Okay, who wants it?
The NFC East Division that is.
This is a division that has only one team avoiding a losing record after ten weeks and if you ask most football fans to put in order the team in this division, the team leading the grouping of four will fall to third in public perception.
Who is leading the NFC East? The defending Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles? Nope, they are 4 and 5 after nine games. The team that won this division two years ago with the best record in the conference? Nope, that team is the Dallas Cowboys, and they also have won only four of nine games including their upset win over the Eagles last Sunday night.
Well, we know the Giants aren’t the division leaders. They picked up their second win of the year last night in San Francisco.
So, who’s left? A team that is not on most people’s radar, and yet has a record as good, 6 wins and 3 losses, as the Chicago Bears. This season the upstart Bears are getting more publicity than the release of a new album by Beyonce. But a team with as good of a record as Chicago that also leads the NFC East is an afterthought.
Who are they?
The Washington Redskins.
Now, I too like a number of teams more than Washington, including the highly regarded Bears. But, for a team with a two game bulge in the loss column in their division should at least be mentioned with the best. Shouldn’t they?
Well, Washington has allowed almost as many points as they have scored, 176 tallied and 175 given up, but they have parlayed that into six wins in nine decisions. How did they do this given two teams in their division have outscored their opponents on the season by 10 and 15 points, respectively the Cowboys and Eagles, but have lost more games than they have won.
First, Washington has three double-digit wins gained over the Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers in weeks one and three, and last Sunday’s road conquest over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 16-3. They have also been blown out three times, losing to the New Orleans Saints by 25 points, the Atlanta Falcons by 24 points, and the Indianapolis Colts by a dozen. Their other three games have all been close, with the Redskins winning all of them over the Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants.
What do the Redskins have going for them? First, quarterback Alex Smith, who ranks favorably with Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers over the past seven seasons for regular season wins. Second, they are playing in a division that could hand the title to them by default.
The Eagles are looking to bounce off a Super Bowl win after a losing season the prior year, a formula that has marked problems for the other three teams that have defended a Super Bowl title in that role. The Cowboys have had problems this year at a position that for recent season has been a strength, their offensive line. That liability has limited the effectiveness of runningback Ezekiel Elliott and sent Dak Prescott often running for survival.
Both Philadelphia and Dallas have looked to enhance their prospects of catching the Redskins with recent wide receiver acquisitions, the Eagles adding Golden Tate and the Cowboys Amari Cooper.
This week, the Redskins are at home and after winning as an underdog last week in Tampa now are favored over a Houston Texans team that comes to town riding a six game winning streak. If Washington was to win this one, then perhaps they would earn the acknowledge they have lacked over the first ten weeks. But, if they lose, the public perception of Washington not being a serious threat to the league would be further verified.