Eagles Wake-Up Call: The State Of the NFC East

Chip KellyWith a trip to Denver looming and back-to-back losses in the rear-view mirror, finding positives this week may prove to be a bit challenging for Eagles fans.

But there’s one simple reason to be optimistic that the season won’t be lost in mid-November: Chip Kelly and company are playing in the worst division in football. The Cowboys, Eagles, Redskins and Giants are a combined 1-7 against non-NFC East teams.

After this weekend’s matchup with the Broncos, three of the Eagles’ next four games are against division foes. Keeping that in mind, now seems like a good time to check in on the state of the NFC East.

Dallas Cowboys (2-1) - After a shootout win over the Giants in Week 1, Jerry Jones’ boys have split their last two games against the Chiefs and Rams. Tony Romo is completing 72 percent of his passes (second to only Peyton Manning) and has thrown just one interception in 115 attempts. He has an array of pass-catching options, and DeMarco Murray piled up 175 yards against the Rams last week.

Defensively, Monte Kiffin’s group sacked Sam Bradford six times, and the Cowboys’ D has allowed a total of 24 points the last two weeks. DeMarcus Ware is still doing DeMarcus Ware things with four sacks in three games.

Dallas faces a couple challenges the next two weeks, traveling to San Diego to take on the Chargers before a home date with the Broncos.

New York Giants (0-3) – Only the Jaguars (-64) have a worse point differential than the winless Giants (-61).

“It’s part of the game,” Hakeem Nicks said after being targeted once in the team’s 38-0 loss to the Panthers. “You’ve got to control what you can control. I can’t throw it to myself.”

And Tom Coughlin’s response: “I’ll talk to him. That’s not a smart thing to say. He’s on the field, quarterback was sacked seven times, hit what, 15 times? That’s not a smart thing to say. Oh, I’ll talk to him about it, sure.”

Eli Manning has been sacked 11 times and thrown a league-high eight interceptions. The Giants’ offense is averaging 18 points per game, 27th in the NFL. On the ground, New York is averaging an NFC-worst 2.7 yards per carry.

Defensively, the Giants are giving up a league-worst 38.3 points per game.

Up next is a meeting with Andy Reid and the Chiefs at Arrowhead. Then it’s a home date with the Eagles.

Washington Redskins (0-3) – There’s been plenty of Robert Griffin III talk, but Washington’s defense has been a complete disaster. Only the Giants are giving up more points than the Redskins (32.7). And Jim Haslett’s group is allowing a league-worst 488 yards per game.

Last year, RGIII averaged one INT every 78.6 attempts. This year? It’s one every 34.8.

The Redskins will try to turn things around at the Raiders next week. Then it’s at Dallas, home against the Bears and at Denver.

WHAT YOU MISSED

Why aren’t the Eagles’ tight ends being used as expected? T-Mac takes a look.

Using the All-22 to examine the issues that plagued Michael Vick vs. the Chiefs.

McManus on the offense’s issues in pass protection.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz reviews Vinny Curry’s performance vs. the Chiefs:

Exploded into the backfield on 3rd/3 late in the half and rushed a pass by Smith that was almost picked off. They had no idea how quick Curry would be. Got his first NFL sack in the 3rd Qtr. Chiefs tried to block him with a TE on what was going to be a play-action pass. Curry was so fast off the ball that the blocker had no chance. Nor did Smith. Curry got a handful of jersey and dragged him down. Great play for the young man.

Phil Sheridan of ESPN.com on Chip Kelly:

Kelly’s admitted ignorance of a timeout rule in the San Diego game didn’t help. Neither did the gimmicky two-point conversion play that failed Thursday night and sapped the Eagles’ hard-earned momentum.

It would be going way too far to suggest that Kelly has lost his team. But it is fair to say that is what is at stake after two bad losses in five days. Kelly is facing his first real test as an NFL head coach.

COMING UP

After a four-day break, Eagles players are back at NovaCare. We’ll have everything covered.

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