Once thought to be a shoo-in repeat for the Eagles, the NFC East is now shaping up to be a much more wide-open race. And that will benefit the Redskins.
Before the season began, if you were to ask any NFL fan who they thought would be in first place in the NFC East to start the month of October, I’m willing to bet that most would say the Eagles. The reigning Super Bowl Champions had made perceived upgrades to their roster and did a lot to establish that they were the team to beat in the NFC East. So, naturally, they would be in first place come October 1, right?
Wrong. It’s actually the Redskins.
Believe it or not, the Redskins actually sport a 2-1 record and that puts them in the driver’s seat for the division. Sure, they’ve played one game less than everyone else, but that’s beside the point. The fact is that the division is wide open, and it’s really there for the taking.
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The Eagles don’t look quite as strong as they did last year en route to the Super Bowl. Their defense is a bit shakier than it had previously been, and their corners are susceptible to being beat. That was on display in their disappointing Week 4 loss to the Titans, and while the team probably has the most talented personnel groups and the best QB, they still have some work to do before they fully mesh.
The Cowboys have been solid on defense, but their passing offense has been a mess. Dak Prescott finally cracked 200 passing yards against the Lions, but his receiver group hasn’t done a lot to help him. The team can only lean on Ezekiel Elliott and their running game so much to carry the offensive load.
As for the Giants, Eli Manning has rendered them a virtual non-contender. He can get the job sometimes, but other times, he regresses and looks like one of the league’s worst starters. That inconsistency makes the Giants the weakest team in the NFC East.
And then there’s the Redskins. The team has put forth two great games — and one awful outing. They have a steady, accurate quarterback and a strong defense. The one thing they lack is a strong receiving corps, but Alex Smith can get the job done by targeting tight ends and running backs. So, that should keep the team competitive in most games.
At the end of the day, any of these teams could emerge with the divisional crown. It’s not out of the question for one squad to go on a run and really start to pull away, but this feels like more of a close race this year. It will be interesting to see what happens, but the Redskins have a fighting chance. And that’s what matters.
The Redskins will try to continue to win in Week 5 as they take on the Saints in a Monday night road battle. That will be a critical moment for them, and if they can pull off a win, they may establish themselves as the momentary top dog in the divisional race.