Here is this week’s Redskins-centric look around the NFL, Week 4:
—For the first time this year there are no intradivisional games. The Eagles are on a bye so perhaps coach Doug Pederson can use the extra time to find the brake pedal to slow down the Carson Wentz hype train. Comparisons to Peyton Manning and Bret Favre, made by Pederson himself, can’t be good for a player who was slated to sit on the bench all year until about a week before the season started.
—The Cowboys get their first schedule break from finishing last in the NFC East last year as they travel to San Francisco. They are visiting the 49ers because they both finished in fourth place in their respective divisions. The Cowboys a two-point road favorites. I’m not sure how good the Cowboys are. Their first two games, against the Giants and Redskins, could have gone either way. They impressively took care of the Bears, who are one of the worst teams in the league. We probably won’t know a whole lot about the Cowboys until after this week, when they host the Bengals and visit the Packers before their Week 7 bye.
—The Dez Bryant situation in Dallas is just bizarre. He hurt his knee against the Bears on Sunday but he didn’t show up for an MRI, treatment and meetings on Monday. It turns out he was afraid that he was seriously injured. So, somehow, staying at home was going to make it better. This is a professional football player, and a presumed adult who will turn 28 next month, mind you. And Jason Garrett, his professional football coach, wrote it off to Bryant being a “very, very passionate person.” The problem is there are a lot of passionate players on the Cowboys. Can they simply do whatever they want to when they are afraid that they’ve been injured? Can they blow off treatment and meetings with impunity? In any case, it doesn’t look like Bryant will be able to play against the 49ers. After that he’s day to day, assuming he shows up.
—On Monday night the Giants are at the Vikings. Minnesota is undefeated despite losing their quarterback, running back and left tackle to injuries. They owe their record to their defense and their plus-eight net takeaway margin. The Giants are at minus-six in turnovers, an indication that maybe they are fortunate to be 2-1. New York is a highly flawed team but they have Eli Manning and three legit weapons at wide receiver so they can score enough to stay in any game. The Vikings are favored by five. If the favorites prevail the Redskins (favored by 7.5) would be tied with the Giants for third in the NFC East.
—The Ravens, Washington’s Week 5 opponent, are 3.5-point favorites to remain undefeated as they host the Raiders. Baltimore is getting some players back from injury including pass rushing linebacker Elvis Dumervil and RB Kenneth Dixon. Oakland is 2-1 with an impressive road win against the Saints and a puzzling home loss to the Falcons on the ledger.
—This week I like three underdogs with the Bucs +3 at home over the Broncos, another home dog with the Jets +3.5 over the Seahawks, and the Raiders +3.5 at Baltimore. I posted an 0-2-1 mark in Week 3, getting a push with the Packers, who won be exactly seven over the Lions, and losing with the Jaguars (what was I thinking?) and Steelers (what were they thinking?).