Here is where the Redskins stand in Week 8 of the NFL season.
Record: 4-3 T-3rd in NFC East
vs. NFC East: 2-1
vs. NFC: 2-2
vs. AFC: 2-1
Rankings and changes from Week 7
Offense (yards/game): 391.4 (6th, -1 from last week)
Defense (yards/game): 363.3 (20th, +1)
Points for: 159 (15th, no change)
Points against: 162 (18th, no change)
Passer rating offense: 91.2 (15th, -1)
Opp passer rating: 89.6 (14th, +4)
Yards/rush attempt: 4.8 (6th, -2)
Opp. yards/rush attempt: 5.0 (31st, +1)
Weighted DVOA (Football Outsiders): 2.9% (15th, -4)
Playoff chances per FO: 25.6%, -20.2% from last week
Trending the right way: Although Matthew Stafford had a good day against the Redskins their pass defense is improving with their ranking in opponent passer rating climbing into the top half of the league at 89.6. They finished last season with an opponent passer rating of 96.1, 23rd in the league.
Trending the wrong way: Their playoff chances were nearly 50 percent last week but the in-conference loss knocked them down to one in four.
Top three storylines:
Jones gets butterfingers—After maintaining an iron grip on the football through training camp, the preseason, and the first quarter of this season, Matt Jones has had a hand in three lost fumbles in the last three games. It’s a difficult quandary since Jones is the only back on the roster really suited to carrying 20 times per game on a consistent basis. Chris Thompson and Rob Kelley may get some more carries but Jones needs to get past his problems.
Missing: Deep shots—The Redskins are paying $9 million this year one of the best deep threats in the game. They are choosing not to get their money’s worth out of DeSean Jackson. Yes, I hear Kirk Cousins say he goes where his reads take him. But it’s hard to see why they don’t see any benefit in launching a first and 10 play action bomb to Jackson at least once or twice a game, if only as a warning shot to the other team.
Can they make it a business trip?—Jay Gruden is trying to make this week as normal as possible, with regular practices on Wednesday and Thursday. Instead of going home to bed on Thursday night they will go to Dulles Airport and fly to London. They get a couple of days to get their body clocks adjusted to the 9:30 am Eastern Daylight Time start on Sunday. I’m not sure how well that will work but the good thing for the Redskins is that the Bengals are on essentially the same schedule.
Injury issues—Yes, this makes four storylines but there is a lot going on. You could say that Josh Norman, Jordan Reed, and Trent Williams are the three best players on the team. While it seems that Williams (knee) has a good shot at playing it would be at least a mild surprise to see Norman and Reed.
Next three games
Sunday vs Bengals (3-4) in London—While the Bengals are still a quality team this game does not seem quite as daunting as it did when the matchup at Wembley Stadium was announced. Their scariest matchup is A.J. Green against a possibly Norman-less secondary.
November 13 vs. Vikings (5-1)—Early in the season this looked like it might be a fairly easy game with QB Teddy Bridgewater and RB Adrian Peterson out with injuries. But then the Vikings started 5-0 and the game took on a much tougher veneer. They looked average in a loss to the Eagles, however, and we will see how they look after the Redskins’ bye.
November 20 vs. Packers (4-2)—Aaron Rodgers isn’t Superman any more but he wasn’t playing great when the Packers came to FedEx Field for the wild card playoff game last January and he still toyed with the Redskins. He is being helped by a defense that is ranked first in both total rushing yards given up and in average per rushing attempt.