Remember when it was called the NFC Beast?

Now ,
it's a pussy cat.Washington leads the division at 2-2, followed by Dallas and
Philadelphia at 2-3, New York at 1-4. The Giants host the Eagles — the defending
Super Bowl champion Eagles, who have looked anything but title worthy so far —
on Thursday night.Eagles coach Doug Pederson has cited "self-inflicted wounds"
as a major reason for injury-riddled Philly's struggles. His offensive
coordinator, Mike Groh, concurs."We obviously don't condone those kinds of
mistakes," Groh says. "The guys that are responsible for that, we've talked to
those guys. Those things can't happen. I mean, they just can't happen. That's
simple football. We've got to get out of the huddle, we've got to get lined up,
and we've got to know where we're supposed to be and what our assignment is.
We've got to do a better job collectively of teaching that, and then when we get
out there, everybody has to know what to do and where to line up. Those things
have to be eliminated."The Giants eliminated a lot of those things at Carolina
last Sunday and made an impressive comeback, only to fall on Graham Gano's
63-yard field goal with 1 second remaining."These guys love to play the game,
it's their livelihood ,
but they certainly play it with great emotion and great passion and they just
keep playing," coach Pat Shurmur says."As we get better — I think we played
better last week — we need to find 63 more yards somewhere to get the win. But
we played better and we've got to continue on that path. Then eventually it will
crack."Philadelphia, ranked 15th in the AP Pro32, is a 3-point favorite over the
No. 28 Giants. The short week probably is more damaging to the Eagles.GIANTS,
22-20KNOCKOUT POOL: Thanks, New England. Very tough choice this week, will
gamble on TEXANS.No. 6 Carolina (pick-em) at No. 18 WashingtonGetting Panthers
at a bargain price.BEST BET: PANTHERS, 26-20No. 12 Pittsburgh (plus 2 1-2) at
No. 5 CincinnatiReally like what Bengals are doing, but pick them here?
Sorry.UPSET SPECIAL: STEELERS, 21-20No. 1 Los Angeles Rams (minus 7) at No. 25
DenverNFL's most talented roster keeps unbeaten season going.RAMS, 30-20No. 2
Kansas City (plus 3) at No. 4 New EnglandExpect a load of points, and a victory
for ...PATRIOTS, 37-31No. 11 Los Angeles Chargers (minus 1) at No. 16
ClevelandChargers remember that 2016 loss to Browns, who went 1-15 that
season.CHARGERS, 22-17No. 19 Seattle (minus 2 1-2) vs. No. 31 Oakland at
LondonIs Jon Gruden wondering about going back to ESPN booth?SEAHAWKS ,
25-20No. 8 Chicago (minus 3) at No. 17 MiamiBears favored on road? Dolphins
should have won last week, will this week.DOLPHINS, 19-17No. 29 Indianapolis
(plus 2) at No. 24 New York JetsIf only Colts were healthier, this would be
upset special.JETS, 30-26No. 22 Tampa Bay (plus 3 1-2) at No. 27 AtlantaInjuries
have ruined Atlanta's season already.BUCCANEERS, 31-29No. 26 Buffalo (plus 7) at
No. 21 HoustonBills are gutsy, Texans are gutsy and more talented.TEXANS,
21-10No. 10 Baltimore (minus 2 1-2) at No. 13 TennesseeTitans are gutsy, Ravens
are more talented. But ...TITANS, 20-16No. 7 Jacksonville (minus 3) at No. 23
DallasIs anyone more inconsistent than Jacksonville? Well, maybe Dallas
is.JAGUARS, 19-17No. 30 Arizona (plus 10 1-2) at No. 9 MinnesotaSo the Cardinals
got a win. Big deal.VIKINGS, 30-16No. 32 San Francisco (plus 10) at No. 14 Green
Bay, Monday nightPackers make too many mistakes to be so heavily
favored.PACKERS, 27-202018 RECORD:Last Week: Against spread (5-9-1). Straight up
(9-6)Season Totals: Against spread (33-40-3). Straight up: (48-28-2)Best Bet:
2-3 against spread ,
5-0 straight upUpset special: 3-2 against spread, 2-2-1 straight up The
champions got their swagger back.After a pair of tough losses, the Philadelphia
Eagles rebounded with a dominant performance on the road against a division
rival and dismissed talk of a Super Bowl hangover.Carson Wentz and Co. aren't
going anywhere. They proved it in a 34-13 victory over the New York Giants on
Thursday night. The Eagles (3-3) are still frontrunners in the NFC East, and
they're determined to make another long run."Having let a couple games slip
through our hands, and this is what I love about the team, the players don't
panic," coach Doug Pederson said Friday. "The players are resilient. The players
know. Players are smart. You guys are around them. They understand what's going
on. They see it. They hear it. They read about it. They see it on television.
And then as coaches, we point stuff out."Several of the team's weaknesses were
exposed during the first five weeks, especially in consecutive close losses to
Tennessee (26-23 in overtime) and Minnesota (23-21). The offensive line had
trouble protecting Wentz. The defensive line couldn't get enough pressure on
quarterbacks. The secondary gave up a lot of yards passing.But they put it all
together against the struggling Giants and showed flashes of the team that
dominated the NFC on its way to winning the Super Bowl last season."When I talk
about ownership, the guys have to take it upon themselves to make the necessary
changes to fix," Pederson said. "Our behavior has to change, right? Our
standards have to change just a little bit. They have to elevate just a little
bit. And I can stand up here and talk to the team until I'm blue in the face,
but until they realize it, until they take ownership of it, until they sort of
embrace it ,
it probably won't change."And what I saw the last couple of weeks is they're
saying and doing the right things. They're showing up to practice every day.
They're not complaining about a short week. They're not making excuses for
injury. And that's what our culture has established. That's what a veteran sort
of led team can establish, and they've embraced that, and they've risen to the
challenge, and I think they'd had enough, and quite honestly, they rose to the
occasion last night and played well in all three phases."Now the Eagles have a
few extra days of rest to prepare for a home game against Carolina in Week 7.
It'll give players more time to heal from injuries.Nine-time Pro Bowl left
tackle Jason Peters left the game with a biceps injury. Pederson said the
medical staff is still evaluating the extent of his injury but the early
indication is positive.Cornerback Sidney Jones is week-to-week after he
sustained a hamstring injury.Veteran running back Darren Sproles missed his
fifth straight because of a hamstring injury and he could return next week. The
Eagles lost Jay Ajayi for the remainder of the season after he tore an ACL
against the Vikings.Wendell Smallwood (18 carries for 51 yards) and Corey
Clement (11 carries for 43 yards, one touchdown) handled primary running duties.
Personnel boss Howie Roseman could make a deal before the October 30
deadline."Both these guys are determined runners. They run hard. They run
aggressive. They're really good backs for us," Pederson said. "A lot of
confidence in both of those guys, and what they do, very versatile. And it's
just two guys that really take their job serious and feel like they have to
prove something every single day, and that's what you want out of your players,
that they're out there proving themselves over and over because it just makes
them better and it makes us better as an offense. I've been real encouraged by
both those guys."
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