This might be something of a rebound year for the NFC East in terms of quality we see from the teams, as the New York Giants, finally piecing the things around Eli Manning together, hope to carry the momentum from their first win of the season into a road game against the Washington Redskins, trying to get comfortable around Kirk Cousins.
Offensively, they certainly looked like a team that has no problem with their new man at quarterback. Cousins said this week that he knows it’s Griffin’s team, but you couldn’t tell that by the 34 points the Redskins scored in a 37-34 loss to the Eagles, as Cousins did throw an interception, but also threw three touchdown passes and completed 62.5% of his passes. He has DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon as long range weapons, which might open up things for Alfred Morris, who has 253 yards over the first three games, averaging 4.3 yards per carry.
After two losses filled with frustrating turnovers and mistakes, the Giants finally cleaned things up against the Houston Texans, enjoying the train wreck performance from Ryan Fitzpatrick, which will happen from time to time. Eli Manning wasn’t intercepted for the first time this season, completed 75% of his passes and also two touchdown throws, getting Victor Cruz to dance for the fans for the first time this season.
Rashard Jennings is turning out to be quite the breakout signing. The running back, on his first season with the Giants after playing for the Oakland Raiders, had a huge day with 176 rushing yards, accounting for 61.5% of his rushing yards this season. He did without breaking out into runs longer than 18 yards, averaging 5.2 yards per carry with 34 rushes. That’s impressive, but keeping that up for an entire season might not be so easy.
The problem for the Redskins is defense, although the numbers – giving up 283 yards per game, don’t show it. The Eagles scored and moved the ball at will in the win, and now there are more injuries to the secondaries. The Giants haven’t been exactly a scary passing team recently, but Manning with time from his offensive line might be able to put on some impressive yardage. Handling the pressure from the Giants’ front, going through something of a revival, could prove to be a problem as well.
This series has mostly belonged to the Giants in recent years: They won both games last year (in the span of 28 days) and have won six of the last eight in general. With Redskins currently listing 17 players as injured at all kinds of levels, the Giants have a very good opportunity to hit 2-2, although it remains to be seen if the very complete team from the win over the Texans is actually the Giants we’re going to see all year long.