The 5 o’clock club is published Wednesday to Saturday during the season, and aims to provide a forum for reader-driven discussion at a time of day when there isn’t much NFL news being published. Feel free to introduce topics that interest you in the comments below.
Weeks 1 and 2 of the regular season probably offer the most league-wide entertainment every year in the form of surprises and outliers. Every season is a bit of a wild ride in September, but this year, with a number of late off-season holdouts, some high profile early season trades, and some really big-name injuries (Brees, Big Ben) and benchings (Eli), along with some historically lopsided games, seems to be even wilder.
And then there are the Redskins.
They’ve looked outstanding for about 45 minutes this season.
Unfortunately, they’ve played 120 minutes of football; the 45 minutes they’ve looked good has been split between two games, and the rest of the time they’ve looked absolutely atrocious — at least on the defensive side of the ball.
I could give you some stats to prove the point, but I’ll simply suggest that anyone who doesn’t believe me read the Stats & Snaps articles from James Dorsett from the Eagles and Cowboys games. They’re not encouraging.
I expected to lose to the Eagles to open the season, but I was confident ahead of the Cowboys game. Despite everyone else’s certainty that the Skins deserved to be the 6-point underdogs that they were, I felt like victory was at hand for the boys in burgundy and gold.
My bandwagon has been torched.
I’m not predicting any joy out of this season now. I’ve changed my middle name to “Misery” ‘cause that’s what I expect the team to inflict on us fans for most of the remaining 14 games. That’s not to say that I think the team will go winless... I’m not that dubious about the team’s abilities.
But I am skeptical now. Probably to about the same degree that I was after the Week 17 debacle to end the 2018 season, and that was, I believe, the low point of my more than 50-year fandom of the Redskins.
So, what follows is not some sort of “roadmap to the playoffs from here”.
I just thought I’d combine the latest Power Rankings with my adjusted impressions of the 13 teams remaining on the Redskins schedule in a sort of “stock up/stock down” review. I’m not predicting wins or losses for the Redskins here — just sharing opinions (mine and those of Dan Hanzus) about the 13 remaining Redskins opponents.
I have used the Power Rankings from NFL.com for the discussion below.
Week 3 Chicago Bears
Power Ranking: 9
The Bears lost in a stinker against the Packers to kick off the 100th season of the NFL, scoring just 3 points. They held on to squeak out a 16-14 win over the 0-2, 27th ranked Broncos. During the off-season, the Bears looked to be the favorites to repeat as NFC North champs. Now they look like they may be lucky to finish the season above .500 with an offense that is averaging under 10 points per game.
BiB rating: Bears stock is DOWN. This Bears team may not give the Redskins a “W”, but they are definitely a lot more vulnerable than they seemed before the season began.
Week 4 @ NY Giants (Week 16 at FedEx)
Power Ranking: 31
It’s hard to believe, but the Giants have looked as bad as, or worse than, the Redskins in the first two weeks. The Redskins defense is tied for 2nd worst in the league in points given up... tied with the Giants. Meanwhile, the Redskins have outscored the Giants 48-31. The difference is that the Redskins have played the Cowboys and Eagles, while the Giants have played the Cowboys and the Bills.
BiB rating: Giants stock is DOWN. I predicted prior to the start of the season that the Giants would likely finish 2-14, with wins against the Bills and Dolphins. Well, they just lost to the Bills. The game in New York is still two weeks away. Of course, the Giants are now starting Daniel Jones, so the situation is fluid, but if the Redskins can’t beat the Giants in Week 4, things around Ashburn are going to get a LOT more interesting than they are right now — and that’s saying a lot.
Week 5 Patriots
Power Ranking: 1
Yeah, this has all the makings of a slaughter. There’s no lipstick for this pig.
BiB rating: Patriots stock is UP. Traditionally a slow starter in September, the Pats have outscored their opponents 76-3 so far. They are — unbelievably — better than I thought they could be. At least we won’t have to watch Josh Norman chasing Antonio Brown to the end zone.
Week 6 @ Dolphins
Power Ranking: 32
For those of you scoring at home, the Redskins, in a three-week stretch, go from playing against the second-worst team in the league, to the best team in the league, to the worst team in the league, according to NFL.com power rankings. Here’s a taste of what Dan Hanzus had to say about the Dolphins this week:
The Dolphins are now sitting on a minus-92 point differential after a 43-0 drubbing by the Patriots. That their blowout losses to the Ravens and Pats were played at home only adds to the indignity and the realization that we might be looking at one of the worst teams in the 100-year history of the NFL.
BiB rating: Dolphins stock is DOWN. It’s not that I didn’t think that the Dolphins would be this bad; it’s that I didn’t expect them to be auctioning off players on a weekly basis. Any team that can’t get a win against the Dolphins — who are actively and openly trying to lose to solidify their draft position — should be relegated to the Sun Belt Conference.
Week 7 49ers
Power Ranking: 13
The Niners are 2-0 and rolling. Dan Hanzus moved them up 6 places in his Power Rankings this week.
BiB rating: Niners stock is UP (big time). I had pretty much stuck a fork in the 49ers prior to the season, figuring that they’d get eaten alive in the NFC West by the Seahawks and Rams. They still might pick up 4 losses there, but they face the Ben-less Steelers in Week 3, meaning that they could be undefeated going into their early Week 4 bye week. This team appears to be much better than I expected them to be. I really thought they’d have a top-8 draft pick, and that Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch might be among the Black Monday victims. Instead, they look to be among the early season leaders in the NFL.
Shanahan may greatly enjoy his return to FedEx.
Week 8 @ Vikings
Power Ranking: 10
I watched the Vikings take a gut-wrenching loss to the Packers this week when Kirk Cousins threw an interception in the end zone with 5:17 left in the game and his team trailing by 5 points. I wasn’t in the least bit surprised. The only surprise to me is that any NFL fans still think that Cousins can lead a team to 10 or more wins in a season. This past Sunday was just so typical of his career.
BiB rating: Vikings stock is STEADY. This team appears to be exactly the team that I thought they’d be before the season started. They’ll win games with defense and the ground game, but if they have to pass in a clutch situation, more often than not, Kirk will create a turnover, whether it’s by fumbling the ball or throwing a critical INT. Did you know that, since the beginning of the 2018 season, Kirk Cousins has more 4th quarter turnovers than anyone else in the NFL? The Vikings may have the better roster, but I figure the Redskins always have a chance for a win in this game as long as Kirk Cousins is the quarterback... of the Vikings.
Week 9 @ Bills
Power Ranking: 12
The Bills are 2-0, but they’ve beaten the Jets and the Giants. Basically, they’ve kept playing pre-season games while the rest of the NFL has already started the 2019 regular season.
BiB rating: Bills stock is UP (slightly). I confess. I thought the Giants would be able to beat the Bills, but neither of the Ws against the NY blue team or green team does much to impress me. The Bills won by a touchdown (average) against two of the NFL’s worst teams. I figure the Redskins would be in with a chance if this game were played today. By the time we get to Week 9, this could be the Dwayne Haskins show, so I’m not making any predictions - just saying that the Bills still look vulnerable to me. The Bills schedule is pretty soft in the coming weeks, too, with the Bengals and Dolphins. When they get a win against the Patriots or the Eagles and then we’ll talk. Until then, I see a potential “W” in the week before the bye.
Week 11 Jets
Power Ranking: 30
It’s kind of hard to believe — the Redskins are #29 in the Power Rankings, meaning that there are only 3 NFL teams ranked lower, yet, somehow, in the 14 remaining games, we play those 3 teams four times!
BiB rating: Jets stock is DOWN. They may be the only team in the league that is actually trying to win games that seems to be in worse shape than the Redskins. I’m actually gonna quote Dan Hanzus for my part of the Jets commentary:
Trevor Siemian’s time as the QB1 lasted less than two quarters before he suffered a nasty ankle injury, and backup Luke Falk -- who started the day on the practice squad -- did a respectable job to keep things from devolving into a total farce. With Darnold out indefinitely and an upcoming schedule that includes the Patriots, Eagles, Cowboys and Patriots again, the Jets have a better chance of getting the first overall pick than making the playoffs. That wasn’t supposed to be the road map under first-year coach Adam Gase, but things rarely stay on course for the Jets.
By Week 11, Jets fans may already be doing 2020 mock drafts.
Week 12 Lions
Power Ranking: 20
It’s hard for me to figure out how the Vikings are #10 and the Lions are #20.
BiB rating: Lions stock is UP. I thought the Lions would be pretty good this season... like 9-7 good, and competing for a wildcard berth. I watched both of their games beginning to end so far, and I am impressed. They had the Cardinals throttled for 3 1⁄2 quarters in Week 1 and let Arizona back into the game, but I think they’ll learn from that. I think Matt Patricia’s boys are gonna be competing with the Packers for the NFC North division title. The Redskins will be little more than a speed bump for a team that should be ranked in the top-10 by the time Week 12 rolls around.
Week 13 @ Panthers
Power Ranking: 23
The 0-2 Panthers look wrong. I watched the Week 1 game beginning to end, and, while I only saw part of the first half of the Week 2 game, this team just don’t feel right.
BiB rating: Panthers stock is way DOWN. I said in the preseason that I was buying the Carolina hype. All that hype has disappeared with two... unattractive.. games. There is plenty of time for Ron Rivera and Cam Newton to right this ship, but if the Panthers — who are in a very tough NFC South division with the Saints and Falcons — don’t get right quickly, this could be an ugly game to kick off December. I had this counted as a sure loss for the Redskins in my pre-season projections. Now? I’m thinking 50/50.
Week 14 @ Packers
Power Ranking: 7
This team is 2-0 overall with 2 division wins.
BiB rating: Packers stock is UP. First year head coaches are notoriously bad at achieving winning records. I figured Aaron Rodgers and his new coach would squeeze out 7 or 8 wins, mostly in November and December. The fact that they kicked off the centennial season of the NFL by going to Soldier Field and kicking the Bears butts impressed me no end. Redskins in Lambeau in December? Brutal.
Week 15 Eagles
Power Ranking: 8
I watched the Eagles-Falcons game from kickoff to final whistle. It could have been an Eagle win, but it wasn’t.
BiB rating: Eagles stock is DOWN. The Redskins dominated the Eagles for 22 minutes before things broke down, but if the Eagles had been as good as I thought they were, that wouldn’t have happened, and they wouldn’t have lost to the Falcons. I had the Eagles marked down as NFC East champs with a trip to the NFC Championship game. Now? It looks like they may not be as good as the Cowboys. That said, if nothing much changes between now and Week 15, the Redskins don’t stand a chance.
Week 17 @ Cowboys
Power Ranking: 4
The 2-0 Cowboys have notched wins against the Giants and Redskins — two of the three teams playing the worst football in the NFL at the moment — so there’s not a lot to say whether Dallas is as good as their fans think they are.
BiB rating: Cowboys stock is UP. This team is better than I thought they were. They get the Dolphins, the Saints without Drew Brees, and the Jets (possibly without Sam Darnold) in three of their next four games. We may not find out whether Dallas is any good or not until they get to the playoffs. Week 17 is rarely kind to the Redskins, and this Dallas team will likely have something to play for. If Jay is still the Redskins head coach when the game starts, he may not be by dinnertime the following day. This one should be ugly.
Which franchise will have the SECOND overall pick in the 2020 draft?
This poll is closed