Don’t look now but the Washington Redskins are 5-3-1 and would be a participant in the NFC playoffs if the regular season was completed. On Sunday, they won a slugfest with the suddenly reeling Minnesota Vikings and have positioned themselves to be a legitimate factor the rest of the way.
Leading the charge, of course, is free-agent-to-be quarterback Kirk Cousins, who we already declared is taking the Joe Flacco path to financial success. His error-free effort versus arguably the best defense in football is another round of ammunition Cousins will bringing with him to the bargaining table at the conclusion of the league year.
Of all the improbable future NFL headlines I though I’d never read, this one might take the cake next season:
“Cousins to Sign $100M Contract”
It was a pretty average week for our signal callers, who combined went 188-for-281, 2124 yards, with 13 touchdowns and 8 interceptions across 8 starts (winning 5).
WEEK 10 HERO: Captain Kirk has steadied the Redskins’ course after a little turbulence at the beginning of the journey. Cousins on Sunday went 22/33 for 262 yards and 2 touchdowns with no interceptions versus the #1 scoring defense in the NFL, leading Washington to another victory. It was the latest in a string of impressive performances by the Eminem look-alike, whose contract demands after the season get more and more lofty with each passing week.
The team, in this case, is losing negotiating leverage with Cousins quickly. Maybe the Redskins won’t win the Super Bowl as the Ravens did in Flacco’s similar circumstance, but they won’t have to for Cousins to overturn the Brinks truck as long as he plays this well for the remainder of the year.
With quarterback play still severely lacking in quality and depth across the NFL, teams will be hard-pressed to justify letting competent ones walk because of perceived inflated salary demands. Cousins will only be 29 years old in the 2017 season, will have around 40 starts under his belt and owns a career QB rating of 92.2 with a nifty 61/37 TD:INT ratio. He will have proven the ability to win games with a team as currently constructed and is winning over the locker room with his nose-to-the-grindstone work ethic.
Unless something drastically changes, the Washington Redskins are on a collison course with a $20M+ APY, long-term deal for Kirk Cousins, whether they ‘like that’ or not.
WEEK 10 ZERO: Brock Osweiler has 99 problems and passing yardage is just one of them.
Coming off a bye week to prepare and playing against one of the least formidable defenses the league has to offer, Osweiler completed just 52% of his 27 passes for a laughter-inducing 99 yards. That’s an unheard of 3.67 yards per pass. On the bright side, 2 of his 14 completions went for touchdowns as the Texans defeated the only team on earth that could hold an opponent under 100 yards passing and still lose the game- the Jaguars.
Despite the victory, it is clear this Houston team is going nowhere regardless of how awful their division is. They may not have scored the fewest points in the league to this point, but Houston’s offense is a painfully inept group that will be exposed (again) in January if the squad is fortunate enough to play a game beyond the regular season, primarily due to abysmal play from the quarterback. The 72 million dollar quarterback.
Osweiler targeted one of the best young receivers the league has to offer- DeAndre Hopkins- 13 times on Sunday. Only 5 of those passes were possessed by Hopkins, for a meager 48 yards. It’s been like this all year and there is no reason to think it will change soon. Right now the entire offense is Lamar Miller and smart teams will scheme Houston into having to beat them some other way.
The Texans may be quickly reaching a point where they either have to hold on real tight and hope their quarterback eventually comes out the other side a much better player or make the very embarrassing decision to cut bait on a possibly franchise-crippling mistake.
WEEK 10 HERO: The first defensive lineman to go back-to-back on the HERO list is an unlikely chap- Steve McLendon of the Jets.
Against the Rams, McLendon turned in 3 solo stops, 1 assist, 1.5 sacks, a tackle for loss and another QB hurry. Part of a unit that held Los Angeles to 9 points, the extraordinary effort turned in by McLendon went for not as the Jets could only muster 6 points. Because the Jets.
Last week we discussed McLendon’s professionalism in contrast to how a couple of his teammates along the defensive line are choosing to act. All this guy is doing is making it easier for the Jets to absolve themselves of Sheldon Richardson in the offseason.
It’s no longer a matter of if they’ll flip Richardson, but when and to what team, thanks in part to what the team has in Steve McLendon to soften the blow.
WEEK 10 ZERO: I’m not sure anyone could see the troubles coming that have descended upon the Green Bay Packers. Wallowing at a below .500 record more than half way through the season and seemingly in a constant funk, it’s safe to wonder if they have enough gumption to rise up and make the playoffs.
Last week, in a game most expected the Packers to win, they gave up 446 yards, 162 of those on the ground, and 47 points to the Tennessee Titans. It was a dreadful display of defense.
In the middle of that mess was Letroy Guion, who contributed nothing to the scoresheet in 22 snaps. Guion’s job is to eat space, stop the run first and chase QB’s after that. Instead, with his team reeling and needing a spark, Guion was invisible on the field when he wasn’t watching Demarco Murray rack up 123 yards at a 7.23 YPC clip.
Justin is a contributor to Fansided’s Seattle-centric website EmeraldCitySwagger.com and a life-long Seahawks fan- which was a mostly harrowing experience growing up in Northeast Ohio. You can follow him for thoughts on salary cap information, butchered clock management and the NFL in general@OhioHawk4372.