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Washington Football Team fans buoyed as Christmas and a playoff push coincide

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Chicago Bears v Washington Redskins
LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 06: Washington Redskins cheerleaders perform in Christmas costumes during halftime in a game against the Chicago Bears at FedEx Field December 6, 2007 in Landover, Maryland. The Redskins won the game 24-16. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Fans of the Washington Football Team are enjoying the rare alignment of being in first place in the NFC East at the same time that they are celebrating Christmas with their families, though the division championships aren’t as rare in DC as some would have you believe. The Redskins won the division in 2012 with RG3 behind center, and again in 2015 with Kirk Cousins as the signal caller. If the Football Team can manage to finish out the season with another division title to make it 3 in 9 years, it will tie the Cowboys and Eagles, who also have three division championships each since 2012. The Giants last won the division in 2011, but that division crown was the third for New York in a seven-year stretch from 2005 to 2011. Oh yeah, the Giants and Eagles have each won a superbowl in this century; something that neither Dallas nor Washington has been able to achieve since the 1990s.

But I digress.

Feelin’ good

In the latest poll of Hogs Haven readers, 92% said that they feel good about the direction of the Football Team, marking the fourth consecutive week where fan confidence was at 89% or higher.

Of course, it’s fair to point out that most people had responded to the poll before the latest drama surrounding Dwayne Haskins — he was photographed at a party unmasked and in violation of team and league COVID-19 protocols just hours after the team lost his most recent start against Seattle — had really gotten wide attention from the media and fans.

It may be that the confidence level would have been unaffected by the pictures and headlines that surrounded Haskins’ night out with strippers as party entertainment, or by the ongoing and developing story about the ownership fight between Dan Snyder and some of his minority partners that is being carried out publicly in the courts with accusations of foul play and dirty dealing from both sides. It’s hard to gauge the impact these types of stories have on the fan base; it usually seems that fan confidence has an underlying trend that is heavily affected by the most recent wins or losses, and the “quality” of play, particularly when the Football Team loses.


If you’d like to become part of the process, you can sign up to NFL Reacts by clicking here.

You’ll get a survey via email each week right through the playoffs of that takes just two minutes to complete. There will be surveys at selected times during the off-season, and then you will be able to express your opinion weekly again when the 2021 season kicks off again in September.

Make your voice heard as part of the Hogs Haven fan base!


Playoffs?

The 6-8 Washington Football team has the opportunity to clinch the division title and a trip to the playoffs on Sunday if they can beat the Carolina Panthers and if the Giants lose to the Ravens.

Washington will likely know the outcome of the Giants game before the burgundy & gold take the field on Sunday, or very soon after. The Giants play the Ravens in Baltimore at 1:00, while the WFT kicks off just down I-95 in Landover Maryland at 4:05 pm.

If Washington wins, both Philadelphia and Dallas will be eliminated from the playoffs. They play one another at 4:25 pm in Philly, with the loser being eliminated no matter what else happens.

If, however, Washington loses to Carolina, then the Giants and the winner of the Dallas-Philly game will stay alive in the hunt for the division championship along with Washington, with the title being decided in Week 17.

Related:

NFC East playoff scenarios


The confidence levels of our NFC East division rivals’ fans are predictably lower that of the Hogs Haven readers.

New York Giants

Giants fan confidence reached its highest point in the season after New York picked up the “W” against Seattle three weeks ago, despite Colt McCoy playing in place of the injured QB Daniel Jones.

With back-to-back losses in Weeks 14 and 15 — one each for Jones (who picked up a second injury) and McCoy — the fan confidence for Big Blue View readers has registered 72% each of the past two weeks.

They seem to be very happy with their rookie head coach, Joe Judge, and at least satisfied with the roster-building efforts in recent seasons.


Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia fans who are members of Bleeding Green Nation saw their confidence at a low ebb for much of the season as the team piled up losses behind deteriorating play from franchise quarterback Carson Wentz. When he was benched in Week 14 in favor of rookie 2nd rounder Jalen Hurts — and especially after Hurts led the team to an unanticipated win against the NFC leading New Orleans Saints — fan confidence jumped to 22%. Despite a losing effort from the team with Hurts getting his second start as a pro in Week 15, BGN readers’ confidence grew to 28% after the team played hard in a loss to the Cardinals on the road.

BGN readers have certainly had a lot to say about GM Howie Roseman, Head Coach Doug Pederson and veteran quarterback Carson Wentz as the 2020 season has crumbled under the twin ills of mounting injuries and horrendous quarterback play from Wentz. Nevertheless, the move to Hurts seems to have changed the tenor of the conversation from “burn it all down” to “how do we deal with the QB situation?” as Hurts has looked confident and competent in his two starts, in stark contrast to Carson Wentz, who is locked in place by a lucrative contract with large guarantees and a mountain of dead cap space that gets triggered if he is cut or traded. With the Eagles currently projected to be $60m+ over the 2021 salary cap, this is an unenviable position to be in.

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas fans at Blogging the Boys began the season, as they do every season, with visions of super bowls dancing in their heads. A super bowl run was probably never in the cards for this flawed roster and the lackluster head coach Mike McCarthy, but a division championship in what appeared to be a weak division actually seemed realistic...until they started actually playing the games, that is.

It turned out that Dallas could play offense, but they had the worst defense in the league. They opened up the season 2-7, losing Dak Prescott to a broken leg in the midst of compiling the losing record. Once Dak was gone, it became obvious that he had been the only reason the team had achieved the two wins it had gotten. Fan confidence fell to just 2% in Week 8 of the season.

It now sits at 29% (it was 30% a week ago) following consecutive victories to keep the team’s slender playoff hopes alive. If the season ended today, Dallas would pick 8th in the draft. With Dallas’s last trip to the NFC title game having come at the end of the 1995 season (when they last won the super bowl), Cowboys fans seem to have become disenchanted with the pre-season predictions of owner Jerry Jones and the national pundits — at least that’s the impression I come away with after having read the BtB blog for the past few months. Similar to Eagles fans, having started the season with unrealistically high expectations and having seen the team look like a bottom-5 squad for most of the season, fans have become increasingly frustrated with owner/general manager Jerry Jones and recycled former-Packers head coach Mike McCarthy.

It has long been a point of frustration for Dallas fans that their owner acts as the GM, business manager and talent evaluator for the organization as he routinely seems to overestimate the job he has done. No GM in the league would have survived the 25-year slump during which Jerry has managed to employ himself to run “America’s team” without once managing to get past the divisional round of the playoffs. “Jerry won’t fire himself” is the plaintiff plaintive (and justified) whine of the poor Dallas fans, who have nowhere to to turn with Jerruh completing his third decade playing at GM with his real-life version of a fantasy football team.

Dallas fans have been almost equally long-suffering in regard to the head coaching position. The last head coach of note to tread the sidelines at Cowboys games was either Bill Parcells or Wade Phillips, depending on your view of Phillips, who coached the ‘Boys to two division championships in three full seasons. He was fired mid-season in 2010 and replaced by Jason Garret, who remained head coach until his contract expired at the end of last season.

Garrett was often viewed as unimaginative and mediocre by Dallas fans as he compiled five seasons with 8 or 9 wins in nine years. He was replaced this season by probably the worst head coaching hire in the NFL in 2020 as Jerry Jones chose to employ probably the only head coach in the league with less imagination and leadership than Garrett. McCarthy had proved himself a poor leader in Green Bay; he largely squandered Aaron Rodgers career with his lousy coaching, and had then sat out 2019 before managing to get the gig working as Jerruh’s sock puppet. The calls on BtB for McCarthy to be “one and done” were frequent and vociferous from mid-season, and Jerry & Stephen Jones had to declare publicly over the past two weeks that McCarthy’s job isn’t in jeopardy. It should be, as it is only the inexplicable fact that Adam Gase is employed as an NFL head coach that keeps McCarthy from being the worst in the league. Based on recent media reports, it appears as if Defensive Coordinator Mike Nolan and members of his staff will comprise the (metaphorical) ritual sacrifice at the end of the season that will allow McCarthy to keep his job and Jerry Jones to, once again, predict a different, better and super-bowl bound Dallas team with the most complete roster in the NFL for the 26th consecutive year.

Happy Holidays!

In what is perhaps an unprecedented situation, I can wish happy holidays to every fan in the NFC East, each of whom will wake up this Christmas morning to find their team still in the playoff hunt.

Of course, my most heartfelt good luck wishes go out to Washington fans, but I truly do wish everyone out there, no matter what team you back (or even anyone who may — gasp! — not be football fans) a very happy holiday season with joy and good fortune for you and your family!