Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan was indifferent Monday to the decision to move his team’s regular season finale against Dallas to the Sunday night slot, saying that the Redskins will prepare for it as they would if they were playing at 1 p.m.
A victory over the Cowboys would give the Redskins the NFC East title and a home playoff game the following week. But the only way the Redskins could make the playoffs if they lose to the Cowboys is if the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears both lose as well.
The benefit for the Redskins is that by the time they take the field Sunday night, they will know whether the Vikings and Bears have both lost, and how much is at stake.
But Shanahan said nothing changes for Washington.
“I don’t worry about things I can’t control. We’re going to give them our best shot either way,” Shanahan said. “You look to your goals: to win the division. You always want that home playoff game, and we’ll prepare as if that’s the most important thing. That’s what we set our goals at the beginning of the season: to win the division and have a home playoff game. Hopefully we can accomplish those goals.”
Shanahan said the narrow margin for error is nothing new for the Redskins. They entered the bye week with a 3-6 record, and virtually couldn’t afford to lose another game if they wanted a chance at the postseason.
That situation remains nearly the same today, because the chances of both Minnesota and Chicago losing are slim.
Shanahan believes that the sense of urgency the Redskins have played with during the last six weeks will benefit them this week. They are now familiar with high-pressure situations, he said.
“I think it’s good. I think it’s really good. They get used to the pressure over the last six weeks, knowing every game is do or die,” Shanahan said. “They’re used to that scenario right now. They know we have to play our best football, and everything we’re working for comes back to this weekend: taking advantage of what we’ve done the last six weeks. It really doesn’t mean anything unless we take advantage of our game against Dallas.”