Washington Redskins

Robert Griffin III's Resurgence in Week 7 Makes Redskins NFC East Favorites

LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 20: Quarterback Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins is introduced before playing the Chicago Bears at FedExField on October 20, 2013 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistOctober 24, 2013

In one week the Washington Redskins have gone from a lost team with no hope in 2014 to a bona fide threat in the NFC East. Most of that comes down to Robert Griffin III.

Week 7 was the strongest evidence yet that RG3 can return to the dual-threat beast he was in 2012. Prior to that 45-41 win over the Chicago Bears, Griffin had been a little too reliant on his arm. While it made sense to not put too much pressure on that repaired knee, Griffin is not the kind of quarterback who's going to be successful throwing the ball 40 times a game.

Instead, he needs to be getting roughly 25-30 passing attempts and plenty of carries on the ground. Last Sunday, Griffin threw for 298 yards and two touchdowns on 18-of-29 passing. In addition, he had 84 yards rushing on 11 carries.

/Getty Images

What a coincidence that RG3's best performance of the season comes when he throws the fewest passes he has all year while also getting the most carries. And shockingly, the Redskins get their biggest win of the season.

Make no mistake about it; as Griffin improves individually, so will Washington's hopes of making the playoffs. Having him excel covers up what are some of the more glaring issues with the rest of the team, most of which are on the defensive side of the ball.

Plenty of people will argue that no matter how well RG3 plays, he can't make up for that bad defense. To a certain extent, that's true. He can't suit up on the defensive side of the ball.

But in today's NFL, a good offense can mask a bad defense. Previously, the inverse was true. That's why you saw teams like the 2000 Baltimore Ravens and 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers winning Super Bowls with Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson, respectively, under center.

With the rule changes and an emphasis on a safer game, the league has irrevocably swung in favor of the offense.

As great as Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos have been, it's easy to forget their defense is below average. Football Outsiders ranks Denver 26th in the league in DVOA, and this is a team many consider Super Bowl favorites.

If Griffin's resurgence isn't enough to sway you, consider where the other three NFC East teams rank on the defensive side of the ball. The Cowboys are 14th, the Giants sit 23rd and the Eagles are down at 29. Going into Week 8, Washington is holding firm at 28th.

This division will likely come down to who's got the better offense.

Romo still has those doubts about his performance late in the season, and Philadelphia's quarterback play has been too inconsistent as well. At 1-6, you can pretty much eliminate New York from playoff contention.

With Griffin at even 90 percent of what he was last year, Washington would become the best offensive team in the NFC East. They've had the ground game all season, but now the passing game is starting to catch up and when it finally does, this is a scary team.

Even at 2-4, the Redskins still have a good chance at winning the NFC East. Dallas still has plenty of their own questions—most of them regarding Romo—and the Eagles have an even worse defense than Washington, coupled with a worse offense.

It may sound crazy, but the Redskins should now be considered favorites to win the division.

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