The NFC East has been one of the messiest divisions this season, with none of the sides looking like they would break away from one another.
The Washington Redskins finally might be the side that eventually wins the division and takes the only playoff spot available in the NFC East. The New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles are still in contention, but there is one clear reason why the Washington-based franchise has to be the favorite to be first past the post.
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The wide receiver has shown his big-play ability several times across his career, but his return after the Redskins' bye week has had a major effect not just on the team's playoff chances, but on the performance of their quarterback, Kirk Cousins, as well.
Since week one of the season when Jackson injured his hamstring, Cousins managed over seven games complete 184-of-268 throws for 1,737 yards with nine touchdowns but eight interceptions, a completion percentage average of 69.7. When the bye week arrived, the team was sitting on a 3-4 record.
After their week off, Jackson returned to the fold, and Cousins' performance on the field has since improved, completing 152-of-214 throws for 1,888 yards, 13 touchdowns and three interceptions, a completion percentage average of 71. Since their bye, they've had a 4-3 record, putting them on a 7-7 record overall.
It's clear to see why Cousins completion percentage average has gone up, Jackson has changed the focus of defenses to allow more receivers to open up on the field for the quarterback to pass to. In turn, this has allowed the Redskins to travel down more routes to win their games.
It may have even forced the Washington-based franchise to consider giving Cousins another contract, as his current deal runs out at the end of the season. With how well he is currently playing, he would be one of the top free-agent quarterbacks on the market if he was allowed to leave.
However, you can't underestimate what Jackson has allowed the Redskins' passing game to do with him on the field, with his four touchdowns across the seven games he has played coming from plays of 56 yards, 63 yards, 28 yards and 77 yards catches.
With their last two games against fellow divisional rivals, Eagles this week and the Dallas Cowboys next week, there is no reason why the Redskins can't win those games, claim the NFC East, and make the playoffs.
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