Hail to the Redskins! The new team to beat in NFC East
Sep. 22, 2015
Hail to the Redskins! Hail (one) Victory!
The Washington Redskins won a game and suddenly they're favorites to win the NFC Least, er, East.
The Cowboys (2-0) won't have Tony Romo and Dez Bryant for at least half the season. The Eagles (0-2) look dismal on offense. The Giants (0-2) can't protect any lead.
So, those dysfunctional Redskins (1-1) are your team to beat.
Sure, the Redskins were impressive in a 24-10 win over St. Louis, which came off its own impressive victory over Seattle in the opener. But don't make playoff plans in the nation's capital just yet.
The Cowboys may not have Romo or Bryant for a while, but their defense was outstanding against Philadelphia and will add Greg Hardy and Rolando McClain in three weeks. With Romo and Bryant, they could've run away with their second straight division title. Now, they'll have to win games on defense and hope Brandon Weeden doesn't make crucial mistakes.
As for the Eagles, they have too much talent to be this bad. Kelly led them to a division title after a 1-3 start in 2013.
Of course, he had Nick Foles, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson and the best offensive line in the league that season. Then he got rid of Foles, McCoy, Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and two-thirds of the line — Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans. His collection of high-priced stars led by Sam Bradford and DeMarco Murray isn't doing the job, but it's too early to count them out.
The Giants could be undefeated. Poor clock management cost them a win in Dallas and they blew another double-digit lead in the fourth quarter against Atlanta. Don't bet against Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr.
Then there's the Redskins. Rookie Matt Jones and Alfred Morris give Washington a formidable 1-2 punch. With the league's best rushing attack, Kirk Cousins might only have to be a game manager at quarterback. Is it enough to win the division? Thursday night's game at the Giants will be telling.
Here are other overreactions from Week 2:
OVERREACTION: Move over, Seattle. Arizona is the beast of the NFC West. The Seahawks are 0-2 following a loss at Green Bay. The Cardinals are 2-0 and look dominant.
REALISTIC REACTION: Yes, Seattle faces an uphill battle. Only 11.2 percent (23 of 204) of teams made the playoffs after an 0-2 start since 1990. But the Seahawks had a fourth-quarter lead at Lambeau Field before Aaron Rodgers rallied the Packers. They might be just a Kam Chancellor away from fixing things and making a run. The Cardinals are always a Carson Palmer injury away from falling apart.
OVERREACTION: DeMarco Murray's record-breaking season in Dallas was a fluke. Murray is averaging 1.6 FEET (not yards) per carry in two games with the Eagles.
REALISTIC REACTION: Murray isn't going to run for 1,800 yards again, especially behind this offensive line in Philadelphia. But if Kelly makes some adjustments, Murray should get going.
OVERREACTION: Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are going 16-0. Brady is on pace to throw for 6,032 yards and 56 TDs. He's unstoppable.
REALISTIC REACTION: After a tumultuous offseason, Brady has predictably come out with something extra to prove in wins over Pittsburgh and Buffalo. But the Patriots can't keep this up in an improved division. They won't run the table, but maybe 14-2.
OVERREACTION: Travis Benjamin is the new Randy Moss. Benjamin has TD catches of 54, 50 and 60 yards and he's also returned a punt 78 yards for a score.
REALISTIC REACTION: Benjamin's three long TD receptions are a fantasy owner's dream, but he has just three other catches in two games. Defense should be more aware of him now, so let's not send him to Hawaii already.
OVERREACTION: The Saints are cooked. New Orleans is 0-2 following a home loss to Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers and Drew Brees might have a shoulder injury.
REALISTIC REACTION: If Brees is out, things could get ugly for the Saints. Then again, this is the NFC South. Carolina won the division at 7-8-1 last year. No team is out of it.
OVERREACTION: Same old Rex Ryan. He brought his bravado to upstate New York, but still couldn't beat Bill Belichick and the Patriots.
REALISTIC REACTION: Brady and Belichick have made plenty of coaches look bad over the past 15 seasons. The Bills (1-1) aren't ready to topple New England, but they can contend for a playoff spot.
OVERREACTION: This is the best Gang Green defense in Jets history. A 20-7 road win over Andrew Luck and the Colts (0-2) showed the Jets are the real deal.
REALISTIC REACTION: Shutting Luck down is more impressive than doing it to Johnny Manziel in Week 1, but it's only two games. Ryan's crew did it for 16 games in 2009 and 2010 when the Jets went to the AFC title game both seasons.
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