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Enemy Intel: Around the NFL, Week 5—Teams won't stop baiting Beckham

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Enemy Intel: Around the NFL, Week 5—Teams won't stop baiting Beckham

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.

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Updating Redskins' injury list after loss to Cardinals

Updating Redskins' injury list after loss to Cardinals

GLENDALE, AZ—The Redskins went into today’s game against the Cardinals somewhat banged up and they exit with a couple of additional injury concerns in the form of concussions.

Center Spencer Long left the game in the second quarter. Initially it was announced that he had been evaluated for a concussion but that he had been cleared. But after halftime the word came down that he had been retested and it was determined that he does have a concussion. Long has entered the concussion protocol.

Veteran John Sullivan, picked up earlier this season when Kory Lichtensteiger went on injured reserve, filled in a center the rest of the way. He is a capable fill-in but if Long is out he would be the only available center. The Redskins might have to sign a center if it looks like Long will be out of action against the Eagles.

In the fourth quarter safety Will Blackmon left the game. According to Redskins coach Jay Gruden he was being evaluated for a concussion and a stinger. His exact status is unknown. Gruden will give more information during a conference call with reporters on Monday.

[MORE: JOSH NORMAN ON HIS CRUCIAL FOURTH-QUARTER PENALTY]

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Josh Norman on his crucial fourth-quarter penalty vs. Larry Fitzgerald

Josh Norman on his crucial fourth-quarter penalty vs. Larry Fitzgerald

GLENDALE, AZ—The Redskins had a couple of chances to stop what would eventually turn into the Cardinals’ game-clinching drive in the fourth quarter. The first one came when they went for it on fourth and one at their own 34. It was a gutsy call by Arizona coach Bruce Arians and David Johnson make him look smart by popping off a 14-yard run.

The Cards earned that one. But it looked as though they got something of a gift a few plays later when Josh Norman was flagged holding receiver Larry Fitzgerald. It was a borderline call, granting Arizona a gift third and five conversion. Two plays later Carson Palmer went in for the kill, throwing a 42-yard touchdown pass to J.J. Nelson.

On the field, Norman seemed to be none too pleased with the penalty flag. He said after the game that he thinks that Fitzgerald may have stolen a flag.

“He [Fitzgerald] was within five yards. Larry is a wily vet,” said Norman. “I'd been doing it all game, kind of . . . He breaks out and I go for the ball and the flag got thrown. We'd like to see that not happen in that situation because there was some good position, some good leverage. And a flag came out.

“It is what it is. You can't blame a call on that, blame a call on this. It's whatever, man.”

Norman is right. The Redskins blew plenty of chances to take control of the game and the blame can be spread around on both sides of the ball. But the flag will loom large as the Redskins try to shake off this loss and get ready for the Eagles next week.

[MORE: ANGRY JAY GRUDEN SAYS REDSKINS 'NOT EVEN CLOSE' TO THINKING ABOUT PLAYOFFS]