Here is where the Redskins stand in Week 5 of the 2018 NFL season.
Top three storylines:
Returning to the scene
The Redskins go back to the Superdome less than a year after suffering their worst loss of the 2017 season there. You don’t need the details of the Redskins blowing a 15-point lead with six minutes to play in Week 11. Will the Redskins be motivated by the loss or will they play scared if they do get a lead?
On the personal side, Adrian Peterson will be facing the team that signed him last year only to trade him to the Cardinals after four games. And Chris Thompson returns to the scene of his season-ending broken fibula, an injury that derailed a career season for Thompson.
Defense leads the way
In three games, the Redskins defense has gotten the job done. They nearly had a shutout in Arizona, they played well enough to win against the Colts, and they held Aaron Rodgers’ Packers to less than 20 points.
Sure, there are some things that they need to tighten up - like the rushing defense - and they need to get more pass rush off of the edge. But they have improved from last year. The young defensive line is performing as advertised and the gamble they took in relying on young players at corner has paid off.
A well-timed bye
Let’s get this straight—Week 4 is way too early to have a bye. I’ve never heard an adequate explanation as to why they have to start byes before around Week 6 or later. Despite that, the bye could work out well for the Redskins. Most importantly it allowed Trent Williams time to get surgery on his bursa sac and rehab that before playing. Brandon Scherff had a week to rehab his injured knee. Both Adrian Peterson (ankle) and Josh Norman (hamstring) may have been questionable or doubtful if they had played a game last Sunday. While they may show effects of playing 13 straight weeks somewhere down the line, the bye did provide the Redskins with some short-term help.
Record: 2-1, 1st in NFC East
vs. NFC East: 0-0
vs. NFC: 2-0
vs. AFC: 0-1
Trending in the right direction: Against the Colts, Adrian Peterson had 11 carries for 20 yards. Not since September of 2016 had he rushed for so few yards in a game where he had at least 10 carries. He bounced back in a big way, averaging 6.23 yards on 19 carries against the Packers. That was his best average per rushing attempt since he averaged 7.8 in a game against the Raiders.
Trending in the wrong direction: Josh Doctson tied his career high with four receptions against the Colts. He followed it up by posting a goose egg in the catches column against Green Bay. We’re at the point where we should forget about Doctson having a breakout season and just look for him to have a breakout game.
Next three games
Monday @ Saints (3-1)—If they win, the Redskins will remain in first place in the NFC East and they will have everyone’s attention. Lose and the perception that they are a team that has some talent but is plagued by inconsistency will stick.
October 14 vs. Panthers (2-1)—The Redskins haven’t won a game against the Panthers with Cam Newton at quarterback. In fact, they haven’t beaten them with anyone at QB since 2006. Newton is playing as well as he ever has and the decision to let second-year running back Christian McCaffrey run the ball more often has made the Carolina offense a force to be reckoned with.
October 21 vs. Cowboys (2-2)—Not much needs to be said here. They haven’t beaten the Cowboys since Dak Prescott and Zeke Elliott arrived. Home division game.
MORE REDSKINS NEWS:
- Redskins vs. Saints: First look at the matchup
- Fresh Off the Bye Week: Redskins injury information still scant
- Tandler’s Take: Redskins get three chances to make a statement