NFC East: Week 9 Recap
With the Giants and Eagles resting, there were only two members of the NFC East in action this week and surely the results were welcome viewing for the teams watching the matchups from the comfort of their living rooms. Both the Redskins and the Cowboys failed to generate wins from games against the Falcons and Titans respectively, in which they were both favored.
Redskins become Falcons’ prey
If you had just watched this game from the Redskins 2018 season, you would have been sure that you were watching the 2017 team. Injuries, penalties and an anemic run defense were the hallmarks of last year’s ‘Skins, and all three were on full display again this week against the Atlanta Falcons.
In a 38-14 loss, the Redskins defensive front, that was allowing just 80 yards per game on the ground against some of the most potent running backs in the NFL, gave up 148 yards to the Falcons combined backfield who were ranked 31st in rushing coming into the game. The whiff of last season was an unwelcome visitor to FedEx field this week, and when you tally up the injuries on Washington’s side of the field by the game’s end, that whiff becomes a definite pong.
Both starting guards, Shawn Lauvao and Pro-Bowler Brandon Scherff have been lost to season ending injuries with torn MCL’s and pectorals. Wide receiver Paul Richardson also joins the pair on IR, and when added to that the lingering injuries of Chris Thompson and now, once again, Jordan Reed, Redskins’ fans have very little to be confident about heading into 4 divisional matchups in the next five weeks.
In addition to their medical woes, the Redskins gave up 147 yards on penalties during a game in which they failed to stop 10 of 13 Falcons’ third down conversions. The smell of 2017 memories has now become a stench inside of the Beltway.
Hopefully the Redskins can bounce back in the week ahead against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, otherwise their lead of the division will begin to look somewhat tenuous.
Cowboys fall to Titans
Maybe the Cowboys were just trying to make Amari Cooper feel at home by being part of a losing team, but I’m sure the recent acquisition from Oakland would have preferred to have been celebrating with his new teammates as opposed to commiserating. Despite being the lone bright spot in a forgettable MNF encounter, Cooper couldn’t help his new team to a win despite leading the team with 58 yards and a touchdown.
Star running back Ezekiel Elliott struggled as much on the night as his offensive line did, both in creating lanes for him, and protecting Dak Prescott from the Titans D-line, as well as himself. The Cowboys’ quarterback was sacked 5 times and turned the ball over twice, fumbling on a strip sack in the fourth quarter as well as throwing an ugly pick in the red zone.
This was one of just four red zone opportunities for the Cowboys, which they only managed to convert into points once. As well as this worrying stat, it is worth pointing out that the Titans held the Cowboys scoreless in the second half.
Jerry Jones may be realizing that simply overpaying for a wide receiver will not be enough to fix the Cowboys’ problems. Their team’s lack of ability to create, or stop big plays is becoming all too common a sight for Cowboys’ fans, and as I mentioned before, they will soon once again be clamouring for Jason Garrett’s head, served atop a platter of Dak Prescott’s head.
The Cowboys face the Eagles next week in a divisional matchup that, should they managed to sneak a win, could seriously shake up the standings in the NFC East.
Our NFC East reporter is Chris Milner who covers Redskins, Eagles, Cowboys, and Giants. Chris is a Washington Redskins fan who has followed the game since 2011. He is one of our fantasy football correspondents and also co-hosts the ‘Same Level Fantasy Football’ podcast. Follow him on Twitter @chrismilner