Pa Ralph Vaciano
FOX Sports NFC East Writer

There have been plenty of jokes about the NFC East over the past few years, and the division as a whole has earned every one of them. But after four games this season, no one is laughing anymore in this division.

He has the best combined record in the NFL at 11-5. Three of his teams are 3-1 or better. The NFL has the only undefeated team that just looks like a real Super Bowl contender. The NFC East is 8-2 against teams outside of its division and 4-0 against teams from the AFC.

It might not last, but it’s as good a first quarter as you’d expect from a division that has become known as NFC Least in recent years and even won the title with a 7-9 record just two years ago.

Here’s a look at the NFL’s best quarterback division. Let the good times roll…

Team to win: Philadelphia Eagles

It’s obviously the Eagles, and not just because they’re the only undefeated team in the NFL. That’s because they went 4-0. This is one of the highest scoring teams in the NFL. They have the No. 2 offense and the No. 3 defense.They are averaging 165.25 yards per game on the ground, up from last season when they led the NFL in rushing. And that’s just because QB Jalen Hurts got off to a phenomenal start (66.7 completion percentage, 1,120 yards, 4 touchdowns, 2 interceptions). They may have the best secondary in football and lead the league in sacks (16). Neither team has a better offensive line. They rank second in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric.

The Eagles have it all. So forget the NFC East. They are probably the team to beat in the entire NFC.

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MVP: Jalen Hurts

It’s hard to find a quarterback in the NFL who has made a bigger leap than the 24-year-old Hurts. He was always electric on the ground, but his transition was so crisp. Even two of his interceptions were right off the receivers’ hands (though, to be fair, neither of them were perfect). And he’s still a weapon on the ground, where he has 205 yards and four touchdowns. It certainly helped that the Eagles added a WR AJ Brown (25 catches, 404 yards, 1 touchdown) to his arsenal, but Hurts is still playing much better.

Giants ran back Saquon Barkley (463 yards) also deserves a mention because the 3-1 Giants likely would have been 0-4 without him.

Best Defensive Player: Micah Parsons

The Eagles have won three consecutive Defensive Player of the Week awards. But with all due respect to the cornerback Darius Slay (Week 2), defensive end Brandon Graham (Week 3) and midfielder Hassan Reddick (Week 3), there is no better defensive player in the division than Cowboys“a superstar midfielder. Parsons’ four sacks don’t show just how disruptive he is yet. He was mostly unblockable against the Giants in Week 3 even though he didn’t have a sack, but that cleared the way for DeMarcus Lawrence have three

The Eagles have the best defense, but they spread the wealth. Parsons is the most consistently dominant from game to game. Every offensive coordinator in the division will agree with that.

Biggest surprise: New York Giants

With all due respect to Cooper Rush3-0 streak (so far) replaces Duck Prescott as a quarterback for the cowboys, did anyone see the giants start to close at 3-1? Yes, they were lucky, and it certainly helped that two of their wins came at home against two very bad teams – Panthers (1-3) and bears (2-2).

But they’re still a flawed team that didn’t do much to improve in the offseason, has the same problems at quarterback with Daniel Jones, and still a tough offensive line. The win may not last long, but new coach Brian Daboll is confident they will believe. And so is Barkley, who leads the NFL in rushing and looks a lot like his old self.

Biggest Bust: Kenny Galloday

It’s hard to find a bigger bust than the Giants receiver, who is entering the second season of a four-year, $72 million contract. The fact that Golladay can’t earn a place in the game plan on the team with Richie James and David Sills as his best receivers says it all. Even after the Giants lost Sterling Shepard before his torn ACL, Golladay was still at the bottom of the depth chart. And now he came out with a damaged knee. Two years ago, he was supposed to be the Giants’ next great receiver. Now they would trade him or cut him if they could.

Best free agent addition: James Bradbury

It’s like a toss-up between the two Eagles: linebacker Reddick and cornerback Bradbury. But Bradberry gets credit for two reasons. One is that he’s been consistently good through the first four games, while Redick has gotten off to a bit of a slow start. And the second is that Bradberry is a bargain, having joined the Eagles on a one-year, $7.25 million deal after the Giants cut him on the salary cap in May. Bradberry is essentially the Eagles’ No. 2 pass rusher behind Darius Slay, but he’s gone toe-to-toe with Slay this season with two interceptions and four passes defensed. He’s playing at a Pro Bowl level again.

Rookie of the Year Quarterback: Jahan Dotson

The CommandersThe receiver accomplished that in Week 1, when he threw two touchdowns, including the game-winner on Washington’s opening day (and the lone win). He has 12 catches for 152 yards and four touchdowns through the first four games, good numbers for the No. 3 receiver in a run-heavy offense.

Unfortunately, it may be for a while. Dotson has a hamstring injury that coach Ron Rivera said should keep him out for a week or two — possibly longer, as hamstring injuries tend to linger.

Hottest Seat: Mike McCarthy

Sure, the Cowboys are 3-1 mostly without their starting quarterback, but that hasn’t done anything for the head coach’s job security — not with Sean Payton potentially available. McCarthy may have needed a deep playoff run to keep his job anyway, but it’s likely the 3-1 start without Prescott only raised expectations for Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. He certainly expects them to make a run when Prescott returns, and McCarthy better make sure they deliver.

Game to watch in the second quarter: Cowboys at Eagles, Week 7

The Sunday night game on October 16th could be very important as both teams have dangerous trips to the West Coast this week (Eagles at ArizonaCowboys in Los Angeles Rams). This game will be the Cowboys’ chance to make a statement that they will be a division contender and not let the Eagles get away with it. And this could be the Eagles’ chance to really open up a big, and perhaps insurmountable, early lead. As a sidebar, maybe, just maybe, it could also be the return of Dak Prescott.

Photo of the playoffs

Enter the Eagles, likely as division champs, barring a shocking, complete collapse. Indeed, there is not a team as good and complete in the division. The Cowboys have a chance to make it to Philly, but first they need to prove they can do it — like on October 16th. The Cowboys are likely in the running for a wild-card spot, and as long as they get Prescott back soon, they should be able to do so in the weaker of the two conferences.

Can the NFC East get two wildcards? This seems doubtful. The Chiefs (1-3) fell into a huge early hole, and now the injuries are starting to pile up. If they want to make a run, they need to start their surge quickly. And as for the Giants, enjoy the win while it lasts. They deserve a lot of credit for what they did, but the reality will be played in the games against Packers in London, st Ravens at home, on Jacksonville and at Seattle next four weeks. If they can somehow split those four games, then maybe.

But then, after the bye, they still have to deal with Philly twice.

Ralph Vacchiano is the NFC East reporter for FOX Sports covering the Washington Commanders, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys. He spent 22 years covering the Giants, Jets and the NFL in general for SNY and the New York Daily News. He can be found on Twitter at @RalphVacchiano.


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