NFL Power Rankings, Week 8: Eagles collapse in fourth quarter during loss to Panthers

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
(Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

9. Washington Redskins

When looking at how the division has shaped out in recent years, who would have thought it would be the Washington Redskins of all teams sitting on top of the NFC East with a two-game lead heading into Week 8? Facing a tough situation with Kirk Cousins in the offseason, the Washington Redskins knew they were taking a gamble by acquiring Alex Smith to fill in at quarterback, especially since he would be working with a younger group of receivers than he was used to.

Turns out, the decision to bring Smith on board looks like the best decision Washington could have made when seeing how his skills as a game manager has this team flying high at the moment with a 4-2 record. And while Smith certainly deserves plenty of credit for helping the Redskins, the defense deserves even more recognition for their elite play to keep the Cowboys to scoring just 17 points.

The fact that Washington’s defense limited Ezekiel Elliott to just 34 rushing yards on 15 carries shows the kind of day this squad happened, and they’re going to be a key factor moving forward if this team is going to remain a top contender in the NFC. With a road meeting against the New York Giants scheduled for Week 8, chances are the Redskins will remain on top of the NFC East heading into November.