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NFC East Update: After dominant win, are Redskins class of the division?


NFC East Update: After dominant win, are Redskins class of the division?

The Redskins posted arguably the most impressive win in the NFL this year, thumping the Raiders on Sunday Night Football. So what does it mean for the NFC East standings?

In reality, the 27-10 win over Oakland just leaves Washington tied for the best record in the division, and the Redskins would lose a tiebreaker to the Eagles because of a Week 1 loss to Philadelphia. 


Anybody who watches the NFL, however, knows that the nature of the league is week to week. And in Week 3, the Redskins scored the best performance, by a long shot.

Here's the NFC East update:

  • Philadelphia Eagles (2-1, 2-0 NFC East) - The Eagles secured a dramatic 27-24 win over the Giants on Sunday when their kicker made a 61-yard field goal in the closing seconds for the victory. Philly was outgained in the win, 415 to 354. The Eagles ran the ball better in this contest, but second-year QB Carson Wentz struggled against New York. It seemed like Philly would blow this game in the second half, but in the end got just enough done for the win. Next: @ LA Chargers
  • Dallas Cowboys (2-1, 1-0 NFC East) - The Cowboys rebounded from a tough loss in Week 2 with a solid win in Week 3 on the road in Arizona. The Dallas offense could not move the ball in Denver, but Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott got things rolling against the Cardinals as the duo combined for four total touchdowns. Remember, Elliott's potential suspension looms large on the Cowboys season with no real decision appearing in sight. Next: Home vs LA Rams 
  • Washington Redskins (2-1, 0-1 NFC East) - The most dominant defensive effort from the Burgundy and Gold in decades, the Redskins simply decimated a vaunted Raiders offense at home on Sunday Night Football. The win will change the national perception of the Redskins, and perhaps most interestingly, the team was missing three starters in the game against Oakland. The Redskins have a huge opportunity to follow up the Raiders win with a Monday Night game against the undefeated Chiefs. The home loss to the Eagles, where Kirk Cousins and the Washington offense delivered an ineffective performance, seems like a long time ago now. Next @ Kansas City
  • New York Giants (0-3, 0-2 NFC East) - Probably the biggest stunner in the NFL. The Giants looked like a possible Super Bowl contender coming into this season, and while Eli Manning and crew almost fought back for a road win in Philly, the team could not execute late. Now, at 0-3 and winless in the division, the questions are coming for head coach Ben McAdoo. New York is not a good place to lose, especially for the Giants, where winning is the norm and a lot of money is being spent on the defense. The math overwhelmingly suggests the Giants won't make the playoffs, a fate few would have guessed just three weeks into the year. Next: @ Tampa Bay

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The next time Jonathan Allen plays for the Redskins will be next year, and that's the right move

The next time Jonathan Allen plays for the Redskins will be next year, and that's the right move

When Jonathan Allen first suffered his Lisfranc injury back in Week 6, there was a belief that the Redskins' first-round pick could return to the team in late December to help with a playoff push or gain more on-field experience.

But now that there is no playoff push to be had and only two games remaining on the schedule, Jay Gruden and the organization have decided that Allen will not see meaningful snaps again until next season.

"I don’t think we’re going to do anything with Jonathan," the head coach said Monday in Ashburn after Washington beat Arizona in Week 15. "I think by the time he gets back out to practice and gets in shape, I think the season will be over. He’s in good shape, but I think in football shape is a little bit different and we’ll probably just get him ready for the OTAs."

The move is absolutely the right one to make here. If the Burgundy and Gold still had four or five contests to play, they could get No. 95 back into all-important football shape and allow him to get valuable regular season reps in their final few matchups.


But the rehab from his foot injury — an injury that can linger and one that affects athletes in various ways — hasn't progressed at a fast enough pace for him to ease himself into a return. And with the organization this close to 2017's finish line, it's best not to rush him or force a comeback with what looks like a defensive building block.

Since Allen's departure from the starting lineup, the 'Skins defense has taken more than a few steps backward. He isn't the only person coordinator Greg Manusky is missing, of course, and his individual numbers weren't huge, but Allen was like a key part of a car engine: You may not have much of an idea of how crucial he is when he's suiting up, but the second he stops, you'll find out quickly how necessary he is. 

"He was off to a good start, really," Gruden said of the ex-Alabama lineman. "I think his strength at the point of attack was outstanding, his ability to play the run was good and then we used him in nickel situations also, which he was pushing the pocket extremely well. Sack production didn’t really tell the story about how productive he was. I think he played very well."

The question with Allen when the Redskins drafted him was never his ability to play. Rather, it was his ability to stay healthy. As he heads into his first offseason as a pro, he'll look to improve as much as he can when it comes to the latter. And the Redskins are smart in letting him focus on that immediately.


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How Redskins' injuries are plunging Kirk Cousins' stats

How Redskins' injuries are plunging Kirk Cousins' stats

Kirk Cousins just did something he has never done before, and it’s not something good.

The Redskins quarterback passed for 196 yards against the Cardinals on Sunday.

That comes on the heels of a 151-yard passing performance against the Chargers. This marks the first time that Cousins has thrown for fewer than 200 yards in consecutive games since he was named the starting quarterback just before the start of the 2015 season.

The closest he has come to posting sub-200 yard games before came in his first two games as the starter, when he threw for 196 against the Dolphins and 203 against the Rams the next week.


Cousins has finished with fewer than 200 yards in seven games in the last three years, but there should be an asterisk next to one of those games. In the meaningless 2015 season finale in Dallas, he threw for 176 yards before departing the game midway through the fourth quarter.

Cousins’ lack of yardage in a given game does not necessarily spell doom for his team. The Redskins are 4-3 in Cousins’ “off” games, including 1-1 in the last two weeks.

What has the issue been with Cousins the last couple of weeks?

Against the Chargers, he was off-target on some basic throws, and the offense never got going. In the Cardinals game, he was more accurate, completing 69 percent of his passes. But he kept his throws short as the Redskins got up 14-3 in the second quarter, and they were not aggressive on offense.


But in both games, what was showing was the lack of offensive talent Cousins has around him due to injuries and free agency. Against the Cardinals, he was operating with just two of the Week 1 starters on the offensive line. Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Reed did not play in either game. This season's replacements for DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garçon — the two 1000-yard receivers who departed as free agents — have not been adequate. Chris Thompson, Cousins’ security blanket, has been on injured reserve for a few weeks.

The replacements have been playing hard, and they have made a few plays. But consistency is the key, and the substitutes haven’t been able to provide it. Cousins has had four games with more than 300 yards passing this year, but given the current state of things, it would be surprising if he got another one of those this year.

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