Another look at where the Redskins stand among the various Power Rankings from some of the top sources covering the NFL.
This was a bit of an odd week as the Redskins lost the game, yet actually picked up ground in a couple of power rankings. Even those rankings where they lost some ground it was typically 1-3 spots. While some of that makes sense since they hung in with the undefeated Falcons on the road into overtime, but it's not as if the Redskins played really well in the game. In fact the Redskins struggled in three of the four main phases of the game, as they couldn't stop the run, and offensively they were ineffective both on the ground and through the air. Despite that they clearly impressed some people.
I think the biggest factor is now that it's been 5 weeks and it's clear that while the Redskins have their faults, they are going to challenge teams. Of the Redskins three losses on the Giants game did the Redskins clearly feel outmatched and overwhelmed. Versus the Dolphins and the Falcons, the Redskins could have easily won either game if a few more plays break their way. That is a positive step for this team which has too often in years past just been completely dominated in a number of games. In fact last season in 9 of the Redskins losses, they were outscored by 10 or more points, and five of those were by 20 or more points. That just doesn't seem likely to happen this season and I think the NFL is starting to take notice. Does this mean all the Redskins problems are solved? of course not, but you have to start somewhere.
Two external factors are also playing into the Redskins relatively solid ranking (particularly coming off a loss). The first of which is the Redskins play in one of the weakest divisions in the NFL. Only the AFC South could be considered weaker than the NFC East, which has all the teams clustered together. The Giants may have won Sunday night to take the lead in the division, but they needed a last second drive at home against the 49ers one of the weakest teams in the NFL. The Eagles have played better of late, but they still have their issues and the Cowboys aren't a threat until Bryant and Romo come back. That keeps the Redskins squarely in the playoff mix, because it's quite possible this division is won with a .500 record or worse.
The other thing that keeps the Redskins relevant in the power rankings, is the fact that in general the NFL seems down this year. Only 12 teams have a winning record through 5 weeks, which is the lowest total since the early 90s (when there were 4 fewer teams also). Right now 10 teams sit at 2-3, which is about a 1/3 of the league. Given that the Redskins haven't played too poorly overall, it's easy to see why some analysts are more bullish on them.
Where do you think the Redskins deserve to be ranked?