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Redskins vs Giants: What we learned from the week eight matchup

The Redskins earn their third-straight victory after beating the Giants 20-13 this past Sunday. What did we learn from the win at MetLife?

NFL: Washington Redskins at New York Giants Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The Redskins earned their third straight victory this past weekend in another NFC East divisional matchup. Although the talent is there, the New York Giants are a mentally battered team and each week it infects their team as they step on the playing field. The Redskins did not fall into the potential “trap” spot; instead, they dominated the Giants offense throughout the game.

Adrian Peterson continues his comeback player of the year campaign in solid fashion, closing out the Giants late in a one-possession game. Peterson is a significant part of the Redskins 5-2 start, but that was known already. What did we learn from the victory at MetLife Stadium? Let’s take a look.

Run the ball and stop the run. The 2018 Redskins identity is clearly defined, and they will live and die by it throughout the year.

Look there is nothing pretty about how the Redskins want to come out of a game with a victory. It comes down to who will be more physical up front, who wears down whom first, and that is who will escape the slugfest with a victory when facing the 2018 Washington Redskins. The Redskins are averaging 30 carries per game offensively while limiting teams to 21 carries and a 3.8 yard per carry average. Washington wants opposing teams to abandon the run and feel one dimensional, which is when the “dogs” are let loose. The pass rush has increased significantly as the weeks moved along, whether it is blitzes or straight up four-man rushes, Washington has accumulated 21 sacks in seven games and has them now tied for fifth in the NFL. Of course, seven sacks in one game against the Giants terrible offensive line and a statue of a quarterback will inflate your numbers, but there is no question games like that will boost pass-rushers confidence moving forward. This is the identity of the Redskins, so if you do not like it buckle-up, there are at least nine more games left.

Coaching matters – Remember that as Josh Doctson and Jordan Reed’s impact on the offense continues to grow.

Josh Doctson and Jordan Reed have not put up ridiculous numbers over the past three games. Targets matter, whether it is completed or not, the emphasis on getting passes thrown to players who “need” to contribute and make a difference is going to be a driving factor for this offense moving forward. The coaches, specifically head coach Jay Gruden, recognize that the offense is hanging on by a thread relying on Adrian Peterson to carry the offense. In the Redskins two losses, Peterson had a combined 15 carries for 26 yards (1.7 ypc). The Redskins have the sixth worse pass attack in the NFL, the worst it has ever been under Jay Gruden since the 2014 season where they ranked 11th. Over the past three games, Reed and Doctson combined have gotten 41 targets for 27 catches, which is a 66 percent catch rate. Expect the targets to remain consistent with these two players as they continue to be relied upon moving forward in an offense in dire need of a reliable playmaker(s).

The team has their faults but relax, enjoy the ride, the Redskins are a good team, and it will be a fun season. They are a good team, and it is time to increase the expectations moving forward.

I understand being cautiously optimistic, and tempering expectations are the preferred route for most Redskins fans, it is even displayed in me at times as I write. However, the fact of the matter is regardless of how nervous fans feel, the Redskins are a good team. It is time to embrace the quality team Jay Gruden and his staff have developed. How good are they? Washington may not be on the level of the Patriots, Saints, Rams, or Chiefs but they damn sure can compete with the best of the rest without a doubt. Expect the Redskins to have a good chance of winning against the rest of their opponents, because they are fully capable of doing so. Though the passing game on offense is struggling so far this season, the rushing attack and a solid defense will remain a factor as the weather starts to change up which goes in favor of Washington. It is okay to let your guard down a little, they may not win every game left on the schedule, but they will compete.