For the Washington Redskins’ players and coaches, the bye week was their only opportunity during the season to temporarily escape from the game and recharge their batteries. It’s tough to have a terrible bye week, but there are some factors that can make the time off even sweeter.

Two losses by NFC East foes will certainly put a smile on a few faces at Redskins Park during Monday’s practice. Without playing a game, the Redskins gained ground in the NFC East. Washington is a half-game behind the New York Giants following New York’s 52-49 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. New York (4-4) leads the division, followed by the Redskins (3-4) and Philadelphia Eagles (3-4). On top of that, the Dallas Cowboys (2-5) dropped their fifth straight game, a 13-12 loss to the  Seattle Seahawks.

Washington left the break in good spirits. In its most recent game, it mounted the largest comeback in franchise history against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a 31-30 win. The momentum continued with their rivals’ struggles on Sunday. Yes, the division is awful, but all four teams have a shot to win the NFC East. The victory over the Bucs in Week 7 snapped a two-game skid for the Redskins. They’re right in the thick of the division race now as the NFC East is one of two divisions, along with the AFC South,  without a team with a winning record.

The question is: How long can the Redskins remain in the hunt? Washington has four division games remaining and could make a run if it strings together some consistent play. It will restart the season against arguably the best team in the NFL this season, the New England Patriots (7-0). The Redskins are 14-point underdogs at the moment.

Regardless of the outcome, it doesn’t seem like a team will run away with the NFC East any time soon. Barring a complete meltdown this month, there’s a possibility that the Redskins could play meaningful games in December.

All in a day’s work

  1. The NFL trade deadline on Tuesday only emphasizes quarterback Robert Griffin III’s uncomfortable position with the Redskins.
  2. Wide receiver Pierre Garcon filed a class-action lawsuit against FanDuel, a daily fantasy sports site, over the weekend.

Today’s schedule
The Redskins will begin their first practice following the bye week at 10:45 a.m. Redskins Coach Jay Gruden is expected to speak to the media afterwards at the podium.

Master Tesfatsion begins weekday mornings on The Insider with a lighter take on the Redskins, and catches you up on anything you missed.