Final Word: NFC East
Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 3:
This hard land: The Dallas Cowboys host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, and historically that is good news for Dallas. The Cowboys are 10-3 all time against the Bucs, which is their second-best record against any opponent. (They're 8-1 against the Carolina Panthers). They have been especially tough against Tampa Bay at home, going 7-1 against the Bucs in Texas and winning by an average of 8.4 points per game. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is 3-0 with a 70.9 completion percentage, 11 touchdowns and no interceptions in his career against Tampa Bay. Of course, all of those stats were compiled back when you could take the end-of-game kneel-down for granted against the Bucs. All that stuff is out the window now that they bring that Rutgers-style grit and toughness to the final seconds.
Photo by Scott Rovak/US PresswireEarly stats point to a potentially big game for Redskins QB Robert Griffin III against the Bengals.
I'm on fire: Not only are the Philadelphia Eagles and the Arizona Cardinals two of only six undefeated NFL teams after two weeks, they are (if you overlook the little matter that there was a 2011 postseason) two of the league's hottest teams. The Eagles' six-game winning streak dating to last season is the longest active winning streak in the league. And the Cardinals are 7-1 since Week 12 of last season, which is tied with the Patriots for the best record in the league in that time. The last time the Eagles won seven games in a row was when they started the 2004 season 7-0.
Tougher than the rest: You have to admire the grit Cowboys tight end Jason Witten has shown coming back from his preseason spleen laceration to play in the team's first two games, but he doesn't look like himself. According to ESPN Stats & Information's "Next Level" numbers, Witten has dropped four of the 13 passes that have been thrown to him this season. He dropped four passes all of last season, and no more than three in any of the three seasons before that. Witten seems to be taking some time to round into form, but the Cowboys' passing offense could use his formerly reliable hands.
Born to run: As impressive as the Cardinals' defense has been this season, Arizona ranks in the middle of the pack against the run. Seattle's Marshawn Lynch (85 yards on 21 carries) and New England's Stevan Ridley (71 yards on 17 carries) each had some degree of success running the ball against the Cardinals in the first two weeks, although neither was spectacular. Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy got 20 carries in the opener and 25 last week against Baltimore, marking just the second time in his career he has had 20 or more carries in consecutive games. The Eagles are 9-1 all time when McCoy gets at least 20 carries. I think it's fair to say they should make this a priority.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Todd Archer joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the latest Tony Romo news and what he will be watching for in OTAs.
Play Podcast Nate Newton joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss his comments on how Jason Garrett should handle being on the hot seat and not let Jerry Jones get in the way.
Play Podcast Cowboys safety Barry Church joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the new defensive scheme and the impact it will have on him, how much more intense he expects practice to be with Monte Kiffin and his expectations.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider Ed Werder joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the latest Cowboys news, including Jason Garrett downplaying Tony Romo's involvement in offensive planning and play calling.
Play Podcast John Lynch joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss playing for Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli, why Cowboys fans should be excited about the new defensive staff, why Valley Ranch will no longer resemble a country club and his thoughts on the Cowboys' roster.
Play Podcast Herm Edwards joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the latest Cowboys news and give his take on what new face will make the biggest impact for Dallas.
Play Podcast Nate Newton joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss what he saw at the Cowboys' rookie minicamp and how he helped Rod Marinelli on the defensive side of the ball.
Play Podcast Todd Archer joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss what he took away from the Dallas Cowboys' rookie minicamp.