NFC East: 2013 Week 11 Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: New York Giants

November, 17, 2013
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A few thoughts on the New York Giants' 27-13 victory over the Green Bay Packers:

What it means: The Giants are now on a four-game winning streak after starting the season 0-6. They sit a game and a half behind the NFC East-leading Eagles, who they don't play again, and one game behind the second-place Cowboys, who come to town next week. Whatever you think of the level of competition they have faced during the streak, or how shaky Eli Manning still looks, the math puts them in a position to make a run for the postseason if they can play better than they have so far.

Stock watch: Jason Pierre-Paul, UP. After Pierre-Paul suffered a shoulder injury in last Sunday's game and missed two days of practice, there was some doubt as to whether he'd play in this game. Play he did, about two-thirds of the Giants' defensive snaps, and it was his leaping interception and return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter that put the Giants ahead by two touchdowns and finally put the game away after the Packers had cut down the lead.

Points: Wide receiver Victor Cruz was the offensive star of the game with eight catches (including some acrobatic ones) for 110 yards, though Rueben Randle caught the touchdown pass to raise his team-leading total to six for the season. Andre Brown looked good running the ball, especially in the first half, but Brandon Jacobs stole the rushing touchdown from him. Jacobs also picked up two short fourth-down conversions. All in all, the offense looks better. And though Pierre-Paul provided some of his own, the Giants' 27 points represented their highest single-game total since Week 1.

What's next: The Giants host the 5-5 Cowboys next Sunday at MetLife Stadium. The Cowboys had a bye this week and are hoping to be healthier on defense when they return from it, but star middle linebacker Sean Lee is likely to miss the game due to his hamstring injury. The Cowboys beat the Giants 36-31 in the regular-season opener in Dallas.

Rapid Reaction: Washington Redskins

November, 17, 2013

PHILADELPHIA -- A few thoughts after the Washington Redskins' 24-16 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles:

What it means: The Redskins' season is over. The plug was pulled early Sunday afternoon courtesy of the Eagles. So one year after winning the division and then entering the season with plenty of optimism, the Redskins won’t even make it to the end of December in the hunt for a playoff spot. They can blame the cap issues and Robert Griffin III’s knee all they want, but this disaster goes beyond those issues. To think otherwise would be a failure to learn why this season unraveled. They recovered in the fourth quarter to make it a competitive score and even had the ball with a chance to drive for the tie. But they played so poorly for three quarters that they needed a miracle comeback. At 3-7, the Redskins have shown no ability to play well in consecutive weeks, and lately it’s been tough to even put one complete game together. For a while this was going to be perhaps the worst loss in the Mike Shanahan era when the game turned. Good to come back; but you can’t overlook why they dug themselves such a deep hole.

Red zone failures: The Redskins did not play well, but had they executed better in the red zone, they could have won this game. Griffin was hit and fumbled in the first half inside the Eagles' 10-yard line. He hung onto the ball, but Roy Helu failed to block the linebacker and it did not look like any receiver had won their one-on-one battle. Then, on the final drive of the game, he was under pressure and appeared to try to throw the ball away out of the end zone. But he left it about 5 yards short, leading to an easy interception.

Defensive doesn't get it done: The Redskins' defense said it’d be much improved from the opener, but the Eagles didn’t have a whole lot of trouble in building a 24-0 lead as Washington missed too many tackles and allowed 6.5 yards per play. It fared better in the last quarter and a half, especially on third down. But it wasn’t enough.

No happy returns: Nick Williams was active and replaced Josh Morgan as a punt returner, but he did not have a strong day in that department. He muffed one punt and failed to field another, forcing the Redskins to drive 96 yards. Williams did catch a two-point conversion, but he did not distinguish himself on returns.

Up next: The Redskins host San Francisco a week from Monday, the first of three straight home games.

Rapid Reaction: Philadelphia Eagles

November, 17, 2013

PHILADELPHIA -- A few thoughts on the Philadelphia Eagles24-16 victory over the Washington Redskins:

What it means: The Eagles are in first place in the NFC East and, at 6-5, above .500 for the first time since Week 1. They also put a merciful end to their franchise-record 10-game losing streak at home. The game also represented the third strong performance in a row for Nick Foles, making it very unlikely coach Chip Kelly will go back to Michael Vick when Vick fully recovers from his hamstring injury. The Eagles swept Washington, taking big leads in both games and then white-knuckling at the end. Brandon Boykin's end zone interception preserved the victory for the Eagles.

McCoy, for real: The Eagles got a scare late in the first half when running back LeSean McCoy clutched his right hamstring after a run. McCoy went to the locker room for the last few minutes of the second quarter. He returned after halftime, however, and surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season. McCoy finished with 77 yards on 20 carries. He had two 1-yard rushing touchdowns.

Stock watch: Rising: Bill Davis. The Eagles' defensive coordinator had an excellent scheme and called a great game against Robert Griffin III and Alfred Morris. Since that terrible 52-20 loss in Denver, the Eagles haven't allowed an opponent to score more than 21 points. If the offense had been effective in two home losses against the Cowboys and Giants, the Eagles could easily be at 8-3 with a seven-game winning streak. Davis has the players buying into, and really starting to thrive in, his 3-4 defense. Griffin made things interesting at the end, but Davis' defense ultimately held.

What’s next: The Eagles go into their bye week with a three-game winning streak. When they come back, they have back-to-back home games against Arizona (Dec. 1) and Detroit (Dec. 8). The late bye should help a handful of players with nagging injuries to heal, including left tackle Jason Peters, cornerback Bradley Fletcher and linebacker Mychal Kendricks.