- Washington leads the NFC East right now at 4–2, but with both Philadelphia and Dallas not far behind at 3–4, this division is still wildly up in the air. How might it play out?
While the Giants work to install sideline hydration and urination policies that will not disrupt the team’s rhythm, the rest of the NFC East is log-jammed in the kind of beautiful, competitive mess that we find them in every couple of years.
Washington leads the division at 4–2, even though there doesn’t feel like an ounce of permanence there. The Eagles and Cowboys are both 3–4, but behaving like teams who plan on being in contention this winter.
So how would we handicap the division the rest of the way? Let’s ruin your Wednesday morning by giving it a shot:
General manager Howie Roseman’s track record tells us that he won’t be quiet at the trade deadline. There are plenty of eager culture-changers out there looking to discard talent for cheap and the Eagles will almost certainly make some noise. They were playing for the Amari Cooper sweepstakes and will almost certainly be phoning teams with expendable running backs. The Eagles are the safest bet to rise because they have the best play-caller, the best quarterback and the best defensive coordinator out of any team in contention.
They’ve beaten three semi-talented to good teams in Carolina, Green Bay and Dallas, but were throttled in their first matchup against a top-tier team (New Orleans). The offense is still mildly efficient considering they’re without their star rookie running back and two of their best wideouts are working through nagging injuries. Teams can work into form over the course of the season, and assuming Adrian Peterson stays healthy, Alex Smith has the foundation to get more comfortable. This could be the kind of oddball season where ball control and solid special teams can win a division.
Assuming the Amari Cooper trade doesn’t cause a drastic change in their standard operating procedure, Dallas will still be a feared offense that suffers a bit from a lack of imagination. Their defense, though, is talented with room to grow which is why we cannot count them out.
N.Y. Giants: 500–1
The Giants have gone from win-now to rebuild preparation over the course of a few weeks. They’re still paying one former coach and don’t want to get in the habit of cutting people loose after a bad seasons. The rest of the way here will be more about coach Pat Shurmur learning to negate the slowly-recovering offensive line and navigating the transition from Eli Manning to the great beyond.
Not getting this newsletter in your inbox yet? Sign up for The MMQB’s Morning Huddle.
NOW ON THE MMQB: POWER RANKINGS. … A wonderfully smart story by Jenny Vrentas about the people a rebuild leaves behind. ... A timeline of the Odell Beckham craziness. … The Saints are going all in, one Apple at a time.
WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: Todd Gurley for MVP? ... The Chiefs are saving the 2018 NFL season. ... Adam Thielen takes his place in NFL history. ... Monday’s MMQB: Winning by any means necessary was the theme of Week 7.
1. Everson Griffen is coming back.
2. Eric Reid’s grievance against the Bengals has been denied.
3. The entire Carr family is fighting back against a report that suggests the locker room is lukewarm on their quarterback.
4. Is there still a little life in Denver’s once-dominant defense?
5. Rishard Matthews to the rescue for Sam Darnold and the Jets?
6. Hue Jackson’s longevity in Cleveland will depend on his usefulness to Baker Mayfield.
7. Can the Saints defeat the ghosts of the Minnesota Miracle?
Put your heart into something you love today, much like Orson Welles does in this Paul Masson champagne commercial from the 1980s.