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The Washington Redskins Win and Other NFL Week 12 Thoughts

Don’t look now, but the Washington Redskins are in first place in the NFC East.

Well, a tie for first place. But in this topsy-turvy season where teams with losing records are leading divisions and vying for playoff berths, who thought these Redskins would be playing for anything other than a high draft pick this year?

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With a 20-14 win over the New York Giants, that is exactly where Washington is. And the magic of Kirk Cousins again proves to be the difference in the ball game.

Cousins connected with DeSean Jackson for a 63-yard touchdown pass and scored on a fourth-down quarterback sneak, Washington intercepted Eli Manning three times, and the Redskins held on for the win. The Giants were down 20-0 at one point and managed to make a game of it before finally losing the contest.

This was supposed to be a game where, if the Giants won, they would enjoy a two game lead in the division. Dallas and Philadelphia both lost on Thanksgiving Day.

Manning threw for 341 yards in the game and Odell Beckham, Jr. was electric again, hauling in nine catches for 141 yards.

The Redskins have been a model of inconsistency all season, with a 5-1 record at home and winless on the road at 0-5.

In other NFL news…

SAINTS FALL AGAIN

If you thought the firing of Rob Ryan would quiet the critics in New Orleans, you had better think again. The Saints fell to the Houston Texans on Sunday, 24-6, which may ramp up more rumors that this will be the final season for Sean Payton in the Big Easy.

This is not the Saints team that is used to scoring points at will, and a team desperately looking for solutions on defense.

The Texans have now won four consecutive games and are in a tie for first place in the AFC South.

The loss by the Saints, however, might be more damaging than a win by the opposition.

There has been plenty of speculation about Payton and his future with the franchise this season – whether he would be fired by the Benson family or he and the team would part ways. There has also been talk he might be the leading candidate to replace interim head coach Dan Campbell down in Miami.

New Orleans (4-7) dropped its third straight on a day when the team didn’t score a touchdown for the first time since 2005, and Brees’ streak of games with a touchdown pass was snapped at 45. The last time New Orleans failed score a touchdown was in 2005, long before Drew Brees joined the team.

Coincidentally, the last time Brees failed to throw a touchdown was in 2012.

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BREAK UP THE VIKINGS

While the Green Bay Packers are riding a roller coaster this season, the Minnesota Vikings are for real. The team ran their record to 8-3 on Sunday with a 20-10 win over the Atlanta Falcons.

Adrian Peterson worked his magic again, scoring two touchdowns in the win.

While Peterson ran for 158 yards, Falcons quarterback Ryan threw two more interceptions in defeat. Atlanta started red hot, but has cooled off of late and is still searching for answers on offense.

The Falcons, 6-5) have lost five of its past six, including four straight, and is in danger of becoming one of the few teams in NFL history to start 5-0 and miss the playoffs. And with the win, the Vikings have reclaimed a one-game lead over Green Bay in the NFC North, being able to take advantage of the Packers’ loss to Chicago on Thanksgiving night.

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