As I wrote yesterday, my first step in pre-training camp prep for the upcoming season was to study the Las Vegas odds.Step No. 2? Plunk down 50 at the local bookstore for a stack of preview magazines so you dont have to, assuming, of course, youre only interested in the CliffsNotes version.Heres a brief on the four previews I picked up:Athlon SportsRedskins predicted finish in NFC East: Last.Money quote: The Redskins return everyone in the defensive front seven, which was their biggest strength in 2011. also upgraded a punchless receiving corps. Considering that they lost six games by only one possession last season, dont be surprised if the Redskins compete for a playoff spot.Intriguing nugget: Robert Griffin III was tapped best rookie QB over Indys Andrew Luck and is predicted to be the NFCs offensive rookie of the year. Griffin will have more talent around him than him, the magazine says, Thus, Griffin should have more success this season than Luck. But, it continues, RG3 better bring his Superman socks to D.C.Lundys Predicted finish: Last.Money quote: Thanks to tackling machine London Fletcher and new comers Barry Cofield, Stephen Bowen and Ryan Kerrigan, the Redskins were much improved in 2011. Rookie running backs Roy Helu and Evan Royster showed promise. But after three straight-double digit losing seasons and four consecutive last-place finishes, hopes for a turnaround in Washington are in Griffins hands.Intriguing nugget: On Coach Mike Shanahans future: Turning the offense over to Griffin should buy Shanahan the fourth year on his contract. However, the 60-year-old Shanahan knows this is the last season hes playing with house money.Pro Football WeeklyPredicted finish: Last.Money quote: Robert Griffin III could be this years Cam Newton or Andy Dalton, and the Redskins weapons appear to be stronger. It could come down to the play of two key units the offensive line and secondary to determine whether this is a comeback season or another hear at the bottom of the still-loaded NFC East.Intriguing nugget: No position earned a grade higher than a B, which went to the defensive line and linebackers. Running backs received the lowest grade, a C-.Phil Steeles Pro FootballPredicted finish: Last.Money quote: Factors pointing upward this year are that they were -14 in turnovers last year, had two net close losses, were only -3.1 yards per game (like an 8-8 team) and had 65 starts lost to injury. On the negative side of the ledger us that the schedule gets a lot tougher this year (18 to 3) and they play in the same division with a pair of Top 5 NFL teams (NYG & PHI)Intriguing nugget: In Shanahans 32 games as the WAS HC, his QBs ran the ball 61 times total! The team wants Griffin to improvise on third down but also stay in the pocket as much as possible.As you can see, there are two common themes in each of the four previews: the Skins are expected to be division basement dwellers once again, but theres also optimism that RG3s arrival could signal the start of a turnaround.
DeSean Jackson's stats from the past four games look like numbers that a block first, catch second tight end would post, not numbers that one of the NFL's most premier receiving talents would have. But, for a combination of a few reasons, the electric wideout has been unplugged since Week 3.
In Sunday's loss against the Lions, Jackson caught five balls for 35 yards, good for seven yards per catch. On most days, his average reception goes for double that, and pretty often, he's good for triple that.
Therefore, you would expect that No. 11 would be a little frustrated with how things have gone as of late, especially considering that he's in a contract year. That's why this picture on Instagram, which Jackson put up Sunday evening, could be interpreted as a showing of displeasure with his role in Washington's offense since a 96-yard performance in New York:
For the year, DJax has one score, and since September 25, he hasn't topped five grabs or 55 yards. Some questions as to why they can't get him the ball on anything more than some short comebacks or shallow crossers should be expected this week.
MORE REDSKINS: PIERRE GARÇON - WE ALWAYS LOOK TO GO DEEP
DETROIT—With 1:05 left to play against the Lions the Redskins were in position to pull within a half game of the NFC East lead.
But a Matthew Stafford miracle drive later they find themselves tied for last place in the division.
Life comes at you fast in the NFC East. The last-place Giants, who started the day in last place, were up first on Sunday. They picked off Case Keenum four times in a 17-10 win over the perpetually mediocre Rams.
While the Redskins were battling it out with the Giants, the Eagles were putting the first mark this season in the Vikings’ loss column. It was a sloppy game, with the team committing a combined five turnovers in the first 10 minutes of play. But ultimately the Eagles persevered and won 21-10.
The Cowboys watched all of this unfold while they were on their bye. They were guaranteed to remain in first place at 5-1 regardless of what happened. They are trailed by three teams with four wins each. The Eagles have had their bye so they are in second at 4-2. Both the Giants and Redskins are 4-3. New York is off this week and Washington’s bye comes after their trip to London this week. Some would say that the Redskins are ahead of New York due to their head-to-head win over the Giants. But that tiebreaker won’t really be set until the teams settle it at FedEx Field on January 1. Only a head-to-head sweep matters.
A win would have made the Redskins the only five-win team not leading a division, a good spot when it comes to getting a wild card if they can't stop the Cowboys. But reality is that they are one of five four-win teams and if the season ended today they would be out of the playoffs. The good news is that the season isn't even halfway over.
One aspect of the Redskins’ loss on Sunday could potentially come back to bite them. When you look across the divisions at the wild card playoff race you see the Lions also have a 4-3 record now. But Detroit holds the tiebreaker now with the head-to-head win. There is plenty of time for things to play out but that could come back to bite the Redskins in terms of either playoff seeding or making the postseason at all.