The NFC East is proving to be a highly competitive division in 2022 after Week 4 action. If Week 3 was about finding an identity as a team, Week 4 was about demonstrating what that team is capable of doing.
One team showed just what they are made of, winning in trying conditions while another featured a history-making performance from a backup quarterback. For two of the NFC East teams, Week 4 will hopefully be a forgotten memory when Week 5 games begin, or both teams could be watching their 2022 campaign slip out of reach.
The four teams in the NFC East won’t change rankings much this week for various reasons. Two of the division’s current top teams are likely eyeing match-ups against other NFC teams and dreaming of playoff positioning, while the bottom half is finding out that winning in the NFL isn’t easy.
1. Philadelphia Eagles (4-0, 1-0 division)
NFL Rank per NFL.com: 1 (no change)
Week 4 Result: 29-21 Win vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Eagles are the only unbeaten team remaining in the NFL and are flying high on a gritty performance by the running back committee in sloppy conditions. With a steady rain coming down at Lincoln Financial Field, the Eagles turned to running back Miles Sanders, who churned out 134 yards on 27 totes for two touchdowns. Jalen Hurts passed for only 204 yards, the lowest number of his season, and did not throw a touchdown pass, but used his rushing ability to score a three-yard TD in the first half.
Philadelphia continues to look like one of the more complete teams, with excellent play on both offensive and defensive lines early in the season. The defense held Jacksonville to only 71 yards on the ground on a day when the weather demanded a rushing presence and forced QB Trevor Lawrence to try and beat them through the air. Lawrence threw an interception in the third quarter that led to a field goal, then fumbled the ball on the ensuing drive while being sacked. That turnover led to the Eagles’ final touchdown.
Philadelphia will face the Arizona Cardinals this week and will look to defend the best start to a season since 2004, the last time the Eagles made the Super Bowl.
2. Dallas Cowboys (3-1, 2-0 Division)
NFL.com Rank: 13 (no change)
Week 4 Result: 25-10 Win vs. Washington Commanders
Dan Quinn’s defensive schemes in Dallas are proving that this is a unit that can manhandle any opponent they face. The defense is playing fearless football, forcing opponents into submission and paving a golden road for backup quarterback Cooper Rush to do only as much as is necessary to get a win. Defeating any division rival as a backup is tough, but doing it two weeks in a row is a rarity. Rush pulled it off and is now the only quarterback in Cowboys history to win his first four starts.
Cowboys defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. and defensive end Neville Gallimore both recorded sacks on QB Carson Wentz, who looked scrambled all night. Wentz was hit 11 times by defenders and completed only 59 percent of his passes. The defense also racked up two interceptions against Washington, including one by Trevon Diggs and another by fifth-round rookie DaRon Bland, who saw action replacing Jourdan Lewis at corner after Lewis sustained a groin injury in warm-ups.
Rush and the offensive line will have one of the bigger challenges ahead this week when they face Aaron Donald and the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.
3. New York Giants (3-1, 0-1 Division)
NFL.com Rank: 19 (+3)
Week 4 Result: 20-12 Win vs. Chicago Bears
Brian Daboll has the New York Giants trending in the right direction for the first time in seemingly forever as the Giants held off the Chicago Bears despite losing both starting and backup quarterbacks in the fourth quarter. Fortunately for New York, the day was won by Saquon Barkley and the offensive line. Barkley led the team with 146 yards on 31 carries, but it was QB Daniel Jones who managed to score both touchdowns for Big Blue.
After Jones exited with an ankle injury, backup Tyrod Taylor entered but was knocked out of the game only a few plays later. With Taylor in concussion protocol and Jones unable to take the field, Daboll went with a wildcat package, feeding Barkley with direct snaps. Jones eventually re-entered the game but did not throw another pass. The defense surrendered 304 yards on offense but compiled six sacks on the day.
Much will depend on the status of Jones’ ankle ahead of the Giants’ international game against the Green Bay Packers in London on Sunday. Without Jones at 100 percent, the Giants could find the game tough sledding. Fortunately, Barkley is performing at a level not seen since his rookie campaign.
4. Washington Commanders (1-3, 0-2 Division)
NFL.com Rank: 29 (+1)
Week 4 Result: 25-10 Loss at Dallas Cowboys
The Commanders have now lost to two of their three division rivals, and the offensive line looks a mess. Quarterback Carson Wentz was flummoxed by creative pass and rush defensive schemes executed by the Cowboys. While the line only allowed two sacks, Wentz was hit 11 times and had to toss away numerous passes in order to prevent getting his head taken off by Micah Parsons, Neville Gallimore, and Dante Fowler Jr.
Defensively, the Commanders managed to contain a Dallas ground game that the team is still trying to figure out, but Washington made their fair share of mistakes. In all, Washington committed 11 penalties, two of which were drive-extending pass interference calls that cost the team 136 yards, more than double the 62 yards the Cowboys earned on the ground.