Photo credit: Keith Allison
Author: Joey Carr
In every NFL season, most divisions, AFC and NFC, are usually up for grabs. The only exception to this would be the AFC East, which has solely belonged to the Patriots for most of the century, although that could change this year. However, in a surprising turn of events, the team that experienced a truly tumultuous offseason and one of the biggest quarterback controversies of the last decade is now in position to win a division they had no business winning prior to the season. That team is the Washington Redskins. One of the bigger laughing stocks in recent memory, Washington is off to a better start than all of their NFC East counterparts, as they are tied for first place with the Cowboys. However, Dallas is now without their quarterback, Tony Romo, for at least 8 weeks. Can the Redskins take advantage of a now weak division to capture their first NFC East Title since 2012? I believe they can.
Let’s get one thing clear, the Redskins still have an uphill battle ahead of them if they want the NFC East crown. They have an inexperienced quarterback in Kirk Cousins, an underwhelming receiving corps, and a banged up defense. Although, it seemed like the Skins season began before it even started. The Redskins as an organization made the decision to start Cousins over RGIII before the season, which has worked out so far, but caused a major rift among personnel. Nevertheless, the fact still remains that Cousins has been inconsistent as a starter in the past, which needs to change if Washington has any chance in the NFC East. Although, with the way the Skins have been running the ball, Cousins gets a lot of pressure lifted off his shoulders. Through two games, the Redskins rank 1st in total rushing yards, a true shocker. The backfield was supposed to mainly feature Alfred Morris, who had a down year last season but is still a fully capable back. Rookie Mat Jones, however, has a different agenda for the Skins run game. Drafted out of Northern Iowa, Jones was pretty unknown before his 123-yard, one touchdown performance against Aaron Donald and the Rams in week 2. He showed quickness and downfield vision all game, and paired with his 6’7 height, has all the qualities that make a solid running back. If he keeps up his strong rushing, he could be the sole reason the Redskins propel themselves to the top of the NFC East. The only thing standing in their way is their defense, which has held them back in years past. They don’t have a lot of playmakers on D, and that definitely hurts them come crunchtime. Although, to everyone’s amazement, they’ve made both Ryan Tannehill and Nick Foles struggle, only allowing 2 passing touchdowns on the year. In fact, those are the only two touchdowns the defense has allowed, with the exception of one return TD by Jarvis Landry. If the defense can hold it’s ground and Kirk Cousins and the run game can stay consistent, the Redskins are poised to make a run at the NFC East Title.