The Philadelphia Eagles now lead the NFC East after their first win of the season against the San Francisco 49ers.
The Birds are now 1-2-1, leaving fans wondering if excitement lies ahead or if the ranking will be short-lived.
NFC EAST MISERY
After four weeks of the 2020-21 NFL season, the NFC East is a combined 3-12-1 — the second-worst division in the past 50 years. The division comes in one-half game ahead of the 1984 AFC Central, who had a combined 3-13.
In fact, the only thing that put the NFC East ahead was Philadelphia’s tie in Week 3 against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The abysmal start to the season has left the NFC East vanishing in a pit of flames. Despite the negativity, let’s be positive for a second. Since the 1970 NFL merger, the NFC East has been the most successful division. With 21 NFC Championship wins and 13 Super Bowl triumphs, they’ve done pretty well for themselves.
So, the question now is, what’s changed?
NO NAME, LOW GAME
There were low expectations for Washington coming into the season. They are in a re-build phase, and while second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins has played better than his rookie year, uncertainness in his gameplay is obvious.
In the last four weeks he has thrown three interceptions and has been sacked 13 times.
They are a half-game out of first place and their only win was against the Eagles, but it would seem as if even that was fluke.
AMERICA’S TEAM NO MORE
The Dallas Cowboys entered the season with the 6th best roster and one heck of a rumor that they would be the team to watch this year.
After Week 4, quarterback Dak Prescott became the first player in league history to total more than 450 passing yards in three consecutive games. He now has 1,690 total passing yards for the season. While numbers should equate to wins, the Cowboys are 1-3.
Despite their roster, the Cowboys defense is actually among the worst in the league. Top cornerback Byron Jones left in the offseason, and injuries wrangled Chidobe Awuzie and Anthony Brown. Joining them on the injured reserve list are linebackers, Leighton Vander Esch and Sean Lee. And just when they needed help, Jaylon Smith hasn’t been able to produce.
They have allowed 36.5 points per game, and if it wasn’t for their onside kick in Week 2 against the Atlanta Falcons, the Cowboys would be 0-4.
A GIANT FAIL
0-4. Although the Giants are not the only winless team in the NFL, they are the only winless team within the worst division in the NFL.
The Giants were banking on centering their entire offense around running back Saquon Barkley but lost him in Week 2 after suffering a season-ending knee injury.
Since then, they have put up a good fight to four of the toughest defenses, but they have scored the fewest points in the NFL this season. It’s possible they got hit with a rough schedule off the bat, which will make the upcoming weeks against division opponents telling.
THE BIRDS FLY BACK TO PHILLY WITH A WIN
Leaving the best for last (loosely speaking), the Eagles. Weeks 1-3 should have all been wins, but there have been many problems bulldozing the team.
Quarterback Carson Wentz has taken a beating from Philadelphia fans. His indecisiveness and inaccuracies have left many questioning where his 2017 MVP playmaking abilities went. He has been sacked 14 times and has more interceptions than touchdown passes.
The team has also been ravaged with injuries. The Eagles offensive line lost PFF’s highest-rated guard Brandon Brooks, 2019’s first-round pick Andre Dillard, and long-time players Jason Peters and Lane Johnson. Wide receivers Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, and Jalen Reagor are also out, and let’s not forget tight-end Dallas Goedert.
The Eagles are essentially playing 2019 all over again.
Sunday’s game not only gave the Eagles their first win and the division’s leading spot but also delivered hope. Head coach Doug Pederson was aggressive. The 2-point conversion pass to Zach Ertz gave the Eagles an 8-0 lead and highlighted Wentz’s abilities that have been absent up until now.
The Birds will meet the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens in the next two weeks. Both have three wins under their belt and will be a challenge. However, no one thought the Eagles would prevail in Week 4, and they did. Better yet, they succeeded to No. 1.