Following my articles throughout Week 5 about teams punching above their weight in the AFC, I’m now turning my eye towards the NFC. Unfortunately for me, I can’t pick the team whose player initially started the idea for these articles within the NFC East to be the team to write about, as they’re actually a fairly solid team and are sitting at #1 in the division.
The team that’s reaching at the moment in the division has to be the Redskins.
The ‘Skins came into the 2015 season looking like a team that didn’t have an identity, losing their first game 17-10 to the Dolphins, and drama seemed to follow them at every corner. Luckily for the team, the Robert Griffin vs Jay Gruden controversy seemed to die a quick death (along with RG3’s starting position on the team), and Kirk Cousins has come in to be an average QB within Gruden’s West-Coast attack.
The Redskins have managed to put together a 2-3-0 record, and are constantly pushing teams that should be stomping them into the ground. Over the past 5 games, the Redskins have lead in rushing 4 times, passing 3 times and have managed to control ball games at an average of 34:37 minutes per game. Their commitment to running the ball has also reduced the number of turnovers and kept the team’s Achilles’ Heel off of the field.
The weakness of the team is mostly down to the defense; they’ve allowed an average of 4.4 yards per carry for opposing running backs, an overall QB completion percentage of 60.11% at an average of 7 yards per throw, and 91 first downs so far. However, they are getting to the QB, with 12 sacks over the past 5 games, alongside forcing 6 fumbles and have picked the ball off twice. Not everything about this defense sucks, they just need some work.
The only thing that’s holding them back currently is the turnover ratio; the Redskins are -3 in turnovers – Kirk Cousins has thrown 6 interceptions, and they’ve fumbled the ball 5 times. There’s only so much that can be done when you turn the ball over so much, but if they can keep the ball in their hands, that’s what will put them at the top of the NFC East.
Their body of work over the past 5 games is what will help them continue to punch above their weight. They’ve out-rushed opponents 609:488 Yards and played ‘keep-away’ against teams to grind out wins, or force opponents to respect them by keeping games within a score.
Hopefully they continue the way they’re going, and the defense can sure up some of the issues they’ve been facing to be a contender but first, they’ve got to win their division – which means getting through the free-falling Cowboys, the resurgent Eagles, and the division leaders, the Giants.
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