- I hope everyone enjoyed a happy and healthy holiday weekend. As we prepare for December and the final push for the playoffs, the Redskins are at least well-positioned...at the moment. The team starts the month sitting in the final wildcard spot. The Dallas Cowboys win the tiebreaker today over the Redskins based on a better divisional winning percentage (both teams have only one divisional loss, but Dallas has three divisional wins to Washington’s two). Glancing at the schedule left, making the playoffs is beginning to look like making the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs (sure, a parsec is a measure of distance and not time, but if you think I am going to argue with Han Solo—the young or the old—you are crazy).
- A Sunday without the Redskins has its pros and cons, doesn’t it? While Victory Monday is the best way to start a week, a loss on Sunday sets up for a kind of miserable stretch. If you love the NFL, a day without any skin in the game can be pretty fun. That said...it wasn’t a bye week. The Redskins lost, and they did it while we were all eating Thanksgiving dinner. While I love it when my team is the only game in town, that can sure work against me (us). When the loss counts against you in so many ways—conference loss, division loss, rival loss—the pain can easily bridge the span of four days and make you feel just as bad on a Monday. And yet, how many times over the last decade or two have we found ourselves headed into Week 13 with at least some grip on an actual playoff spot?
- I feel like this is as good a week as any to take a stab at defining “success” for this 2018 season. Those of you who define success as only Super Bowl championships, you are on the wrong site, and likely have not been a Redskins fan that long. We have to be able to agree that the bar we are trying to limbo under looks a lot different today then the one they are using in cities like Los Angeles, New Orleans and Kansas City. This isn’t about getting a participation trophy or this isn’t about moral victories/”good” losses. It is about setting a realistic goal and seeing what happens if and when this young team goes out and accomplishes that goal.
- Making the playoffs would be huge for this team. I really don’t care to discuss how it would impact our draft status, or how it would color the manner in which we move forward should the Redskins take a beating in the playoffs. All I have been talking about the last year has been the youth and talent on this team. We have witnessed firsthand how losing begets losing. We need to see winning beget some winning. I want these young players to breathe that postseason air. I want to watch them grow some January legs underneath them. The thing about the NFL is that it changes—DRASTICALLY—year to year. No matter what happens this season, we know our team is going to look and feel different in some way next August, but if the core of the team gets itself into the dance, there is something there that carries over. We like to say that certain games during the season have a “playoff feel” to them. Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a group of monsters who have felt the actual playoffs before when those games come around? Wouldn’t that increase the chances of winning those games...even marginally?
- At 6-5, the Redskins get the Eagles twice and the Giants once more. That gives us three chances to find one more divisional win to split our East record on a worst-case basis (I know what the actual worst case is...haha), but the Redskins need to somehow go 2-1 in those three games to give us the best chance to play an extra frame. That would also mean at least splitting the games against Jacksonville and Tennessee. Easier said than done, but not even close to impossible, irregardless of who is playing quarterback in burgundy and gold (regardless, even). As Bob Dylan famously sang, “It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there.” We can be honest about the fact that our playoff chances are slipping away, but it is also true that they still exist, and I don’t see the Rams, Chiefs, Saints or even Texans on the schedule down the stretch. (Though...and I can’t quite put my finger on it...something about playing the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football...gives me the heebie-jeebies...I’ll try and think of what that is.)
- Did you know that of the five losses the Redskins have taken, four of those teams have CURRENTLY combined to win their last TWENTY-FIVE GAMES!!??!?!?! I understand we lost. Again, not calling anything a moral anything—just saying that we lost to some pretty decent, pretty hot teams (not the Falcons). Can we all just give each other a break for one...more...week? Without saying the words, we all understand what is at stake next Monday night. The Eagles are beatable, and the Redskins have strengths still that lend themselves to winning efforts. I’m holding on for one of Washington’s famous December runs. Whenever we have made the playoffs in recent times, it has been on the strength of a solid finish. The schedule lines up for the Redskins to have a chance at just such a finish. If that is true (a big if), it could be everything this team needs for the present and the future. It’s not dark yet...
The Redskins remain well within the playoff hunt, but Redskins fans are growing weary of the slow burn that seems to be taking the team in the wrong direction.