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10 takeaways from NFL Week 3

Musings from a stress-free Sunday.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles had a chance to relax on Sunday since they don’t face the Dallas Cowboys until later tonight on Monday Night Football. But even though the Birds didn’t play, they were still impacted by happenings elsewhere in the league. Here’s an Eagles slant to some NFL Week 3 takeaways.

1 - Sunday was a good day for the Eagles.

The Eagles received multiple favorable outcomes.

The Washington Football Team losing helped to temporarily move the Eagles back into first place in the NFC East.

The New York Giants losing cemented their status as the NFC East basement dwellers.

The Indianapolis Colts losing improved the 2022 first-round pick they’ll owe to the Eagles if Carson Wentz plays 75% of Indy’s snaps. And Wentz played all of the Colts’ snaps.

The Miami Dolphins losing improved the 2022 first-round pick they’ll owe to the Eagles.

Beat the Cowboys on Monday night and it’s a flawless week for the Birds.

2 - First in the NFC East is on the line.

The Eagles and Cowboys are both entering tonight’s game at 1-1. Getting to 2-1 hardly secures the division for either team with 14 games still left to play after this one.

But a win will certainly be a nice boost for one side. And it could go towards either team building confidence as the division favorite.

There’s a case to be made the Cowboys need this game more. Unlike the Eagles, who are admittedly in a “transition period,” Dallas is all in to win a championship now. But that doesn’t mean the Birds can’t pull off an upset. It’s a big opportunity to Nick Sirianni, Jalen Hurts, and company to earn some national respect with a road win in primetime.

NFC EAST STANDINGS

1 - Philadelphia Eagles: 1-1
2 - Dallas Cowboys: 1-1
3 - Washington Football Team: 1-2
4 - New York Giants: 0-3

3 - Are the Cowboys looking tougher than expected?

Cowboys fans went a little overboard in celebrating their “moral victory” over the Buccaneers in Week 1. But there are worse losses to have than a two-point defeat on the road against the defending Super Bowl champs.

In Week 2, the Cowboys managed to travel out west to beat a quality Los Angeles Chargers team that just knocked off the Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium.

So, just how good are the Cowboys? Do they truly belong among the NFC’s elites? The feeling here is they have more to prove before earning such a distinction. The potential is there for them to do that, though. The offense can put up points and the defense, while flawed, isn’t as big of a disaster as it was in 2020.

There’s a reason the Eagles are more than standard 3-point underdogs in this matchup. It’s a tough test for the Birds. It’ll take a big effort to leave AT&T Stadium with a win.

4 - The Giants still stink.

I knew the Giants were bad. But so bad that they can’t even beat the Falcons? They can’t score more than 14 points against that defense? Coming off extra rest? While at home? On the day that Eli Manning’s number was retired?

New York football is pathetic. The Giants and Jets are both 18-49 since the start of the 2017 season. For perspective, the Eagles won 16 games (including playoffs) during the 2017 season alone.

Giants co-owner John Mara was booed during Sunday’s game and was reportedly pretty frustrated afterwards.

One would think Dave Gettleman is on borrowed time. And Joe Judge shouldn’t be safe, either. I mean, this is a dude who punted from 4th-and-4 at the Falcons’ 39-yard line while trailing.

But, hey, don’t worry. Everything is gonna be fine!

Fair point, except for the fact that it’s totally false. The Giants are not going to be fine. Their next six games: at Saints, at Cowboys, vs. Rams, vs. Panthers, at Chiefs, vs. Raiders. That’s like one or two wins in a best case scenario. They could feasibly start the season 0-9.

Making matters even worse for the Giants is that they just lost one of their best players for the season. Starting linebacker Blake Martinez suffered an ACL injury during Sunday’s loss.

The Giants’ ineptitude since winning their last title really underscores how their championship success was much more a result of incredible luck than impressive competence.

I almost feel bad for their fans. But not really!

5 - Washington’s defense is no longer scary.

Heading into the season, there was thought that the Football Team might be even better on defense in 2021. Or at least very good again. Young studs like Chase Young and Kamren Curl only had room to improve. Adding William Jackson III was an upgrade over Ronald Darby. A first-round pick was spent on Jamin Davis. Continuity was in place with Ron Rivera and Jack Del Rio back for their second seasons.

Perhaps things will improve down the road since there’s talent on this unit. As it currently stands, though, this defense isn’t scaring anyone. Only three teams have allowed more points this season: the Kansas City Chiefs, the Detroit Lions, and the Atlanta Falcons. Washington’s 5.9 yards per play allowed ranks 22nd in the league.

There isn’t incredible shame in the Football Team getting beat up by the Bills’ offense. Buffalo has a lot of talent and a potential MVP candidate in Josh Allen. But Allen struggled over his first two weeks and had a “get right” game against Washington. And the Football Team allowed 29 points and 391 yards of offense to the friggin’ Giants. Daniel Jones had one of his best career games against Washington.

The Football Team obviously has offensive issues as well with Taylor Heinicke not being a viable option for a contending team. Maybe Washington will bounce back if/when Ryan Fitzpatrick is able to return ... but it’s not looking great for them early on.

Ironically, a temporary step back for the Football Team might be what’s best for them in the long run. A bad season could help them find their quarterback of the future in the 2022 NFL Draft.

6 - The Chiefs will be hungry for a win at the Linc in Week 4.

The Eagles’ focus needs to be on the Cowboys but it’s hard not for outsiders such as myself to take a peek at next week’s matchup. The Eagles are going to be playing on short rest against a Chiefs team that desperately needs to win after dropping to 1-2 and last in a very competitive AFC West. Andy Reid, who seems to be stable after a health scare, is 2-0 against his former team. The Chiefs are going to be favored to make it 3-0. All the more reason to beat Dallas this week.

7 - The Eagles’ extra 2022 draft picks are looking good early on.

As noted in our weekly Eagles 2022 first-round picks tracker, Philly would be picking at No. 3 (Colts pick), No. 6 (Dolphins pick), and No. 19 (Eagles) in the 2022 NFL Draft if the season ended today ... which it doesn’t.

Next week’s Colts-Dolphins game is going to be an interesting one to watch for the Eagles’ sake. The Birds could really use an Indy win with Carson Wentz playing the entire game and looking relatively good under center. It’d be preferable for the Colts to not totally have the bottom fall out so they bench Wentz to prevent Philly from getting their first-round selection. Then again, not the worst thing if the Eagles end up getting a high second-round pick for their former quarterback who totally fell apart. Wentz is very clearly still the stubborn player he was in Philly, thus making the idea of “fixing him” a preposterous proposition. The Colts win coinciding with a Dolphins loss would be a really nice bonus in terms of making the Miami pick more favorable for Philly.

Next six for the Colts: at Dolphins, at Ravens, vs. Texans, at 49ers, vs. Titans, vs. Jets. I’m thinking they get to around 3-6. That record could keep them alive in the AFC South. Just need the Titans to not totally run away with the division.

Next six for the Dolphins: vs. Colts, at Buccaneers, at Jaguars, vs. Falcons, at Bills, vs. Texans. Miami will probably be something like 4-5 after this stretch. Really need them to lose to the Colts.

8 - The Panthers are looking better than expected but they’re also banged up.

Many probably had the Carolina game as a W for the Eagles in their win-loss projections after the schedule came out. And it still might turn out that way. But Carolina isn’t looking like the pushover that some expected them to be.

I’m still not fully buying into Sam Darnold, who was fortunate to get away with two really bad fumbles on Thursday night. But there’s at least reason to believe he can help the Panthers be competitive with Matt Rhule and Joe Brady steering the ship. This game could be a challenge for the Eagles.

One thing that might work in Philly’s favor is the injury bug. The Panthers are going to be without star running back Christian McCaffrey and rookie cornerback Jaycee Horn in Week 5. Carolina did reinforce their corner position by trading for C.J. Henderson on Monday morning.

9 - DeSean Jackson’s still got it.

Which is annoying to see. Jackson was only healthy for about 10% of the Eagles’ offensive when he returned to Philly. Now he’s making big plays for the Los Angeles Rams. He might not be far off from getting hurt again knowing his injury history. But there’s no question he’s still a weapon when he’s healthy. Jackson had three receptions for 120 yards and one score in the Rams’ win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

10 - Jason Peters does not still got it.

Please just retire, JP.