With the Redskins on an early bye, this week offers an empty space in the otherwise weekly routine of the 17-week season akin to a missing tooth that draws you to explore the gap with your tongue again and again despite the fact that there’s nothing there.
Redskins fans this weekend are reduced to two pastimes — looking for intriguing matchups in the Week 3 schedule, and rooting against our divisional foes. Unfortunately, none of our divisional foes look like definite underdogs in their Week 3 matchups, allowing Redskin fans the opportunity to see our team advance in the divisional standings even as the players themselves relax on the beach in Cabo.
Philly has played three tight games this season, scoring 18, 21 and 20 points. The first two games were played with Nick Foles under center, and he seems to have fallen back to earth after his magical playoff run of 2017. Wentz looked talented but rusty in last week’s hard fought win against the Colts, meaning he is likely to improve weekly as the season progresses. Tennessee has a 2-1 record, indicating that they have the stuff needed to threaten the Eagles, but Mariota has been out most of the season with an elbow injured in Week 1, and was forced into action in last week’s 9-6 victory over Jacksonville. In the NFL.com weekly Pick’em, 86% have picked the Eagles to win. Let’s go Titans!
Detroit - Dallas
Dallas has played very good defense and very bad offense this season. In three weeks, opponents have put up only 53 points against Dallas. Unfortunately, Dallas has put up 41 on offense. The passing game has been anemic, and because Dak has been no threat as a passer, opposing defenses have been able to focus on stopping Zeke Elliott. The Cowboys’ only victory came against the NY Giants, and they lost to an otherwise winless Seattle Seahawks team. Normally all of this would bode well for the Redskins bye week, but the Cowboys’ opponent, the Detroit Lions, have had a similar season to the Cowboys through the first three weeks, first losing to the Jets and 49ers before suddenly putting on their big boy pants and beating the Patriots in Week 3. The winner of this game will be 2-2, with renewed hope for the season. The loser will be 1-3 and starting to think about the 2019 draft. In the NFL.com weekly Pick’em, the vote is split almost evenly, with 52% favoring the Lions on the road. In the battle of silver & blue, I’ll be rooting for the visitors this week.
Saints - Giants
The late game in the division is the one that offers some hope for a blowout of such proportions that Redskin fans can push the recliner back and enjoy the contest with laughter and a six-pack. Still, in a Drew Brees-Eli Manning matchup, it’s hard to feel totally secure that the Giants won’t muster something special to win the day, especially playing at home in New Jersey. The Saints have reverted to form in 2018, not bothering to play defense — relying instead on trying to win track meets. They lost to the Bucs 48-40 in week 1; beat the Browns 21-18 in Week 2, and came up big against the division rival Falcons 43-37 last week. Who knows? Maybe Sean Payton’s defensive traffic cones and crash dummies will be all Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard and Saquon Barkley need to get on track. After scoring a combined 28 points in the first two games, the Giants put up 27 in a ‘get well’ game against the Texans. If the Saints can win this game and go to 3-1, they will drive the first nail into the Giants’ coffin by setting them back to 1-3 at the end of the first quarter of the season. Here’s hoping that in New York today, the Saints come marching in for a win.
A couple other interesting matchups:
Tampa Bay - Chicago
Two teams that have surprised by overachieving through three games. One team will win, and move to 3-1, while the other will walk away 2-2 and face questions about what it means for their season. Who will make the difference for their respective team, Mack or Fitzmagic?
The Ravens could bring the Steelers to a critical juncture by going into PIttsburgh and beating Big Ben and Antonio Brown. If the Steelers drop to 1-2-1, they will face a tough battle to turn the season around in the coming weeks without Le’Veon Bell under contract.
Reminder: Even after the bye week ends, Redskins fans have to wait an extra day to see the team in action, as the Week 5 game against the Saints will be played on Monday Night. It’ll be a long eight days!
Which NFC East team would you most like to see lose this week?
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Which of these four teams is most likely to come away with a win today?
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