- For many Redskins fans, yesterday felt like a victorious Sunday, but we don’t need to horn in on L.A.’s Victory Monday. Taking the Cowboys down—in Dallas—puts the 3-1 Rams on top of the NFC West, and makes that Redskins win in Week 2 over L.A. look like a pretty good win. I TOLD you Sean McVay was still working for us! It looked like Dallas was going to take Jay Gruden’s gameplan and run over McVay’s defense, with Alfred Morris going for the huge 70-yard gainer early, but Todd Gurley was up for the challenge and led all rushers on the day. Of course, we have our own business to tend to this evening, but watching the Rams beat Dallas made for a very satisfying Sunday. If only the Chargers could have contained LeGarrette Blount...that would have been some serious icing on the cake. (In case anyone didn’t know or hear, the New York Giants DID in fact play yesterday. I think they put that game on a local cable access channel in the NYC area.) This is all to point out that the NFC East has at least some juice to it heading into Monday Night Football. The success of the Washington Redskins tonight has a lot to do with just how juicy things can get!
- Washington’s home win last week over the Oakland Raiders is absolutely holding up, despite the silver and black taking a loss on the road in Denver yesterday. Derek Carr left the game, allowing the Broncos to seal their victory with an interception of E.J. Manuel...not exactly the way Oakland drew that one up. The AFC West is a tough division for the NFC East to battle, and two straight tilts against that group—on prime time no less—is certainly allowing the Redskins to measure up their young roster.
- This is where I make it clear that the Kansas City Chiefs are favored in this game for a reason. Have the Redskins beaten the Chiefs since 1983? That depends if we’re including games of H-O-R-S-E, chess and online video games (no actual football wins though). On top of that, the Chiefs are crazy hard to beat at Arrowhead. They are undefeated, they are playing with ridiculous confidence, and their quarterback/head coach duo has achieved full mind-meld status. Kareem Hunt is a bona fide stud, and Tyreek Hill is straight off the screen of a video game. The K.C. defense swarms, and even without their leader Eric Berry, they have a crazy amount of talent to throw at opponents. Despite just winning in prime time, the Redskins are still chasing some ghosts, and big plays in these situations have typically doomed the burgundy and gold. Our own Kevin Ricca points out that the Chiefs have scored a 50+ yard touchdown in NINE straight games. What really freaks me out about that stat is that the Chiefs aren’t relying on deep balls each week for their long plays. They are handing the ball off to Hunt or throwing behind the line to Hill and scoring from everywhere on the field. If we thought Oakland was going to give us problems, Kansas City is another whole level up.
- Prior to last week’s tilt against the Raiders, I was nervous. I thought everyone around me was nervous. The primary source of those nerves was this feeling that, “I think the Redskins could actually win this game, but who the hell do I think I am for even thinking that?” Going into Arrowhead, the brain and the heart are once again doing battle. No matter the odds (Chiefs favored by a touchdown in most places), I am once again surveying the landscape and I continue to hear the same voice I heard last week. “Why don’t the Redskins have a chance?” In prior years, this was a straw we all clung to—the idea that on “any given Sunday” blah blah blah. It was the kind of hope that existed almost as a defense mechanism against the blinding truth on most days. That truth was of course that the Redskins really didn’t have a chance.
- Today, I am feeling last week’s nerves, but none of last week’s doubt. That is not because I feel like tonight’s game is a slam dunk for the Skins—not at all. Last week, it felt like a lot was lined up against us. This week, an almost identical scenario has presented itself. On the heels of a couple games that have displayed where the Redskins might be strong, the chance to really find out against a great Chiefs team tonight is just plain exciting. All the pressure is on the home team tonight. They are the last undefeated team in the league. They are playing in front of their fans against a team they have dominated for a while. And yet, the Redskins have already shown themselves capable of making plays when it counts. They did it on the road against the Rams, and boy did they do it at home last week against the Raiders. That is what has erased the doubt—at least for this week. I feel comfortable about the kind of team that is going to show up this evening. Regardless of the outcome, it feels like Manusky and Tomsula and Callahan and Gruden are going to have their guys ready to execute a plan of attack. If that is true, then let the chips fall where they may.
- We’ll be turning around in quick fashion to cover this game on The Audible tomorrow night. As has turned into our custom, we’ll put the majority of After the Whistle on Facebook Live (starting around 9 PM), and we will be soliciting answers to a fresh set of questions (last week we were looking for “beefy” nicknames for the defensive line). Since it is the official Redskins aftershow of Hogs Haven, I will ask that you keep your eyes and ears open for the best part of tonight’s “show.” Camera cutaways, one-liners from Jon Gruden, and of course all of the amazing character development that comes with each game are the usual topics for the podcast that covers the greatest television show there is: Redskins football.