Week 3 proved to be an intriguing week for the NFC East. Just three weeks into the season, and it is clear that this division will go down right to the wire. Week three saw impressive wins for the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins. For the New York Giants, however, it was a devastating defeat that leaves them still without a win this season.
Let’s take a further look at how each team fared in week 3.
Dallas Cowboys 28-17 Arizona Cardinals
The Dallas Cowboys were looking to bounce back swiftly from their 42-17 loss to the Denver Broncos in week 2. Despite a shaky start, the Cowboys claimed a 28-17 victory on the road over the Arizona Cardinals.
In this game, we saw glimpses of the Dak Prescott that set the league alight in his rookie season. Prescott completed 13 of his 18 passes for 183 yards and recorded 2 touchdowns. Week 3 also saw Ezekiel Elliot enjoy success after a torrid game against the Broncos in week 2. Elliot posted just 8 rushing yards in 9 attempts against the formidable Denver defense. It was largely business as usual for both Prescott and Zeke as we have come to expect over the past season plus for the young pairing.
Week 3 also saw big games for receivers Brice Butler and Terrence Williams. In 2 receptions, Butler recorded 90 receiving yards, which included a 37 yard touchdown and a 53 yard gain. The Dallas offense looked back to its best on Monday and with a tough schedule ahead plus divisional rivals performing well, it is vital for the Cowboys to maintain consistency.
The Cowboys defense struggled to contain the Cardinals offense initially. During the first quarter, 6 of the Cardinals completed passes went for 10 yards or more. One of which included a 25 yard touchdown for John Brown handing Arizona an early lead. However, after some reshuffling, the Cowboys defense soon took over. Following the first quarter, the Cowboys defense recorded 6 sacks and haulted the early pressure supplied by the Arizona receivers. DeMarcus Lawrence starred for the Cowboys defense, sacking Carson Palmer three times. Lawrence now has 6.5 sacks in the opening three games, the most in the league so far.
Dallas’ next two games will be at home. They will host the Los Angeles Rams in week 4, followed by the Green Bay Packers in week 5. Looking to build on the Cardinals win, the Cowboys will aim to put firm pressure on the other teams in the NFC East. It is also important they pick up maximum wins before a tough schedule that lies ahead. The Cowboys still have road games at Atlanta and Oakland, as well as crucial divisional games towards the back end of the season.
Washington Redskins 27-10 Oakland Radiers
Despite the odds being overwhelmingly stacked against them, the Washington Redskins managed to overcome a Raiders side that have been in strong form to start this season. Coming off an impressive performance against the Rams in week 2, the Redskins carried over this momentum over into the nations capital.
Kirk Cousins was quickly in stride in this one and finished completing 25 of his 30 passes for 365 yards. Cousins was able to take advantage of his deep receiving core. Redskins fans will have certainly been excited after watching 2016 first round pick Josh Doctson’s 52 yard touchdown. Despite the absence of Rob Kelley, the Redskins were able to further build on their running game from week 2. Rookie Samaje Perine recorded 49 rushing yards in 19 attempts, alongside Chris Thompson who impressed yet again in the backfield.
The Redskins secondary was most impressive in week 3. The Oakland Raiders had enjoyed large amounts of success in the opening 2 weeks. Going into week 3 at 2-0, and coming off a 45-20 win over the New York Jets, their offensive dominance was set to continue. However, the Redskins defense restricted Derrick Carr to just 118 passing yards, with 2 interceptions and 4 sacks. Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree have enjoyed fantastic starts to the season, combining for 258 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns. The Redskins secondary limited the receiving duo to a combined 2 receptions for 13 yards. For more on Washington’s win over Oakland, read our Good & Bad Takeaways.
The Redskins will now travel to Kansas City to face the Chiefs in week 4. Like the Raiders, the Chiefs have experienced a very strong start to their 2017 campaign. They are only one of two teams with a perfect 3-0 record to start the season. The Redskins will have their hands full in attempting to contain the Chiefs’ explosive offense. Can Cousins and co. continue their impressive start to the season?
Philadelphia Eagles 27-24 New York Giants
This was a dramatic win for the Philadelphia Eagles that came right down to the wire. A 61 yard field goal from Jake Elliot decided the matchup in week 3 in what was an enthralling divisional matchup. The Eagles now have a 2-1 record, but sit top of the division with a 2-0 divisional record.
The Eagles were able to contain the Giants offense for the vast majority of the game but a seven minute frenzy saw the Giants overturn a 14-0 deficit, to lead 21-14 in the fourth. This exposed some fragility in the Eagles’ secondary.
Carson Wentz impressed yet again, completing 21 passes for 176 yards with one touchdown. The Eagles strong run game was a big takeaway from Sunday’s game. LeGarrette Blount and Wendell Smallwood combined for 138 rushing yards, with Blount scoring a touchdown in the second quarter.
The Eagles have made a strong start to the season and the question will be whether or they can maintain this high level of performances. The Eagles travel to Los Angeles to face the Chargers in week 4, who are currently 0-3. A win is crucial for the Eagles in maintaining the pressure on their divisional rivals to match their results but the Chargers will be a tough match up as they’re looking to save their season – a tough match up for Philadelphia.
New York Giants 24-27 Philadelphia Eagles
For the New York Giants this was yet another devastating blow. The Giants now sit bottom of the NFC East with an 0-3 record and two divisional losses. With their divisional rivals all picking up impressive wins, the Giants are at risk of falling away from the pack.
The opening seven minutes in the fourth quarter was the only real positive for the Giants in week 3. Two touchdowns for Odell Beckham Jr, followed by a 77 yard touchdown for Sterling Shepard seemed to send the Giants on their way to their first victory of the season. However, Jake Elliot’s 61 yard field goal brought an end to a quite remarkable NFC East clash, leaving the Giants still awaiting their first win the of season.
The Giants next two games see them face the Buccaneers and Chargers. These are must win games, especially when considering the Broncos and Seahawks are looming on the horizon.
We are only three weeks into the 2017 season so it is important not to get carried away. Yet it looks as if the NFC East will be hard fought for this season, especially with the difficulty of schedules towards the tail end. For all four teams, it is now the case of picking up as many wins as possible, to set themselves up for the back end of the season where the divisional games come into play. The NFC East is routinely a “beat-each-other-up” division and it has not disappointed so far in 2017.
NFC East, Week 3 Round Up