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SPOILER ALERT! (In this article, I predict the Skins will win)

As the presiding voice of reason and optimism at The Inquirer, I have struggled to find ways to help those who, like ebaggg, have lost their way, lost their faith, or just plain lost their minds this season. Perhaps it was me who looked foolish for suggesting that Gibbs should be extended. The fact that Snyder is contemplating doing just that is not necessarily redemption for me either--Danny offering Gibbs an extension is like Charlie Sheen offering a hooker another $1000 to stay the weekend.

Back in August we gave you the reality of the situation--that this team was overlooked and ignored by the experts--and that we should be happy about that, because Joe Gibbs thrives when people think little of his team. The Hype-less era is fully underway, and the Redskins are growing up the right way (as opposed to thinking everyone owes them respect because of Super Bowls won 15-20 years ago.) It seems that this team is deriving a sense of self that has more to do with what is happening this year (some pretty tough, heart-breaking stuff) than what has happened in the past. And while you just can't play every game for the next 25 years for Sean Taylor, don't you get the sense some of what is happening as a result of these events is sustainable?

When you hear that Jason Campbell cried at his locker after a gut-wrenching defeat earlier in the year, inconsolable because he felt he let his team down, don't you get the impression he cares? When I see the way Clinton Portis and Santana Moss have played through injury all season, I am pretty sure they care. When you see an elite player at his position like Chris Cooley get paid the way he did, and still go out and break his back to get it done for a marginal offense, you get the sense he cares. Finally, the way our defense has held up against the run in recent weeks is very indicative of a unit that cares and plays with heart--if you don't there is no way you hold the league's #1 running attack in check the way they did in Minnesota. Shouldn't Gibbs and Williams share in some of the credit for inspiring this team a little bit?

Home Playoff Game?
We have a bona fide home playoff game...against the Cowgirls no less! At the start of this season, nobody would have ever guessed this would be happening....hell, 3 weeks ago, few people would be predicting this. And the best news is that this team earned its way here. It earned the losses that could have been wins, and it earned the wins that could have been losses, just the way a young team with zero identity does. Regardless of the player personnel decisions the Cowgirls will make this weekend, a win builds confidence heading into another playoff game.

Making the playoffs this year is not a last grasp at a closing window for this group. It is the first step in becoming a possible perennial contender. Landry, Golston, Montgomery, McIntosh (hopefully), Rogers (hopefully), Blades...these guys could/should be around on defense for a while. Campbell, Portis, Betts, Cooley, Moss, Rabach, Samuels...these guys should be together for a while as well (we need to spend some draft picks up front on Offense for sure). NOW we can start naming "core Redskins"...because now there is a "core" of something to maintain. There is no "salary cap hell" around the corner for the Redskins...if we haven't been there yet, I am convinced we aren't going any time soon. I say all of this because we have something now in this town we have not had since the first term of Joe Gibbs--an up-and-coming team that has its best football in front of it. Who would have thought making the playoffs at this point would be considered OVER-achieving!?

We at The Inquirer requested one thing from this team back in August..."Show me, homey." We think they showed us that they were good enough but not yet ready to beat the Giants in week 3, the Packers in week 6, the Cowgirls in week 11, the Bucs in week 12, and the Bills in week 13. We think they showed that they were bad enough but not ready to lose to the Dolphins in week 1, the Eagles in week 2, the Cards in week 7, and the Jets in week 9.

Sure will be great when they show people what they learned from all of those games in a meaningful home game in the last week of the season.

Redskins 27, Cowgirls 13

See you in Seattle.

P.S. We can only expect the Redskins to play as hard as we tailgate...rain or shine, that parking lot better be crazy this week.