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Enemy Intel around the NFL, Week 6—Can the Cowboys pass another tough test?

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Enemy Intel around the NFL, Week 6—Can the Cowboys pass another tough test?

Here is my weekly Redskins-centric look around the NFL:

—The Giants hope to avoid a fourth straight loss as they host the Ravens, who have lost two straight. Both teams are in varying states of turmoil. Baltimore fired offensive coordinator Marc Trestman on Monday and he will be replaced by Marty Mornhinweg. The new OC has a good offensive mind but I’m not sure what he can do with an offensive line that is reeling with injuries. If WR Steve Smith Sr. (ankle) is out I'm not sure what he's going to be able to do. Meanwhile, just as the Odell Beckham antics have faded to the background (but haven’t disappeared entirely), Giants left tackle Ereck Flowers shoved a member of the media in the locker room after New York’s latest loss. You go back to the game against the Redskins, where their losing skid started, and you have Beckham’s kicking net punching back and center Weston Richburg getting booted out of the game for multiple unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. It points to a lack of discipline. Discipline was the calling card of for former coach Tom Coughlin. It does not appear to be a strong point of his replacement, Ben McAdoo.

—Last week the Cowboys handled what appeared to be their sternest test to date with ease as they ran out to a 28-0 lead over the Bengals. This week things could be significantly tougher as they go to Lambeau Field. It’s not just Aaron Rodgers, who is playing well but not All World well. It’s that Green Bay defense. They have averaged giving up just 2.0 yards per rush, the best in the NFL by a full yard. It is a little easier to pass against them but the Cowboys need to run to set up Dak Prescott’s passing. It should be noted, however, that the Cowboys have the best offensive line that the Packers have faced so we will have to see who controls the line.

Related: Doctson out, two starters questionable for Redskins vs. Eagles

—The Redskins visit Detroit after playing the Eagles. The Lions did the Redskins a favor by knocking off Philly last week, overcoming a number of injuries in order to do it. They could still be banged up next week. RB Theo Riddick (hip), DT Haloti Ngata (shoulder), and TE Eric Ebron (ankle, knee) are all out against the Rams this week and we will see if they are ready for the Redskins on the 23rd.

—After coming home from Detroit the Redskins will return to Ashburn and assume their normal preparations through practice on Thursday. After that, they get on a plane and head to London for practice on Friday, a Saturday walkthrough, and a game against the Bengals at Wembley Stadium. Cincinnati has lost three of its last four and they play at the Patriots tomorrow. Fortunately for Marvin Lewis’ crew they get the NFL equivalent of an extra bye week, a home game against the Browns, before they leave for the UK.

Related: Crowder letting instincts take over on punt returns

—I had a true winning week last week, going 2-1 with wins with the Vikings over the Texans and the Cardinals over the 49ers. I lost with the Bengals giving one (!) to the Cowboys. I’m going to say that the Cowboys won’t pull off a second straight upset, going with the Packers over them giving 4.5, and the Steelers -7.5 over the Dolphins and the Seahawks -6.5 over the Falcons.

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Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

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USA TODAY Sports

Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

A 2017 midseason trade for Martavis Bryant made no sense for the Redskins. A 2018 offseason trade for Martavis Bryant, however, might make sense for the Redskins. 

Bryant is on the trade block, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, and will be an intriguing prospect for receiver-needy teams across the NFL. In parts of three seasons with the Steelers, Bryant has 17 touchdowns and a 15.2 yards-per-reception average. 

A big play threat from any place on the field, Bryant would immediately make the Redskins receiving unit more athletic and explosive. 

It's not all good news with Bryant, though.

He was suspended for the entire 2016 season after repeated drug violations and caused some distraction for Pittsburgh during the 2017 season when he asked for a trade via social media. 

MORE: CAN YOU GUESS THESE REDSKINS BASED ON THEIR COMBINE NUMBERS?

Is the talent enough to overcome the off-field distractions? Many would say it is. 

Last year, in just eight starts, Bryant grabbed 50 catches for more than 600 yards and three TDs. In their lone playoff loss to the Jaguars, Bryant caught two passes for 78 yards and a TD. 

Remember, too, the Steelers have an explosive offense, and Bryant is coupled with Antonio Brown on the receiver front along with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback and Le'Veon Bell at running back. The Pittsburgh offense is loaded. 

Washington's offense is not nearly the prolific unit that the Steelers send out, but Jay Gruden does design a good offense. 

The real question surrounding any talk of trading for Bryant is the cost.

The Redskins are not in a position to send away any more draft picks this offseason after giving up a third-round pick, in addition to Kendall Fuller, to acquire Alex Smith. Bruce Allen and the Redskins front office need to improve their team in plenty of spots, and the team's draft picks are quite valuable. 

Bryant only has one year remaining on his rookie deal, and it's hard to balance that sort of short-term investment with the value of adding a rookie committed to the team for at least four years. Perhaps a late-round pick would make sense, but it would need to be a sixth-rounder. 

This could be one of those rare situations in the NFL where a player for player swap could work, though pulling that type of maneuver requires a lot of moving parts. 

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Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

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Need to Know: The most overrated Redskins events of 2017

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, February 23, 19 days before NFL free agency starts.

I’m out this week so I’ll be re-posting some of the best and most popular articles of the past few months. Some may have slightly dated information but the major points in the posts still stand. Thanks for reading, as always.

The overrated Redskin moments of 2017

Originally published 12/30/17

Sometimes in the NFL, something happens that grabs headlines and appears to be a momentous event that has ripple effects that will last all season and perhaps beyond. Other times something that is greeted with a yawn by fans and the media turns out to be something with lasting impact. Yesterday we looked at three events that were underrated at the time they happened. Here, in no particular order, are three overrated events from 2017.

Beating the Raiders—At the time, the Raiders were 2-0 and they still had the status of being one of the favorites to get to the Super Bowl. The Redskins whipped them 27-10 and the prevailing view was that the Redskins were on their way to a special year. But that loss started a four-game losing streak for the Raiders. They are currently riding a three-game skid and at 6-9 they are contenders for a top-10 draft pick, not for the Super Bowl. The win became less impressive for the Redskins as the year went on.

Signing Terrelle Pryor—There was plenty of excitement when the Redskins signed the Browns wide receiver, who had 1,000 receiving yards catching passes from a sub-mediocre group of quarterbacks in Cleveland. Imagine what he could do with a quality QB and a good offense around him. The hype grew when a fan captured him making this catch in training camp:

But the production was not there. In nine games before going on injured reserve with an ankle injury, Pryor caught 20 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown.

Su’a Cravens departure—There was a lot of concern about issues both on and off the field when Cravens abruptly let it be known to teammates that he intended to retire just after the Redskins finalized their 53-man roster on September 2. All offseason Cravens’ name had been written at the top of the depth chart at strong safety in Sharpie. When he walked away and was put on the Exempt/Left Squad list (and eventually on the Reserve/Left Squad list, ending his season), there was plenty of speculation about whether the organization botched the situation and, of more immediate importance, what would happen at safety without Cravens. We’re still not sure about what happened but Montae Nicholson and Deshazor Everett did a respectable job at safety.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

Timeline  

Days until:

—NFL Combine (3/1) 6
—NFL Draft (4/26) 62
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 198