Week 12 has passed, and we look forward to Week 13. The NFC East has shown a drastically inconsistent blah. One QB, Philadelphia’s Michael Vick, is sidelined with a concussion. His rookie backup, who looked so promising in the preseason and even the game in which he took over for Vick, has lost his first two starts as an NFL quarterback. Eli Manning, having suffered through four straight weeks of a dry spell (zero TDs, 11 INTs), came back in Week Twelve and dominated over Green Bay. Cowboys’ Tony Romo continues his consistent play of peaks and valleys (consistent because it’s one week to the next), and Robert Griffin the Third continued to make his mark on the game of football. Which is why we begin the Number One QB in the NFC East:
- Robert Griffin (no change)
Griffin Plays on Monday night against the New York Giants. We will see two electrifying QBs gunning against each other, but for now, Griffin remains on top. In his last game against the Cowboys (on Thanksgiving Day), Griffin threw for 311 yards against Romo’s 441, but he did it in just 20 completions (vs. Romo’s 37) in just 28 attempts. He threw four touchdowns and an interception, but he also busted out 29 yards on the ground. I consider that negating the INT.
It’s Griffin’s ability to scramble out of the pocket and make something out of nothing that makes him such a stellar player. Where many QBs would slide or fall on the ball trying to avoid a fumble, Griffin is not afraid to get some yardage, any kind of yardage out of each play. Granted, he was sacked four times against Dallas for a loss of 16 yards, but his QB rating of 132.6 was well-deserved.
- Eli Manning (up one)
How quickly the tune can change in the course of a week. Manning was as good in Week Twelve as he was bad in his previous four games. The question is, which Manning will we see Monday night, the one who blistered the Green Bay defense with 3 TDs, or the one who spent the past four weeks before his bye throwing nothing but interceptions?
The only problem Manning had last Sunday was, in fact, his completion percentage. 16-30 is a smidge over 50%, and Manning’s better than that. He was only sacked once, but his 114.4 QB rating is well above Dallas’s Tony Romo.
- Tony Romo (down one)
Romo threw for 441 yards against the Redskins in Washington, D.C., and he threw three touchdowns. He also had two INTs and lost more yards in two sacks (18) than Griffin did in four (16). His QB rating of 84.1 is nothing to be ashamed of, but let’s face it: If you’re throwing for 441 yards a game, you’d expect a couple more TDs. After all, 441 yards is 4-1/2 TDs in yards.
Romo continues to excite one week and disappoint the next. Were it not for a solid defense, the Dallas Cowboys could be in the Eagles’ shoes right now.
- Nick Foles
Poor Nick Foles. Rookie, third-round pick, asked to pick up a team that his starter couldn’t get moving, no offensive line in front of him… what’s he to do?
Here’s what he needs to do: Stay in the pocket. Shake his front line and ask, “What more do you want from me?” Foles threw a respectable 16-for-21, but he only got 119 yards, a respectable 76 percent. But his yards-per-attempt were only 5.7. Why, you ask? It was evident when he took over for a concussed Vick three weeks ago: Foles drops a good fifteen yards back before he attempts a pass. By the time he makes a twenty-yard completion, the ball has only moved five yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Nick needs to learn to trust his offensive line, no matter how horrible, and trust them to make the big blocks. Those 20-yard passes can turn into first downs. Until he gets over his temerity in the pocket, he will never get the big play.
This weekend, four teams in the same division play each other: The Eagles meet the Cowboys on Sunday night, and the Redskins face off against the Giants on Monday. Given the way this division is shaping up, this could be the most interesting weekend the NFC East has seen in a long time. Imagine this: Redskins beat the Giants. Eagles win the rest of the season. We could be looking at two 8-8 teams at the end of the season.
All four of them could end up 8-8 as of today. With inter-conference and inter-division games at hand for most of them, it could come down to an Eagles-Giants showdown for a playoff berth in their final meeting, Week Seventeen. And the Eagles have already beaten the Giants once this season.
But no one outside of Philly (and most of those in there) don’t see that happening.