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NFC East Update: Redskins in the thick of things as Giants slump, Cowboys get rolled

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NFC East Update: Redskins in the thick of things as Giants slump, Cowboys get rolled

Most experts predicted that the Cowboys or the Giants would win the NFC East in 2017.

Those experts don't look so hot right now.

The Giants offense appears incapable of doing much and the Cowboys got exposed visiting Denver.

Meawhile, after a tough opening week loss to the Eagles, the Redskins are right back in the thick of the NFC East race following a big win in LA.

Here's the NFC East update:


  • Dallas Cowboys (1-1, 1-0 NFC East) - Things looked well and good in Dallas in their season opening win over the Giants, but when the Cowboys went to Denver, they got exposed. Dallas mustered just 268 yards of total yards and their run game got nothing done. Ezekiel Elliott ran for only eight yards on nine carries, and on a few plays, his effort was questioned. The Broncos showed that perhaps the best way to play the Cowboys is to load up against the run and force Dak Prescott to pass. Plus, don't forget the fluid legal situation with Elliott. It remains possible he could be forced to serve his pending six-game suspension at some point this season. Next: @ Arizona.
  • Philadelphia Eagles (1-1, 1-0) - The Eagles logged an impressive road win to start the year in Washington, breaking a five-game losing streak to the Redskins. The road success did not continue Sunday in Kansas City, however, as former Philadelphia coach Andy Reid beat the Eagles 27-20. The Philly run game struggled, again, but second-year QB Carson Wentz built off his impressive performance against the Redskins with another 300-yard plus passing day against the Chiefs. Next: Home vs. NY Giants.
  • Washington Redskins (1-1, 0-1) - Redskins QB Kirk Cousins has not been impressive yet this season, but Jay Gruden said that his team's passing game is close to breaking out. The difference for Washington in Week 2 came from a strong run game. The Redskins piled up 229 rush yards against the Rams en route to a solid 27-20 road win. The Redskins have plenty of concerns, including injuries to RB Rob Kelley and TE Jordan Reed, but a resurgent defense has kept them in winnable situations thus far in the year. Next: Home vs Raiders.
  • New York Giants (0-2, 0-1) - By far the biggest surprise in the NFC East through two weeks would be the ineffective play from the New York offense. Poor offensive line blocking is rendering Eli Manning and the Big Blue ground game pretty useless. The Giants looked outmatched against the Cowboys in Week 1, and suffered an embarassing home loss on Monday Night Football to the Lions in Week 2. In that game, Manning threw for only 238 yards and was sacked five times. Odell Beckham missed Week 1 with an ankle injury. He returned in Week 2 but was held largely in check, making just four catches for 36 yards. Next: @ Philadelphia.


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Trent Williams needs knee surgery eventually, but the timeline has many factors


Trent Williams needs knee surgery eventually, but the timeline has many factors

PHILADELPHIA — Arguably the Redskins best player, all of the NFL knows that Trent Williams can still play at a high level while dealing with injury. 

How long Williams can play though injury seems the more important question though as reports emerged the left tackle will need knee surgery at some point. That could come in the next few weeks, or as Redskins fans hope, perhaps at the end of the season.

Currently playing with a torn medial patella-femoral ligament in his right knee, the six-time Pro Bowler has not practiced since sustaining the injury three weeks ago in Kansas City. He was able to gut out a strong performance last week against the 49ers, and is expected to do the same Monday night against the Eagles.

One factor that might be pushing Williams to play with such a damaged right leg is that backup tackle Ty Nsekhe is also out after having surgery on his core muscles. 


Nsekhe is expected back relatively soon, but the timeline remains murky. When he can come back, perhaps Williams will reconsider his options. 

Surgery for the torn MPFL will leave Williams with a five or six-month recovery. 

It's obvious the Redskins' offense is best with Williams on the field. Nsekhe, however, proved a capable backup last season when Williams served a four-game suspension. 

Without Nsekhe, the Redskins would go to veteran T.J. Clemmings should Williams be unable to play. Nsekhe has not played since a Week 3 win over Oakland. The Redskins added Clemmings to the roster in early September, after their fourth preseason game. He spent the last two seasons with the Vikings. 

For now, the Redskins will continue to hope Williams can play through the pain.

"Trent is a tough guy, so we will see how it works, see how feels tomorrow and go from there," Jay Gruden said of Williams on Saturday. 


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Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. the Eagles

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Need to Know: Five Redskins under pressure vs. the Eagles

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, October 22, one day before the Washington Redskins visit the Philadelphia Eagles for Monday night football.


Today’s schedule: Travel to Philadelphia, no media availability

Days until:

—Cowboys @ Redskins (10/29) 7
—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 14
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 32

Final report on injures of note:
: CB Josh Norman (rib)
Questionable: OT Trent Williams (knee), CB Bashaud Breeland (knee), S Deshazor Everett (hamstring), RB Rob Kelley (ankle),


Five Redskins who are under pressure vs. the Eagles

Every NFL player is under pressure and the stress increased in games that are in the prime-time spotlight like the Redskins have on Monday night. But the spotlight is brighter on some players than it is on others.

—With a banged up defense, the Redskins are going to have to put up some points to win this game. That means that QB Kirk Cousins is going to have to help the Redskins get some points on the board. In the opener against the Eagles he threw a key interception, posted a season-low 72.9 passer rating, and got sacked four times. He has been playing better since then and he may need his best game of the year for the Redskins to pull out the win.

—DT Fletcher Cox is an All-Pro caliber defender and the battle between him and G Brandon Scherff will be important. But the Eagles other defensive tackle, Timmy Jernigan, is also a handful and it will largely be up to G Shawn Lauvao to keep him under control. Jernigan isn’t a great pass rusher (1.5 sacks, 10 pressures) but he tough against the run. The Redskins needs to establish a running game to win and Lauvao vs. Jernigan will be a key battle to get the ground game going.

—There still is plenty of time for WR Terrelle Pryor to have a breakout game and turn around his disappointing season. Monday would be an ideal time to start. He has 16 receptions on the season and with the exception of a couple of plays, his impact has been minimal. When the line gives Cousins time to throw the ball he will need a big target and Pryor is the ideal candidate.

—With Jonathan Allen on injured reserve, it will be up to DE Matt Ioannidis to continue to get pass pressure up the middle. Playing with Allen, the second-year player has 3.5 sacks and 16 pressures. He will need to keep that up in Allen’s absence. On Monday, Ioannidis and the rest of the pass rushers need to get Carson Wentz on the ground when they have the opportunity.

—As much as the Redskins would like to see Wentz take a bunch of sacks, chances are he will get away from the pressure on occasion and scramble to make a play. At times like that, S D.J. Swearinger and the rest of the defensive backs need to stay in coverage and not lose their men. It’s hard to cover a receiver for five seconds or more while the quarterback scrambles around but Swearinger needs to maintain his position as the last line of defense.

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.

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To update this tweet from the beginning of practice, Williams did practice on a limited basis and he is questionable for the game, although it is likely that he will play.

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