The Philadelphia Eagles got to spend Sunday resting and relaxing after beating the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night. But even though the Birds didn’t play, they still were impacted by other games around the league. Here are some Eagles-related NFL Week 4 takeaways.
1 - The Cowboys didn’t look so good against a quality opponent
The Cowboys couldn’t have asked for an easier start to their 2019 schedule.
WEEK 1 (HOME) - NEW YORK GIANTS - Eli Manning’s penultimate game as a starting quarterback prior to being benched.
WEEK 2 (AWAY) - WASHINGTON - Worst team in the NFC.
WEEK 3 (HOME) - MIAMI DOLPHINS - Worst team in the NFL.
Those three teams have a combined 2-10 record and the only two wins came after the Giants made a quarterback change.
Despite the fact they were missing Drew Brees, the Saints figured to be the Cowboys’ first real test in 2019. So, how did Dallas respond?
Not great! Offensive genius Kellen Moore led the Cowboys to a mere 10 points. Elite quarterback Dak Prescott posted an underwhelming 73.2 passer rating. The Cowboys lost to the Saints despite the fact New Orleans didn’t even score a touchdown.
This was a big missed opportunity for the Cowboys. Winning in New Orleans isn’t easy, no, but Teddy Bridgewater looked eminently beatable on Sunday night. He didn’t play well at all.
Making matters worse for the Cowboys is that starting left tackle Tyron Smith suffered an ankle injury. The severity remains to be seen but it’s very bad news for the Cowboys if he has to miss significant playing time.
The Cowboys have another significant test in Week 5 as they host a Packers team coming off extra rest. Aaron Rodgers has played well against Dallas in the past and if he keeps that trend up the Cowboys could suddenly be 3-2.
Meanwhile, the Eagles could also be 3-2 if they take care of business against the Jets in Week 5.
2 - The Giants have some life with Daniel Jones
A lot of people — myself included — made fun of the Giants for drafting Jones at No. 6 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft.
So far, though, it’s the Giants who are laughing at people who doubted them. Jones is 2-0 in his first two starts for the G-Men.
It remains to be seen just how good Jones is but at the very least he’s a big upgrade on a washed up Manning at this point. Jones did a nice job of leading the Giants on some scoring drives against Washington. He looks pretty composed for a rookie and he’s shown off quality athleticism.
That’s hardly to suggest that Jones was perfect. He threw two interceptions and he had a third pick dropped by Josh Norman.
The early returns on Jones are positive for the Giants. The Eagles might not be able to dominate the G-Men so easily like they always do if he’s actually any good.
3 - Washington stinks and Dwayne Haskins doesn’t look ready
Washington pulled the plug on Case Keenum by benching the veteran in favor of first-round pick Dwayne Haskins on Sunday.
Haskins’ debut sure wasn’t pretty. Despite facing an awful Giants defense, he went 9/17 for 107 yards, 0 TD, 3 INT, and a 32.8 passer rating. Unlike Jones, Haskins didn’t look composed or that he really knew what he was doing out there.
In fairness to Haskins, his support system is pretty trash. He might also benefit from having a full week of first-team reps as opposed to coming into the game cold off the bench.
Still, it seems safe to say Haskins isn’t some rookie sensation who’s going to dig Washington out of the deep 0-4 hole they’re in to begin the 2019 season. Washington is poised for a top five selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. It’s also just a matter of time until Jay Gruden gets fired.
The Lions came pretty close to upsetting the Chiefs on Sunday. If Detroit hadn’t fumbled twice in the end zone — and given up a 101-yard touchdown return on one of those — they would’ve been able to defeat Patrick Mahomes.
So, if you’re looking for a silver-lining to the Eagles’ Week 3 loss to the Lions, there you go. Maybe Detroit isn’t so bad as we thought they were.
On the other hand, the Eagles’ loss to the Falcons is looking pretty awful right now! Atlanta’s three games outside of their wins over Philly:
WEEK 1 (AWAY) - 28 to 12 loss to the Minnesota Vikings
WEEK 3 (AWAY) - 27 to 24 loss to the Indianapolis Colts
WEEK 4 (HOME) - 24 to 10 loss to the Tennessee Titans
Would’ve been pretty nice if Nelson Agholor hadn’t dropped that game-winning touchdown pass from Carson Wentz.
In addition to the Falcons loss not looking so great, the Eagles struggling against Washington in Week 1 hasn’t aged so well either.
But, hey, the Eagles beating the Packers in Week 4 was really impressive so just focus on that and conveniently ignore everything else!
5 - Week 8 will be a tough one for the Eagles
The Bills lost to the Patriots this weekend but not without heck of a fight. Buffalo’s defense limited Tom Brady to a 46.2% completion percentage, a paltry 3.8 yards per attempt, zero touchdowns, one interception, and a mere 45.9 passer rating. Former Philadelphia defensive coordinator Sean McDermott has built a formidable defense that should challenge the Eagles when they visit Buffalo in Week 8. That matchup could be especially tough for the Birds since it’ll be the third straight road game for them.
On the flip side, the Bills’ offense isn’t really scaring anybody with Josh Allen under center. Allen looked awful against New England; he completed just 46.4% of his attempts for a 5.5 average, zero touchdowns, three interceptions, and a 24.0 passer rating. The Bills were competitive against the Pats in part because former Eagles legend Frank Gore was able to churn out 109 yards on 17 carries.
6 - Jared Goff: Actually bad?
Goff’s average passer rating over his last 12 starts (including playoffs) is ... 80.
To put that number in perspective, a quarterback with that passer rating would’ve ranked 31st out of 35 qualifying quarterbacks last season.
Goff threw two touchdowns and three interceptions for a 80.3 rating during the Rams’ surprising Week 4 home loss to the Buccaneers. Pretty bad loss for a Los Angeles team that should be questioning if they made the right decision to sign Goff to a huge contract extension.
7 - Jalen Ramsey might not be available?
On Sunday afternoon, Ramsey was declared inactive after dealing with some back pain this week. Ramsey has also been reiterating that he still wants a trade. Will that change at all with the Jags winning their last two games to advance to 2-2 in a wide open AFC South?
The Jags could easily decide to hold on to Ramsey. The Eagles might have to look elsewhere for cornerback help.
On a different note, there’s no way Nick Foles gets his starting job back if Gardner Minshew keeps this up, right? The rookie quarterback is showing some real promise. He’s thrown seven touchdowns to just one interception for a 106.9 passer rating this season.
8 - Another cornerback might be available?
If the Eagles are looking to trade for a corner and Ramsey isn’t available, they could look to trade for four-time Pro Bowl selection Chris Harris Jr.
The Broncos, who dropped to 0-4 on Sunday, could be motivated to sell off the veteran defender since he’s in the last year of his contract anyway. Harris could appeal to the Eagles since he’s versatile and he has experience with defensive backs coach Cory Undlin, who previously coached in Denver. Harris has logged 18 interceptions and 75 passes defensed since becoming a full-time starter in 2012.
Harris should be available at an affordable cost. And if the Eagles don’t re-sign him, they can potentially get a compensatory pick if he leaves in free agency.
9 - The starting quarterback of a future Eagles opponent is hurt
Bears starting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky injured his shoulder during Chicago’s win over the Vikings on Sunday. The extent of the injury remains to be seen.
Chicago might actually be better off with Chase Daniel given how much Trubisky has struggled. That’s good news for the Bears in the short-term but it’s pretty bad news for Chicago in the long-term. And while Daniel might be better, it’s not like the former Eagles backup is actually any good.
What IS actually good is the Bears’ defense. Shutdown unit.
The Eagles will face the Bears at Lincoln Financial Field in Week 9.
10 - Kirk Cousins is a loser
The Vikings gave Cousins a FULLY GUARANTEED CONTRACT worth $84 million over three years back in March 2018.
Cousins has repaid the Vikings by coming up extremely small in big moments, as he’s wont to do. Last year Cousins was a no-show for a Week 17 game against the Bears — who didn’t even have anything to play for — that eliminated Minnesota from making the playoffs. This year, Cousins has logged just a 88.6 passer rating through four starts. He couldn’t really do anything against the Bears defense in Week 4.
Cousins’ teammates are clearly frustrated with him:
Adam Thielen: "At some point, you're not going to be able to run the ball for 180 yards, even with the best running back in the NFL. That's when you have to be able to throw the ball. ... You have to be able to hit the deep balls."— Chad Graff (@ChadGraff) September 30, 2019
Adam Thielen on the overthrown pass from Kirk Cousins that seemingly would have gone for a touchdown: "He made a great read of finding me open, and just didn't complete the pass. It's as simple as that."— Chad Graff (@ChadGraff) September 30, 2019
In fairness to the Vikings, it was tough to predict the Cousins contract wouldn’t work out. Except ... it wasn’t at all.
Cousins is now 36-39-2 as a starter. He’s 4-24 against teams that finish the season with nine-plus wins and 8-27 against teams that finish the season with eight-plus wins. He doesn’t really beat good teams.
The Eagles will hope Cousins’ struggles continue when they play the Vikings in Minnesota in Week 6. Cousins has had the Eagles’ number in the past but he’s not trending in a good way right now.