NFL on Sling: Washington vs. Cincy in London for Early Kick Off, Cowboys Host Eagles for NFC East Battle
Washington Redskins (4-3) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (3-4)
9:30am ET Sunday on FOX
After ripping off four straight wins over the Giants, Browns, Ravens and Eagles, Washington took a tough loss last week in Detroit, falling 20-17 on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford to Anquan Boldin with just 22 seconds to play. It was no doubt a maddening day for Washington QB Kirk Cousins, who completed 30 of 39 for 301 yards and a touchdown, but still came up short. In the first quarter they had a drive end with a Matt Jones fumble on the Detroit 2 yard line, and in the third quarter Cousins himself coughed one up on the Detroit 34, with the Lions turning each ensuing possession into a field goal.
There is no shame in losing to New England, Pittsburgh, Dallas or Denver this season (all of them with their starting QB), as Cincy has done. Against the league’s weaker teams, however, they have taken care of business, beating the Jets, Dolphins and, just last week, the Browns. Andy Dalton had his best game of 2016 against Cleveland, connecting on 19 of 28 for 308 yards and a touchdown in a 31-17 beatdown in which neither team scored for the final 19 minutes. Dalton found AJ Green 8 times for 169 yards and a TD, giving the five-time Pro Bowler a league-leading 50 receptions. The Bengals have the better QB and receiver, the Redskins have the better record. Take the talent.
Philadelphia Eagles (4-2) vs. Dallas Cowboys (5-1)
8:30pm ET Sunday on NBC
And, here we have an NFC East showdown featuring two of the best young quarterbacks in the league, with Carson Wentz leading the Eagles against Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys.
Carson Wentz took the league by storm at the start of this season, leading the Eagles to three straight wins, inspiring Vice President Joe Biden to chide his boss about getting aboard the “Wentz Wagon.” But in Week 5, after climbing out of a 21-7 hole against the Lions to go up 23-21 with 6:40 to play, the defense couldn’t stop the Lions from kicking a game winning field goal with 1:49 on the clock, and the following week Philly lost 27-20 to Washington. But last week, the Eagles overcame Wentz’s struggles for a convincing 21-10 win over the previously unbeaten Vikings, in a game not nearly as close as the score. Wentz had his worst game of the season against the Vikings’ league-best defense, hitting on 16 of 28 for 138 yards, a touchdown and 2 interceptions, but the Eagles’ own formidable defense (14.7 points per game allowed) nearly ate Matthew Stafford whole, sacking him 6 times, forcing him to fumble 4 times, and picking him off once.
Sometimes the unwritten rule that you don’t lose your job because of injury buts up against the dictum “Talent plays.” Such is the case of Tony Romo vs. Dak Prescott. When Romo got hurt during the preseason, Prescott took over, and since opening the season with a 20-19 loss to the Giants, he has led the Cowboys to 5 straight wins by an average of 10.6 points, most recently beating the Packers 30-16. Over that span, Prescott has completed 100 of 137 (73%), for 1,259 yards, 7 touchdowns and just one INT, causing people to wonder if Romo should get his job back. Who would you rather have at QB: the 36-year-old who’s missed 18 of the last 22 games with injuries, or the 23-year-old rookie with the 103.9 passer rating? The problem with the idea that a guy not lose his job because of injury is that everyone loses their job because of injury, it’s just that for most of them the injury is inflicted by Father Time. While Prescott has been a great surprise, rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott has been otherworldly, rushing for a league-leading 703 yards on 137 carries, putting him on pace to break Eric Dickerson’s rookie record of 1,808 yards.
The Eagles have a rock solid defense, one that held the Steelers to just 3 points, but that was before Le’Veon Bell had returned to the fold, so Philly hasn’t yet faced a team with a passing game and ground game this potent, and Wentz has struggled in his last two games, completing just 27 of 50 passes for 317 yards 1 TD and 2 interceptions. The Cowboys have the hot hand, which makes it hard to bet against them.
Here’s the lineup of Sunday’s action on FOX:
1pm ET Sunday on FOX
Detroit Lions (4-3) vs. Houston Texans (4-2)
Seattle Seahawks (4-1-1) vs. New Orleans Saints (2-4)
Arizona Cardinals (3-3-1) vs. Carolina Panthers (1-5)
4:25pm ET Sunday on FOX
Green Bay Packers (4-2) vs. Atlanta Falcons (4-3)