Inside Slant

The Sports Xchange

November 15, 2018 at 12:24 am.

Redskins look to grab control of NFC East

The Washington Redskins have a legitimate chance to put the NFC East on ice when they play the Houston Texans this Sunday at FedExField.

That is not a sentence anyone expected to write before the season. But at 6-3 and with a two-game lead over the Philadelphia Eagles (4-5), the Redskins control their own destiny when it comes to the division title and the playoffs. Philadelphia also has to play the New Orleans Saints (8-1) on the road.

“We’re obviously not satisfied or sitting in the lounge chair with our feet up right now relaxing,” Washington head coach Jay Gruden said. “We’ve got to get back to work and continue to work. We know there is a lot of football ahead of us, a lot of great teams come in here to play and we have to go there to play and we have to do better. We have to do better on offense and there’s a lot more for us to get offensively and defensively for that matter. I’m glad that we’re winning without a doubt.”

The Redskins have done it despite brutal injuries on the offensive line for the second year in a row and despite an offense that has struggled to generate points consistently. But the defense has been opportunistic and is among the most difficult fronts to run against.

That’s been enough so far, but Washington still has to play the Eagles twice in December and three of its wins (Dallas, New York Giants, Carolina) were nail biters. The Redskins aren’t ready to pop any champagne bottles yet. First place is nice – for now. And the Texans game represents an early opportunity to take control, but not much more than that.

“I really don’t worry about that. I think the good thing being 6-3, being in first place is we control what we have to control,” Gruden said. “We don’t have to look at the other teams, we just have to focus on what we do and if we do our job, we don’t have to worry about anything. Right now it’s just all about Houston and that’s all it is.”

SERIES HISTORY: 5th regular-season meeting. Series tied, 2-2. Washington won the first two in 2002 and 2006 and Houston has won the past two, the most recent a 17-6 victory in Week 1 of the 2014 season.