The Redskins couldn’t have planned a better weekend. As they awaited their prime-time game against the Saints on Monday night, Washington watched each of its division foes fall in dramatic fashion. After the Eagles, Cowboys and Giants lost by a combined seven points Sunday, the Redskins had the comfort of knowing that win or lose on Monday night, they would still be in first place in the NFC East and the lone team in the division without a losing record.
New York Giants (1-4)
The state of the team: Signing left tackle Nate Solder and drafting running back Saquon Barkley was supposed to fix major offensive deficiencies, but the Giants rank 28th in rushing (75.6 yards per game), 24th in scoring (20.8 points per game) and only three QBs have been sacked more than Eli Manning.
The drama: After Sunday’s 33-31 loss to the Panthers, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. said he has “no regrets” about comments he made in an ESPN interview in which he said he didn’t know if Manning was the main source for the offensive woes and that the team lacked energy and heart.
A disturbing stat: The silver lining in Sunday’s loss: The Giants scored at least 30 points for the first time in 36 games, ending the NFL’s longest streak. The last time they had reached that mark was in a 35-30 loss to the Eagles on Jan. 3, 2016.
A look ahead: Aside from the Giants, there are five other 1-4 teams and New York has three of them (Falcons, 49ers, Colts) left on its schedule.
Philadelphia Eagles (2-3)
The state of the team: The reigning Super Bowl champs don’t look anything like they did last year. After having a plus-11 turnover margin and the third best rushing attack in the league in 2017, the Eagles are a minus-4 and rank 16th in rushing yards per game (110.8).
The drama: After Sunday’s 23-21 loss to the Vikings, running back Jay Ajayi questioned the Eagles’ play-calling. Philadelphia had just five running plays in the first half. “With the offensive line we have on this team, running the ball like that, that doesn’t make sense to me,” said Ajayi, who was placed on injured reserve Monday with a torn ACL.
A disturbing stat: The Eagles are the eighth defending Super Bowl champion to start a season 2-3, The Washington Post reported. Only one of the previous seven, the 1996 Cowboys, went on to reach the playoffs.
A look ahead: None of the Eagles’ next four opponents (Giants, Panthers, Jaguars, Cowboys) rank in the top 10 in scoring offense.
Dallas Cowboys (2-3)
The state of the team: The Cowboys have the leading rusher in the NFL in Ezekiel Elliott (480 yards) and their defense hasn’t allowed more than 24 points in a game, but they have struggled to produce big plays and rank 30th in the league in scoring (16.6 points per game).
The drama: In Dallas, the drama usually involves owner Jerry Jones. After Sunday night’s 19-16 loss to the Texans, Jones questioned coach Jason Garrett’s decision to punt on fourth-and-1 from the Texans’ 42-yard line in overtime. “It’s time for risks at that particular time,” Jones told reporters.
A disturbing stat: After five games, the Cowboys’ leading receiver is Cole Beasley with 193 yards. Entering Monday, that ranked 78th in the NFL, behind even 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk (197 yards). The Rams have three receivers who have more than twice Beasley’s total.
A look ahead: Dallas’ next four opponents (Jaguars, Redskins, Titans, Eagles) entered Monday ranked in the top 10 in scoring defense.