Here are some takeaways from a Sunday spent watching games around the league.
* Two NFC East teams were in action. One stayed very much in the mix for a playoff berth and division title, while the other might as well start looking ahead to the offseason.
Tony Romo completed 20 of 27 passes for 246 yards and three touchdowns in the Cowboys’ 31-17 win over the Jaguars. Dez Bryant went off for six catches, 158 yards and two touchdowns hours after an NFL Network report suggested the team had growing concerns about the wide receiver’s off-the-field behavior.
The Cowboys are 7-3 on the season. They haven’t finished over .500 since 2009, but barring a complete collapse down the stretch, they’ll get there this year. Dallas has a bye and then a matchup with the Giants before the Thanksgiving Day showdown against the Eagles.
* Speaking of the Giants, they look cooked. New York hung with Seattle through the first half, but then fell apart, losing 38-17. The Giants seemed ill-prepared for the Seahawks’ ground game, allowing 350 rushing yards to Marshawn Lynch, Russell Wilson and company.
At 3-6, the Giants will likely miss the playoffs for the third straight season and the fifth time in six years.
* Looking around the NFC, the Cardinals improved to 8-1, but may have lost Carson Palmer for the season with an ACL injury. More information is expected to come out today. While Arizona handled the Rams with Drew Stanton at the helm, the Cardinals’ hopes of making a run could take a serious, depending on the injury news with Palmer.
* Meanwhile, the Packers’ offense looks unstoppable, and the Bears look like a complete mess. Green Bay hung 55 on Chicago as Aaron Rodgers threw six touchdowns in the first half. The Packers have won five of their last six. Next week’s showdown at Lambeau against the Eagles should be a fun one – and a cold one. The early forecast has a high of 22 and a low of 10 in Green Bay on Sunday.
* How about the former Eagles coming through for the Jets? Michael Vick only needed to complete 10 passes in New York’s upset over the Steelers. Vick threw a beautiful 67-yard bomb to T.J. Graham and fired a laser to Jace Amaro from 5 yards out. On the defensive side of the ball, former Eagles second-round pick Jaiquawn Jarrett had a monster game with 10 tackles, a sack and two interceptions.
Of course, it wasn’t all good news. Former Eagle Jason Babin hit Ben Roethlisberger low several seconds after the pre-snap whistle blew and was charged with a personal foul penalty.
* Other notes… With the Lions having improved to 7-2, the Packers really need that game next weekend. …During the Detroit-Miami game, the announcers reminded us that the yellow on-field line for a first down is not official. My question: Why not? It’s 2014. Can’t we come up with better technology than two officials carrying chains down the sideline? …Andy Reid’s Chiefs are coming on strong with their fourth straight win. Kansas City is 16-8 under Big Red’s direction. …Love the Reid impersonator too:
Fake Andy Reid pic.twitter.com/dmggCi60uF
— Andrew DeWitt (@AndrewRDeWitt) November 9, 2014
…The live Hawk in Seattle didn’t follow instructions and landed on a fan’s shoulder. If this happens to me with the Eagle at the Linc, McManus better be ready to get that thing off me before I start to cry. …And finally, this Brock Osweiler–Peyton Manning clip is the best thing you’ll see today.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Our Weekend Reading piece featured some national thoughts on how the Eagles’ offense might look with Mark Sanchez running the show.
Three And Out: Eagles-Panthers predictions from me and T-Mac.
The latest injury report for tonight’s game.
The Matchup: Complete Eagles-Panthers scouting report.
Handing out midseason grades for the Eagles’ offense.
Inside Voices: McManus on the Sanchez-Jordan Matthews connection.
Video of Matthews taunting J.J. Watt and more.
Midseason grades for the Eagles defense.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Good story from Zach Berman of the Inquirer on Kelly and Sanchez:
Kelly signed Sanchez’s backup, R.J. Toman, and made other trips to the school while recruiting in California. But that practice was when Kelly first saw the player who, 10 years later, would be his starting quarterback for the Eagles. Sanchez’s first start will come Monday night against the Carolina Panthers as he replaces the injured Nick Foles.
Toman laughs at the serendipity. It would not have been a stretch to believe Sanchez would become an NFL quarterback. It was more far-fetched to think that the offensive coordinator from New Hampshire would become his coach.
Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz chimes in on Matt Barkley:
I don’t know what to say about Barkley. I know he is dying to get on the field and show what he can do, but he’s not exactly lit it up when he has played. At the same time, we see him with backups in the offseason. When he played last year, the Eagles were losing and had to throw the ball. We have yet to see Barkley play in a favorable situation.
I think he can still succeed in the NFL, but Barkley has to accept who he is. His days of being a star in high school and college are over. The thing he needs to do now is play within himself. Too often he’s forcing things and trying to make plays. That is when mistakes happen.
Is it just me, or does it feel like it’s been three weeks since the Eagles last played a game? We’ll have you covered all day before kickoff.