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In Disbelief of the Redskins' Success

The Redskins whooped up on the Bills and ended the week with a one-game lead in the division.

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Holy shit.

I'm sorry, I usually try not to curse on this site.

But holy shit.

When I say I can hardly believe the Washington Redskins are where they are right now, know that I come from a good place. I just also happen to be almost the perfect representation of D.C.'s "loss generation" — I was born 52 days before the Redskins won their most recent Super Bowl.

As a D.C. sports fan born on this side of 1990, I have pretty much only known pain and suffering, and sometimes on special occasions, a healthy serving of disappointment.

Shortly after I began forming real, lasting memories, Daniel Snyder purchased the football team I rooted (and still root) for. This is the incarnation of the Redskins I have known. "Embarrassment" and "Redskins" are virtually synonymous to me, and that has nothing to do with the name or mascot.

With that out of the way: holy shit. The Redskins are one game ahead of all other NFC East teams.

The caveats: 1) The Buffalo Bills, and most other teams Washington has beaten this season, are not very good. 2) The rest of the NFC East is laughably bad. 3) The Redskins are 7-7; two teams (the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings) are 9-5 but below them in the NFC standings, while three teams in the AFC are 9-5 and competing for a Wild Card spot. 4) If Tony Romo was healthy this season, there's a pretty good chance the Dallas Cowboys would be in the playoffs and not the Redskins.

With that out of the way: holy shit. The Redskins are one game ahead of all other NFC East teams.

A win against the Philadelphia Eagles, while certainly no gimme in Philly, clinches a postseason berth for the Redskins, who damn near everybody picked to finish near the bottom of the league.

Don't lie, you didn't see this coming. You might have hoped, but if somebody asked you before the season to put $100 on the Redskins making the playoffs, or even winning seven games, you almost certainly would have said no. I would have said no.

I was asked at the end of July to make a prediction about the Redskins for some gambling site, specifically if I'd take the over or under on them winning six games. While I didn't think six games would be crazy, I took the under with relative confidence. I got three things right in that prediction: 1) The defense is much improved. 2) Eight or nine games will win the division. 3) The Redskins are different from other (in my words) bad teams, in that they have a chance to be very good soon.

Aside from those three things — none of which were especially bold predictions, mind you — I was wholeheartedly wrong about just about everything I said. In fact, the second sentence claims everything comes down to Robert Griffin III; that was true at the time, but it changed just weeks later.

(Yes, I facepalmed upon reading my words about the NFC East. Yes, I did so again upon reading my words about Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy. Yes, I am an idiot.)

So here I am, eating my words.

I will admit, Kirk Cousins has converted me into a believer. I still don't think he's the next Tom Brady. I do think his numbers are inflated against subpar defenses. I don't think he will continue to improve at this incredible pace. I'm still very uncomfortable by the phrase "you like that" being shouted at me.

But most of my beliefs about Cousins have been proven incorrect. He has continued to improve all year. He has won back-to-back games. He has won on the road. He's learned sometimes taking a sack is the best option instead of forcing a throw. He's been excellent with the media. He's taken the blame when he's made mistakes and deferred the credit when he's played well.

He is, without a doubt, a quarterback who can win a Super Bowl.

Will he? Probably not. Just by sheer odds, the vast majority of quarterbacks don't win Super Bowls. Even good ones don't. Whether he's with the Redskins for his whole career or he goes elsewhere, the odds are firmly against him winning a Super Bowl.

But if he's surrounded by an above average defense, above average special teams units and a few offensive weapons, he can definitely win a Super Bowl.

Mark Rypien, Trent Dilfer, Brad Johnson, Doug Williams and Jeff Hostetler all won Super Bowls. Eli Manning has won two. Those six quarterbacks have combined to win one-seventh of all Super Bowls in NFL history.

Kirk Cousins can win a Super Bowl.

Even if the Redskins lose in the first round of the playoffs, the year has been a tremendous success. The only thing that can really put a damper on the season would be a loss to the Eagles and subsequently missing the postseason, but even then, if I had told you four months ago the Redskins would win seven games, you'd be ecstatic. Now, Washington has a legitimate shot at finishing the season with a winning record, and maybe even keeping their top guys on the bench for the final game of the regular season.

Holy shit.

Note: I opted for a free-form rant instead of a Three Good/Three Bad this week for a variety of reasons, but mostly because this seemed more fitting. For the record, though, here are some players who might have made each list. And while he wouldn't have made the list because he's been on it so frequently, Kirk Cousins was (quite obviously) the best player on the field Sunday.

Good: Jason Hatcher, DeSean Jackson, Darrel Young, DeAngelo Hall, Brandon Scherff, Preston Smith, Will Compton, SwaggyRoast, #TressWay4MVP

Bad: Jamison Crowder, Matt Jones, Trent Williams, Quinton Dunbar