Here is where the Redskins stand in Week 6 of the NFL season.
Top three storylines:
Walking wounded—There was a lot of concern about the Redskins’ early bye but it couldn’t have come at a better time. Had they been scheduled to play last Sunday on a short week coming off of a Monday night game you have to wonder if a number of mainstays like Trent Williams and D.J. Swearinger would have been able to play. After a week, there appears to be a chance that everyone except Josh Norman, who is out with a broken rib, will be able to play on Sunday.
Taking the next step—The two teams the Redskins lost to, the Eagles and Chiefs, are a combined 9-1. Those were “good” losses, if there is such a thing, but the Redskins need to move beyond quality defeats and turn them into stunning victories. If they take care of business against the winless 49ers they will have a chance to prove their mettle with games in Philadelphia, against Dallas at home, and at the Seahawks. A couple of wins in that stretch would make a statement.
Cousins catching fire—After a tepid start, the quarterback is on a roll, with five touchdowns, no interceptions, 10.8 yards per pass attempt, and a 138 passer rating in his last two games. There still are some issues connecting with receivers Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson. If those come along, the passing game to jump to the next level.
MORE REDSKINS: THE REDSKINS WEEK THAT WAS
Record: 2-2, 2nd in NFC East
vs. NFC East: 0-1
vs. NFC: 1-1
vs. AFC: 1-1
Rankings and changes from Week 4
Offense (yards/game): 363.0 (8th, no change from Week 4)
Defense (yards/game): 311.3 (9th, -4)
Points for: 91 (13th, no change)
Points against: 89 (18th, -9)
Passer rating offense: 107.6 (4th, +2)
Opp passer rating: 87.5 (11th, -3)
Yards/rush attempt: 4.5 (9th, -2)
Opp. yards/rush attempt: 3.8 (15th, -8)
Third down conversions: 38% (19th)
Opp. Third-down conversions: 42.0% (18th)
Weighted DVOA (Football Outsiders): 24.1% (2nd, +4)
Playoff chances per FO: 49.2%, +1.8 percentage points from last week
Trending in the right direction: Don’t look now, but the Redskins are second in the league in DVOA behind only the Chiefs. That’s up from fourth last week. It looks impressive but it’s early; consider that the Jaguars are third and they have some awful losses.
Trending in the wrong direction: The defense slipped in nearly every major category after facing Kansas City. They have a chance to right the ship this week against the offensively-challenged 49ers.
Next three games
Sunday vs. 49ers (0-5)—Kyle Shanahan will want to put up a good showing against his former employer but he won’t be bringing a very good team to Washington on Sunday. But the Redskins tend to struggle as heavy favorites so they need to be very careful.
October 23 @ Eagles (4-1)—It’s kind of an odd scheduling format here that the Redskins finished with the Eagles before they play either of their other NFC East rivals. Philly got a solid win in Washington in Week 1 and the Redskins won’t want to fall to 0-2 in the division. This could be for first place in the division, pending the Eagles’ result against the Panthers on Thursday night and Washington’s ability to handle the 49ers.
October 26 vs. Cowboys (2-3)—The two losses to the Cowboys last year were on the long list of reasons why the Redskins failed to make the playoffs. Washington’s run defense has improved but mobile quarterbacks like Dak Prescott still give them problems.