WASHINGTON — The Redskins were 0-0. Then they were 0-2. Now they’re 4-2, and nobody knows what to think.
Just take the first hour of The Sports Junkies on Monday morning. It was a mishmash of praise for the Redskins and confusion as to which team is the real team: The team that started the season with back-to-back losses, or the team that has since won four in a row.
“I just don’t know what to make of ’em,” host Eric Bickel said, time and again.
As things stand, the Redskins are in second place in the NFC East, just behind the 5-1 Dallas Cowboys. The Philadelphia Eagles, fresh off a loss to Washington, are 3-2, while the New York Giants are 3-3. It is the only division in football in which every team is at least .500, one of just two with a five-win team and a four-win team, and it has a legitimate claim as the best division in the league through six weeks.
On one hand, they’re playing in what appears to be a strong division and have won four games in a row. The Redskins are among the league leaders in most offensive statistics, and their defense is looking better each week. Kirk Cousins has looked bad at times, but he has also looked much better at other times, especially recently.
On the other hand, they lost to the two best teams by record they’ve played; the Cowboys and Steelers are a combined 9-3, while the four teams the Redskins have beaten are a combined 9-14. To be fair, the Cleveland Browns’ 0-6 record skews that number, as the other three wins came against teams with a combined 9-8 record.
Put another way, this looks a lot like the second half of the 2015 season, albeit somewhat more promising. Washington is beating mediocre teams, but it has yet to beat a team considered to be “really good.” And until at least Week 10, it won’t play one of those teams. The next two opponents are the 3-3 Detroit Lions and the 2-4 Cincinnati Bengals, then the bye week looms.
But after the Week 9 bye, the Redskins play the 5-0 Minnesota Vikings, the 3-2 Green Bay Packers and the 5-1 Cowboys all in a row. And just for good measure, they follow all that up with a matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, who, despite being just 2-3, are probably better than their record suggests and could easily be 6-5 or 7-4 by that time.
So, the Junkies want to know: Are the Redskins good?