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NFC East Power Rankings | Week 4

Sports

Philadelphia Eagles beat Washington Commanders | Image by Philadelphia Eagles

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Week 3 in the NFL concluded with a classic NFC East contest between two of the division’s most storied franchises. It was the first week of action in which the four NFC East teams were pitted against one another, and the results caused a major shake-up in the power rankings ahead of Week 4.

With approximately one-sixth of the season now in the books, some of the early season positives are proving to be nothing more than a fluke, while a few teams that many people expected to be humbled because of injury are rising to the occasion.

Two of the NFC East teams exit Week 3 with matching 2-1 records, but only one of those teams earned a win over a division rival. The division leader hangs on to an unbeaten record – the only undefeated team in the NFC and one of only two teams in the NFL yet to lose a game, while their Week 4 opponent has lots of work to do to remain relevant.

1. Philadelphia Eagles (3-0, 1-0 Division)

NFL Rank per NFL.com: 1 (+2)

Week 3 Result: 24-8 Win at Washington Commanders

Quarterback Jalen Hurts has the Eagles’ offense humming as he found numerous ways to advance plays in the 24-point second quarter. Hurts is showing that the early season results were no fluke, and he is quickly maturing into the franchise quarterback Philly believed he would be when they drafted him in 2020 out of OU. He completed 22-of-35 passes for 340 yards Sunday, hitting three touchdowns against no interceptions.

The Eagles defense is a major reason this team continues to win and looks to be the top seed in the early running in the NFC East. Philly defenders got to Washington QB Carson Wentz nine times and stifled any opportunity the Commanders had until after the two-minute warning with the game well in hand.

Around the NFL’s Dan Hanzus writes in his weekly Power Rankings article that the Eagles’ most pressing problem right now is whether A.J. Brown is the team’s true WR1 after the performance of DaVonte Smith (169 yards, eight receptions, one TD).

“The Philadelphia Eagles are a big green wrecking machine right now,” Hanzus writes.

2. Dallas Cowboys (2-1, 1-0 Division)

NFL.com Rank: 13 (+8)

Week 3 Result: 23-16 Win at New York Giants

The clouds of doom and despair that hung heavily over Cowboys Nation are slowly fading as backup quarterback Cooper Rush is doing everything possible to take advantage of the opportunity to run the Cowboys offense. He put forth another excellent game, bringing his total to three wins in three career starts.

Rush finally got rolling with CeeDee Lamb against the Giants, putting a perfectly placed ball in the back corner that Lamb hauled in with his left hand to put the Cowboys ahead.

“Not bad for a guy who was cut at the end of training camp and left unclaimed by 31 other teams,” Hanzus wrote.

Linebacker Micah Parsons was obviously not full-strength on Monday after suffering an illness during the week, but he still drew enough attention to give one-on-one match-ups to fellow D-linemen.

DeMarcus Lawrence accounted for three sacks on Giants quarterback Daniel Jones. Dorance Armstrong and Donovan Wilson both added to the five-sack performance. Trevon Diggs recorded his first interception of the season, ending any chance of a late Giants rally.

3. New York Giants (2-1, 0-1 Division)

NFL.com Rank: 22 (-3)

Week 3 Result: 23-16 Loss vs. Dallas Cowboys

Big Blue hasn’t generated this much excitement from their fans in many years, but the Cinderella story came crashing down on Prime Time against a Dallas team that came looking for a fight. The brightest spot for the Giants on offense was the sudden re-emergence of running back Saquan Barkley.

Barkley rushed for 81 yards on 14 carries. Quarterback Daniel Jones accounted for the second-most yards on the ground, often picking up chunks as he ran for his life against Dallas defenders. Jones picked up 79 yards rushing.

The Giants’ offensive line will need to step up in a big way if they hope to compete for the NFC East Title. The line gave up five sacks and 12 hits on 37 passing attempts. Jones completed only 20 passes. This game might have ended differently had the Giants’ first field goal attempt not been blocked, setting up the Cowboys with a short field and, eventually, the early lead. Jones’ game-sealing interception is only his second of the season.

4. Washington Commanders (1-2, 0-1 Division)

NFL.com Rank: 30 (-3)

Week 3 Result: 24-8 Loss vs. Philadelphia Eagles

The Commanders’ victory in Week 1 seems like a long time ago after consecutive losses, first to the Lions, then to the Eagles. Almost nothing went right on Sunday for Washington. The offense was largely ineffective through three quarters. Washington had nearly as many first downs by penalty (four) as rushing (five). The only touchdown the offense could muster came with only 1:55 left on the game clock. A two-point conversion attempt failed.

The bright spot for the Commanders only came about due to the inefficiency of the offense. After the Commanders’ offense failed to convert a fourth-down near the goal line, the defense swarmed the line and earned a safety in the fourth quarter that got Washington on the board.

Hanzus wrote, “The Commanders’ offensive line is not nearly good enough right now to get this attack to a consistent, proficient level.”

Week 4 features yet another divisional match-up in the NFC East, and all four teams will play in the early slot on Sunday. The Dallas Cowboys will host the Washington Commanders in an attempt to recreate their NFC East sweep in 2021.

The Eagles will look to go to 4-0 with a home game against the feisty Jacksonville Jaguars, while the New York Giants hope to get back on track when they host the Chicago Bears.

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