Last week’s rankings in which I went with the order of the Giants, Eagles, Cowboys, and Redskins drew a bit of criticism. And I had anticipated that given the Cowboys’ stellar performance in beating the Giants and with the excitement over the grand debut of Washington’s Robert Griffin III. But as I pointed out last wekk, I wasn’t ready to reconstruct the entire hierarchy of the division based on one weekend of football. While we won’t have a clearer picture of what these teams are about until the calendar turns to October, here’s how I assess the NFC East two weeks into the season.
1) Phiadelphia Eagles (2-0) Homer alert. Homer alert. Well, not quite. Look, the Eagles have turned the football over at an almost historic rate, but they find themselves the only team in the division that is undefeated after two weeks. It goes without saying that if the Eagles want to remain atop the division that those turnovers will have to be cleaned up. Still, the fashion in which the Eagles have won their first two games of the season has been impressive and can’t be overlooked. For a team that crumbled under pressume time and time again in 2011, the resolve they’ve shown in battling through adversity has been impressive. The Baltimore win wasn’t a masterpiece, but the offense moved the ball with ease and the defense was excellent in critical situations. Defensive third down efficiency has been the key ingredient in the emergence of Juan Castillo’s defense, one that should have a field day with old friend Kevin Kolb this Sunday in Arizona.
2) New York Giants (1-1) I considered keeping the Giants in the top spot after they rallied late for a home win over Tampa Bay. Eli Manning was awful and brilliant all in the same game. His three interceptions were almost backbreakers, but he rebounded to throw for over 500 yards. Still, the Giants defense has been abysmal through the season’s first two weeks and if they don’t get their secondary play cleaned up, then they’re going to continue to struggle. But when that offense is clicking like it did the second half of Sunday’s game, look out…
3) Dallas Cowboys (1-1) A great win over the Giants was followed by a complete dud in Seattle this past weekend. Seattle is a difficult place to play, but with 10 days to prepare for the game Dallas has no excused for the way in which they were dominated. Marshawn Lynch cut through a suddenly soft defense while rookie quarterback Russell Wilson was extremely efficient. As I mentioned last week, it’s all about consistency with this team–and they just don’t have it.
4) Washington Redskins (1-1)If you’re a Redskins fan, you have to be excited about what RGIII has done over his first two games as a pro. He’s been an efficient passer, completing over 70 percent of his attempts and has been an explosive runner. But that defense is terrible. The Rams’ offense isn’t exactly noted for its potency, so that the Redskins let a 21-6 lead slip away is a huge concern. Now with the losses of Adam Carriker and Brian Orakpo, Jim Haslett’s defense is completely decimated. Griffin will keep the Redskins in games, but I just don’t see how they’re going to win many of them. It looks like these guys are still a season away.