The two orders of business today: thanking our veterans and considering Washington's chances in the NFC East.
1. We shouldn't require a reason to thank our veterans for their service to our country, but make sure you go out of your way to say, "Thank you" today to those folks that have served our country with distinction. To all those members of Hogs Haven that are wearing or have worn a uniform, as well as all the Sixpack readers that visit us each Monday: On behalf of my family, and from the bottom of my heart, please accept my thanks for the work that you do and have done to make our country safe and for the way you have represented America.
2. The bye week is a funny beast, isn't it? For Redskins fans, it has become that oasis in the middle of dry and merciless surroundings. Like that desert oasis, the bye week can sometimes cause you to see something that is not there. Expectations for the remainder of the Redskins season have been set rather low at this point on the calendar. Even so, the bye week really gave us something to think about, didn't it? I am of course referring to the manner in which the NFC East is conducting itself.
3. It's not that we have written off our team. On the contrary--our fanbase is comprised of countless "Rudy" types that refuse to give up. We place our hopes and dreams in things that more sane and rational individuals eschew. Until mathematical elimination occurs, there will always be a part of us that thinks the impossible is still possible. The Redskins fanbase reminds me of the scene from "Cool Hand Luke" where Paul Newman's character refuses to stay down on the ground as he gets repeatedly knocked off of his feet in a jail yard fight. Whenever I watch that scene, I always wonder if Luke is trying to display the kind of toughness that will allow him to survive his stint in the poke, or if he is trying to use death to escape his circumstances. Either way, it is the resilience on display that I liken to our group.
4. After watching what the rest of our division did yesterday, it is very hard not to allow that ray of hope to speak to us today. After all, the Giants are in the middle of their normal November tailspin. We all know that there are only two directions New York can go from here: the basement or the Super Bowl. Nobody else in the NFC East has any kind of case to be made for mentioning the Super Bowl. The only reason you have to say it for the Giants is because this is historically how they get there. Still...Cincy beat them up pretty badly.
5. As for the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys, it would seem that neither team is taking their season by the horns and imposing their will on the league. In the contest between these two teams yesterday, it looked at least for a while that it was more about who wanted to lose than who wanted to win. How great was it when Nick Foles threw a perfect pass to Jason Avant and it hit him right in the helmet? What a perfect summary of the season Philadelphia has had--for all the talent they have on that team, they continue to come up just short. That reminds of something...hmmmm...an assembly of names and contracts that should win but just won't...it will come to me.
6. To suggest the NFC East is up for grabs makes me sound as if I think the Redskins have a chance to win it. The truth is that they do, albeit an improbable one. The most important thing for the Redskins is to win, obviously. Winning a few games could put some pressure on the division that could cause further free-falling by our rivals. Every team in the NFC East is capable of waxing the Redskins, but there isn't a team in our division that we can't beat. I no longer fear the Eagles because something there just isn't right--it is as if there are forces working against them that no team could overcome. I no longer fear the Giants because from here on out, they will either be unbeatable or they will just continue to give games away. Nothing we do is going to dictate which of those will occur. I will stop short of saying that I fear the Cowgirls, but the truth is that they are the ones that I think will do the most damage down the stretch. I do respect Eli Manning, and I think he is the best quarterback in our division, but there is something about Tony Romo that makes me extremely uneasy. He is the one I fear most when given the kind of time our defensive line loves to give quarterbacks. If--and I mean a BIG if--the Redskins can knock off the Eagles this Sunday at FedEx, we could be in for the Thanksgiving of our lives, because the Redskins will face the Cowgirls for a chance to jump all the way back into the NFC East race. Damn you, bye week! Just when I was ready to let it go, you had to come along and TOTALLY suck me back into this thing.
P.S. If it seems ludicrous for a 3-6 team to look past a divisional rival that has owned us lately, welcome to being a Redskins fan!