles had playoff and even Super Bowl aspirations. Now fans are calling for head coach Doug Pederson’s job. Philadelphia has been in its own way all season, with the third most turnovers in the league with 17 and the third worst turnover differential with a minus seven.

On top of not taking care of the football, Pederson’s offensive play calling has been suspect. It seems like plays have been called to protect the Eagles often injured quarterback Carson Wentz. Only twice during Sunday’s loss to the Giants did the Eagles call plays to roll Wentz out of the pocket, something he excels at. In turn, they only mustered 17 points and failed to convert on a single third down.

Pederson’s aggressiveness also seems to be a bit much. It made sense to go for two points instead of one after the Eagles first touchdown on Sunday, but in a 21-17 game, not taking the extra-point to make it a three-point game is just asinine.

When the Eagles offense has been able to build some momentum, Pederson has found the right button to stop that. He repeatedly would pull his franchise quarterback to run a gadget play with Jalen Hurts, who simply looks like a lost puppy on the field. All but one time when Hurts came into the game did the Eagles pick up a big play, and it came on a low snap Hurts couldn’t handle but Miles Sanders found a way to pick it up and gain a large chunk of yards on.

The biggest blunder from Pederson’s offensive game plan on Sunday was to attack the Giants best defensive back, James Bradberry. He was the most targeted Giant on Sunday and they completed just two passes for 10 yards.

Then you take a look at Jim Schwartz’s defense. The Eagles defense has schematically been terrible all season and the best example of that has been linebacker Nathan Gerry. While Gerry has been the most hated man in Philadelphia all season, he has been repeatedly put in a position to fail. Despite dealing with an achilles issue almost all season, he has been tasked with defending other team’s top players such as George Kittle and Chase Claypool, two players who had their biggest games of the year against the Eagles.

Philadelphia has talent on their roster and ultimately that will win them some games, but the biggest problem for the Birds isn’t who is on the field, but the coaches who are repeatedly setting their players up to fail.

New York Giants

The only other three-win NFC East team resides in the swamps of New Jersey. Unlike every other team in the division, the Giants appear to be trending up. They have been very competitive since their embarrassing loss to the 49ers.

New York’s success right now, similar to the troubles for the Eagles, seem to fall on the coaching staff. First-year head coach Joe Judge has successfully changed the culture. The team is playing hard and laying together. When some troubles arose with Golden Tate complaining about his usage, Judge benched him and had him taking practice squad reps. He also had him publicly apologize before letting him return to the field on Sunday.

The defense, led by coordinator Patrick Graham, have been the heart of the team this year. Graham has the unit buying into the system and keeping this team in a lot of games. Two free agent signings, James Bradberry and Blake Martinez were both signed this offseason and they both have made a huge impact. Bradberry has been a lock down corner back and Martinez has been a presence in the middle of the field in the run and pass game.

The surprise as of late has been the offense. Quarterback Daniel Jones has had his issues with turnovers this season, but he has been spotless the last two weeks. Wayne Gallman has filled in nicely for Devonta Freeman and Saqoun Barkley by scoring touchdowns in each of the last four games. The offensive line has looked rejuvenated behind improvement from Andrew Thomas and rookies Matt Peart and Shane Lemieux. The have rewritten the narrative about themselves by producing in the run game and protecting Jones.
The Giants are riding high on a two-game winning streak, but in reality, they still only have three wins. They have a good amount of winnable games against the Bengals and Cowboys but will have to play current playoff teams in the Cardinals, Ravens, Seahawks and Browns.

To win the division, the Giants are going to have to win four of their final six games. New York is definitely moving in the right direction and they feel like the best team in the division.

Dallas Cowboys

This was supposed to be the year for the Cowboys. The offense was oozing with weapons and they spent a lot of money on a promising defense. They brought in Mike McCarthy to replace Jason Garrett and a new defensive coordinator, Mike Nolan.

Nothing has gone as plan for Dallas. It started with some disastrous performances for the defense. Nolan hasn’t been able to get much out of his group that was thought to have so much potential. Then Dak Prescott went down and so did the offense. It was ironic that Prescott was the only Cowboy that owner Jerry Jones didn’t pay yet and without him this season the Cowboy’s offense has completely disappeared.

McCarthy has worked out just as well this season. He has mismanaged games and lacks any creativity. They have just two wins, both against losing teams and both games that they took their first lead in the final minutes of the game. It is tough to see the Cowboys winning another game, but they do still play Washington, San Francisco, Cincinnati and Philadelphia.

Washington Football Team

Washington seems to be stuck right now. The defense is really good, but they don’t seem to have much on offense. They are a team that doesn’t have a quarterback. Alex Smith is probably the best one on their roster, but with his injury history it is tough to rely on him for much longer. Head coach Ron Rivera has made it clear that he doesn’t like Dwayne Haskins and Kyle Allen never really seemed like the answer.

It has been a tough season for the nameless Washington Football Team.

About the Author

Ben Mandell

My name is Ben Mandell and I have been writing about sports for the last seven years. I am a graduate of Wilkes University where I played football for four years and majored in Multimedia Journalism. I currently work part-time as a sports writer with The Times Leader where I cover local high school and college sports.

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