Washington making noise in the NFC East, climbs into top 15

According to Pete Prisco's newest power rankings, the Football Team is on a roll.

The Washington Football Team's season was all but over after they fell to the Denver Broncos on Halloween, a game that put them to 2-6.

Then, two weeks later, top pass-rusher Chase Young went down with a season-ending injury, and things seemed dismal. Instead of arranging their summer vacations to Bermuda and the Bahamas, they concentrated and found a way to return to playing solid, sound football on both sides of the ball.

As a result, they have won four straight games to move to 6-6 and into the playoff hunt. They would be the sixth seed in the NFC if the season ended tonight, which it obviously does not. It takes a lot of courage to rise from a 2-6 seed to a sixth seed.

Coach Ron Rivera has resurrected his squad as it prepares to host the Dallas Cowboys in a crucial division matchup on Sunday. For much of the first half of the season, Washington's defence was a catastrophe, but it has drastically improved since then.

Washington has given up 70 points in its last four games, with just 15 in each of the last two. Two of those games were against two of the league's best offences, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Las Vegas Raiders.

Rivera is known for his defence, so the problems of that squad to begin the season were a significant surprise. Despite the absence of Young and fellow pass-rusher Montez Sweat, the defence has made significant progress. The secondary has played a key role in the turnaround, as has defensive tackle Jonathan Allen's inside play, which has been outstanding.

The offence isn't very explosive, but it's adequate. Taylor Heinicke is coming off a mediocre performance against the Raiders, but he has the ability to get hot and lead the offence all over the field. He has a lot of streaks.

As it prepares to face Dallas, Washington has moved up to 15th in my Power Rankings this week. Washington will be one game out of first place with four games remaining if it can slow down Dak Prescott and his offence and win. One of those four games, which might be for the division title, is on the road at Dallas the day after Christmas.

It would be an incredible turnaround for this team — especially the defence — if Washington could win those two games and maybe win the division.