The Washington Redskins' season has been a real roller coaster ride. The Skins started with a three-game winning streak, followed by two close losses. Then Washington won a 52-17 laugher against the San Francisco 49ers, only to suffer a 36-0 blowout loss to the New York Giants. Next was the big win against the Philadelphia Eagles and a heartbreaking one-point -- make that one-inch -- loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Up . . . Down. Up . . . Down. Up . . . Down. All these ups and downs are making this Redskins fan feel a little queasy. Let's take a look at how things stand with the team to try to figure out whether the Redskins will finish up or down.

The offense is better than expected. The line is solid. Clinton Portis is running well (764 yards so far). Quarterback Mark Brunell and wide receiver Santana Moss are hooking up for some long gains. The only problem is that the Skins are giving the ball to the other team too often through fumbles and interceptions.

The Skins could use another big-play receiver. Maybe they should try to pick up Terrell Owens now that the Eagles have benched their star pass catcher.

No way! Owens must be a terrible teammate. He caught 47 passes for 763 yards and six touchdowns in the first seven games. But the Eagles still did not want him on the team. That's because he got into fights, complained about quarterback Donovan McNabb and anyone else who didn't think about T.O. 24 hours a day. Sounds like T.O. needs a timeout.

Anyway, the Redskins have enough problems, specifically with their defense. Defensive tackle Cornelius Griffin is hurt. So the Skins are having trouble putting pressure on the passer. Safety Sean Taylor is limping, too, and that means the secondary is giving up too many long passes.

Can the Skins still squeeze out enough wins to make the playoffs? I am not sure. It probably will take five more wins in the next seven games to get Washington in the postseason fun. The schedule looks tough.

The Oakland Raiders can surprise anybody with their big playmakers, including quarterback Kerry Collins and receiver Randy Moss. The San Diego Chargers are not an easy opponent either. They have superstar running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who scores touchdowns in bunches. The St. Louis Rams are hard to beat when they play on the artificial turf of their home dome. The Skins should beat the Arizona Cardinals, but then they finish the season against the Dallas Cowboys, Giants and Eagles. Yikes!

Up . . . Down? Up . . . Down? Up . . . Down? What will it be for the Redskins?

My guess is that the Skins are going to finish on the down side. Sorry.

Fred Bowen writes KidsPost's Friday sports opnion column and is the author of sports novels for kids.

Mark Brunell, left, and Ryan Clark, right, show the range of emotions of the Redskins' season.