Warning: this column may be hazardous to your mind .

Or does it seem perfectly reasonable for the same fellow who say gloom and doom for the Redskins two months before the season began to have them penciled into the playoffs two months before it ends?

"Jumpin' on the bandwagon?" yelled Terry Hermeling Sunday in the gruff manner that belies a squish-soft heart toward most non-Redskins not dressed in shoulder pads.

For the Redskins, the satisfaction at the moment is deeper than their 6-2 recored suggests. The team has been rejuvenated in perhaps the strangest manner ever in the NFL; it has force-fed an entree of thoughtful, tough football to opponents and heaping portions of crow to critics.

The Redskins have the same record as a year ago at this time, but they are not likely to suffer another autumn fold. Like so many leaves, the Redskins turned brilliant in early fall, then died and were blown away by the slightest wind.

This team seems to be hardy enough and resourceful enough to remain strong well into December, even though two games with Dallas and one with Pittsburgh are nasty enough to make a break-even performance acceptable.

And 10-6 makes the playoffs. Even a 9-7 ought to be enough the way most everybody else in the NFC is playing. which suggests one of the reasons Coach Jack Pardee was so optimistic back in July, before the Redskins left for training camp.

All of us had a close look at the Redskins; Pardee had a close look at the opposition.

"Who's that much better than anyone else in the league?" he asked. "There are two or three teams with better personnel, but all of a sudden you get short of 'haves.' What you have after that is 12 to 15 clubs right in there together, us included. Teams where if a player or two stands out and injuries are kept to a minimum can win a division or get one of the wild cards."

Move ahead four months. The future is now -- and all of a sudden the Redskins have the second-best record in the Nfc and a two-game lead with Philadelphia on the field for the wild-card positions in the playoffs.

Sunday's 17-7 vicotry over the Eagles brought so much of what has gone right for the Redskins into clear focus.

We had doubted Benny Malone, suggested that Moses couldn't part a defense wide enough for him to stop prncing in place and plod through. So Malone burst through an allegedly rugged Eagle defense from the 10-yard line and scored.

It had been absolutely certain that the Redskin defensive line was the sorriest in the NFL. Swiss cheese, somebody called it, Dave Butz and lots of holes. Some of us had been rapping Diron Talbert before serious offseason knee surgery.

So Turkey and the other turkeys mustered seven sacks on Jaworski, a Number the Purple Gang and Steel Curtain rarely attained on their best day.

Jean Fugett did not catch a pass; Joe Lavender scarcely played; two Joe Theismann passes were intercepted. Washington still won going away.

Oh, yes, Theismann. Half the town assumed he would fall flat on that bent nose this season, whether Billy Kilmer was looking over his shoulder or looking over horses in Florida.

Theismann completed 15 of 24 passes for 136 yards, including one that caused even the harshest harpies to nod in admiration. That came about two minutes before halftime, on first-and-20 from the Redskin 30.

A long pattern and a reasonably fierce Eagle rush had Theismann under pressure. Five years ago, he probably would have turned tail and been caught even nearer the Redskin goal. One year ago, he probably would have held his ground but forced the pass before the receiver could break free.

Sunday, Theismann waited. And waited. Finally, Ricky Thompson caught the seams of the defense -- or whatever it is that makes zones vulnerable -- and Theismann's pass was at his chest.

Also, it is an article of faith, chiseled somewhere in Mr. Rozelle's kingdom, that nobody wins in the NFL without a middle linebacker. The Redskins got to be 4-2 with Don Hover hovering out of sight much of the time -- and then Neal Olkewicz came to play.

Olkewicz had come to play from the moment the Redskins signed him as a rookie free agent from Maryland. But even Jerry Claiborne considered him small for the position; someone "scarcely larger than a mole" found his way into this column.

This was an exceptional mole.

"A very fluid type player," Butz said, "and very strong for a short middle linebacker. Also, he's a helluva hitter who won't back off from anybody.

"I remember once in training camp (guard) Jeff Williams (who outweighs Olkewicz by 50 pounds) getting a five-yard jump on him and seeing Neal stand him up and push him to the side. That says he's a hitter."

Pardee has been playing mix 'n' match more than any coach in memory. He has designated specialists for nearly every siuation imaginable. Where every coach preaches about 45 players hitting for 60 minutes. Pardee practices it.

All of this hardly means the Redskins are destined for the Super Bowl. A serious injury to a vital player could make even a playoff spot risky. A smart coach ought to be able to use Pardee's tactics against him, for while Redskins are showing their strengths with all those substitutes they also are exposing their weaknesses.

"(George) Allen was great in one respect," Butz said. "But he was faulty in another. He won with veterans. But he didn't give anyone experience behind them, so when they went down he had to trade for somebody.

"Jack gets everyone into the game, for awhile at least. He lets them get a taste of being in an aggressive game."

In the NFL, mediocre teams are not supposed to make the playoffs the year so many veterans are fired and the supply lines with reinforcements -- the draft -- are seved.

"I'm not quite sure how all this is happening, either," Ken houston said. "But I think I'll play the hand out."