Here’s my weekly Redskins-centric look around the NFL as the teams of the NFC East all play outside of the division for the first time this year.
—Are the Eagles walking into a trap in Detroit? That’s probably wishful thinking by Redskins fans. But if the Eagles let them hang around that indoor stadium can get pretty noisy and Carson Wentz didn’t have to deal with a whole lot of crowd noise in Philly’s one road game in Chicago. And the schedule is about to get real for the Eagles, with a game in Washington and one against the 4-0 Vikings coming up. In fact, in their remaining 12 games they don’t face on that currently has a losing record. Could they look past the Lions, who have been scuffling? Probably not but it’s a game to keep an eye on.
—The Bengals go to Dallas for the first interconference game of the year for both teams. This is the toughest defense that Dak Prescott has faced; I will be very impressed if he comes out of it with his zero interception record intact. Sometimes the adage that games are decided in the trenches is a myth but it’s not going to be the case here. If the Dallas offensive line can control the Bengals’ tough front things could go the Cowboys’ way. If Carlos Dunlap, Geno Atkins, and company get penetration and disrupt Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield it will be hard for the Cowboys to win. With a trip to Green Bay coming up next week this will be a big one for the Cowboys to prevent the possibility of a losing streak going into their bye.
—The Packers had a bye before taking on the Giants on Sunday. New York is on a two-game losing streak and the Giants’ transformed defense that many thought was on the verge of being elite (well, many in New York/New Jersey, anyway) is showing some cracks. They’ve had plenty of problems with Kirk Cousins and Sam Bradford so Aaron Rodgers can’t be a welcome sight.
—The stories surrounding the Giants have been more about Odell Beckham than they have about the Packers. Last year Josh Norman showed that rattling Beckman is a good way to keep him from having a huge day. Since it’s working, the Giants’ offensive coordinator said that defenders who try to bait Beckham are “not man enough” to play him straight up. Head coach Ben McAdoo said he wants him playing with a “salty, physical mindset”. The Giants are circling the wagons and defending Beckham rather than trying to get him to ignore the baiting. Somehow, I doubt that a defensive back will be deterred from trash talking to Beckham and being physical with him because a coordinator challenged his manhood. At least not as long as it works. Beckham is 18th in the NFL in both receptions and receiving yards and he has yet to catch a touchdown pass.
—This week I have a road favorite with the Bengals -1 at the Cowboys and a home favorite with the Vikings giving 6.5 to the Texans. I already have a winner in the bank with the Cardinals easily covering the 3.5 against the 49ers. Last week I “improved” to 1-2, winning with the Raiders over Ravens and losing with the Bucs and Jets.