- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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Up is down, down is up, the Redskins are a top-10 Power Rankings team and the Eagles are closing in on the bottom 10. As we turn our attention to Week 6 of the NFL season, we still really don't know who's good, who's phony or how it's all going to turn out. But the picture is starting to become a little bit clearer. And we know for sure that we can always count on the links.
The big mystery of the week is which running back will get the start this week against the run-friendly Eagles. I guess, if I had to bet, I'd say they ride the hot hand and stick with Ryan Torain, who looked more explosive in Week 4 than either Tim Hightower or Roy Helu has looked at any point so far this season. But I sure am glad I don't have to bet. The backs involved are saying all the right things, and I do believe it's Mike Shanahan's dream to be able to run for 150 yards on 30 carries every week with all three guys involved. So we'll see.
Oh, and if the Eagles were hoping they could sneak up on the Redskins this week because they're 1-4... not so much. The Skins are still stinging from that "Monday Night Football" beat-down last fall, and they wouldn't mind getting some payback.
Giants defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy has been suspended four games for violating the league's performance-enhancing substance policy. Kennedy isn't a major contributor and the Giants are likely to be largely unaffected by this, but I still think it's weak that these suspensions are so accepted as part of the season. If Major League Baseball players were routinely getting suspended for one-quarter of the season for performance-enhancing drugs, there'd be investigative reports all over the place about the epidemic. But this week in this division alone, the Redskins' Phillip Buchanon comes back from one, Kennedy goes off on one and the world just keeps on spinning with nobody saying anything about any drug problem in the NFL. Rubs me wrong, is all, the double-standard.
Paul Schwartz writes that a win Sunday wouldn't have solved the Giants' intrinsic problems. Might have masked them, actually. Man, if I'd written this... Go get Schwartz, everybody! He must really hate the Giants!!!
Mike Jenkins says the bye week helped him recover physically and mentally from the first couple of games, and Calvin Watkins thinks the Cowboys are going to want to use three cornerbacks as much as possible Sunday in New England. So it's good that Jenkins is feeling good and Orlando Scandrick looks like he'll be back from his injury.
If you have Jason Witten on your fantasy team, this could be bad news: Bill Belichick sounds very worried about Witten. When this happens, Belichick has this way of just locking in on the tight end and taking him out of the offensive game plan. That could be okay for the Cowboys, especially as they get receivers Miles Austin and Dez Bryant back from their injuries, but it could be a quiet statistical game from Witten.
Chris Mortensen's report that the Eagles were thinking about bringing in a defensive "consultant" during the bye week got misinterpreted a lot of places, I think. It's a completely common practice for teams to bring in out-of-work coaches to check out their teams and offer some thoughts. It's a way for coaches to stay involved and make money while between jobs, and the NFL coaching fraternity is tight enough that this goes on all the time. Teams just don't like to publicize it because... well, you see here what happens. For what it's worth, the Eagles are denying the report, but that could be a semantic denial, and if Andy Reid brings in someone to look at practice tape and offer suggestions, he likely could pull that off without any of us ever finding out that it happened.
Reuben Frank writes that the Eagles remain in the mix for a playoff spot, in spite of it all, in a down year for the NFC East. And sure, but I still think the crux of the issue is this succinct line from early in Reuben's piece: "The bad news is that the Eagles stink." That's a tough thing to overcome, no matter what the Week 6 playoff math says.