Can the Redskins win the NFC East?

October 18, 2012

The Redskins play their first NFC East game on Sunday. If they win it, they’ll be in first place.

Not a very fancily written start to this post. But I wanted to let that sink in for a second. This franchise, which so often has been in disarray, and was maybe considered still in it as recently as the Bengals game, has a chance to play from in front. The Giants (4-2) would drop into a tie with Washington (3-3) with a loss, but the Redskins for the time being would have the tiebreaker.

More importantly, the Redskins would have won a third straight against the Giants, establishing a reputation as the champions’ nemesis. They play again later in the season, or course, and perhaps would have a mental edge in that one.

Before you answer, a disclaimer: Yes, any team can win. Knowing what we know now, though, do you see the Redskins contending for a division title as likely?

This Sunday’s game is probably our best clue as to whether it’s possible, but at the moment, it seems like the Redskins have a shot.

The Giants are coming off their most convincing win of the season, at San Francisco. New York seems to have multiple personalities, but if they play like the team that beat the 49ers 26-3, they’re likely the division favorites.

The Eagles aren’t playing up to their talent level, and could be 5-1 or 0-6 given the results they’ve had in close games. They’re probably right where they belong at 3-3. Philadelphia is close to being a team that just is what it is — at some point you stop say they’re playing below their talent level and just accept that they aren’t very good. Switching to defensive coordinator Todd Bowles before the bye makes them an interesting threat as a division opponent.

The Cowboys are also tough to know what to make of. At 2-3, they are what we suggested in the preseason: A team that has plenty of star power, but doesn’t seem cohesive. Yet they had a shot to beat the Ravens last Sunday, losing 31-29, so they can compete with the NFL’s best.

The Redskins, for all that hasn’t gone right, seem to have as much potential as any of the division opponents. Certainly the mood is good after beating the Vikings, but the schedule gets pretty tough from here on out, with Baltimore and Pittsburgh along with the six division games among the final 10.

For the Redskins, how they play against the Giants, Eagles and Cowboys will have an enormous effect on whether this season is remembered as a small step in the right direction, revealing Griffin, Morris and others, or the return of Washington as a legitimate threat to make the playoffs and do damage beyond that.

Which division team is in the best position right now? Who would you call the favorite? What do you think the Redskins have to do to win the division? How do you see the season playing out?

Yesterday’s surprise and disappointment replies were varied but very insightful. The floor’s yours; here’s to another morning of lively discussion.


If the Giants play as well as they did against the 49ers, they are probably the NFC East team to beat. But with all six division games in front, Washington can greatly influence how the chips ultimately fall.
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