Power Rankings: No. 23 Washington

A weekly examination of the Redskins' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 10 | Last Week: 28 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

It wasn’t exactly a surge. But for the Washington Redskins it represents progress, something they haven’t had enough of this season.

After sliding to 28th in the ESPN.com Power Rankings a week ago, a 45-41 win over the Chicago Bears bumped the Redskins up five spots to No. 23.

It’s their highest standing since they were 19th after a season-opening loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. With a game at Denver on Sunday and with questions about who will play safety in that game, the Redskins could be looking at another fall in next week’s rankings. But, as of Tuesday, that’s irrelevant.

What is relevant is whether this past Sunday was the start of their offensive turnaround, which could then fuel more wins. Actually, that offensive turnaround might have happened against an underrated Oakland Raiders defense last month. Since that game the Redskins have moved the ball; the difference against Dallas in Week 6 was turnovers and an inability to capitalize in the red zone. That wasn’t an issue against a porous, or better yet just bad, Bears defense.

Still, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III had a sizable impact on the game, just as he did most of last season. It wasn’t so much that he had a terrific throwing day (more on that in future posts). But it was how he hurt the Bears with his legs and how that helped open other plays and the feeling among the players when Griffin plays a certain way. Any chance of a legitimate turnaround is buoyed by consistent play from Griffin.

The Redskins know their offense is dangerous when Griffin and the running game get going. A strong running game and few turnovers equals offensive success. If they want to move up in the rankings next week, they’ll definitely need a good showing in both areas Sunday.