Last season, the Redskins cruised into the playoffs with a 10-6 record, which usually isn’t good enough to win a division. However, the NFC East was easily the worst division in football last year. Although this season, this has completely changed, and it is now arguably the best in the league.
The Dallas Cowboys currently lead the division, and also have the best record in the NFL, sitting pretty at 9-1. The Redskins are down in third place, but they have a record of 5-3-1, which currently qualifies them for a playoff spot. They could leapfrog the New York Giants in the coming weeks and are in an excellent position to make the playoffs as a wildcard team.
The Redskins have found ways to win games this year, but they have been nothing more than average on both sides of the ball. Both their offense and defense are ranked in the middle of the pack. Their offense is ranked 16th in the NFL, averaging 23.6 points per game. Kirk Cousins has a passer rating of 94.8 this year, good enough for only 14th best in the league among quarterbacks. To say the least, he has not been what the organization was expecting him to be when they gave him 20 million dollars to play for them this season. However, a banged up receiving corps has been a major reason for his struggles. Star tight end Jordan Reed hasn’t been fully healthy since the beginning of the season, and the team’s number one wide receiver DeSean Jackson has missed the last couple of games. With both of them now back to full health, Cousins should be able to get things going.
Additionally, rookie halfback Rob Kelley has become the starting running back. The original starter, Matt Jones, had trouble handling the ball, and eventually lost the job after getting hurt. Kelley has posted 184 rushing yards and a touchdown over the past two games, so he should also be able to help propel the offense in the team’s upcoming games.
The Redskins’ defense has been extremely mediocre so far this season as well. They have allowed 23.2 points per game to opposing teams, the 17th most in the league. This isn’t horrible, but there is obviously a lot of room for improvement. Defensive captains DeAngelo Hall and Will Compton have to make sure that their guys can pick it up down the stretch, as each game is becoming increasingly more important. If the defense can elevate their level of play, the team is practically a lock to win a wildcard spot, and could even make a deep playoff run for the first time in a long time.
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