The thorough dismantling of the rival Cowboys on their home field is the main piece of course, but aside from the Giants’ Sunday night win over the Packers, just about everything else went right as well.
New York’s win moves it to 7-4, keeping it two games ahead of the 5-6 Redskins. But those playoff scenarios from a couple weeks ago don’t seem as crazy today as they did then.
With a win next Monday night at FedEx against the Giants, the Redskins would put themselves in striking distance of the NFC East title with four games to go. New York’s remaining opponents are Saints, at Falcons, at Ravens, Eagles, while Washington’s are Ravens, at Browns, at Eagles, Cowboys.
Although it’s tempting to wonder how much better off the Redskins would be if they hadn’t allowed that late Manning-to-Cruz touchdown pass in the first Giants game, the weekend’s news wasn’t all bad.
Among the Redskins’ competitors for NFC wild-card spots, the Saints, Seahawks, Buccaneers and Vikings lost on Sunday as well. That leaves Washington one win back of the 6-5 Seahawks, who would be the sixth seed if the playoffs started today. The Bucs and Vikings are 6-5 as well, with the Cowboys and Saints each 5-6 like the Redskins. Washington’s head-to-head wins over Minnesota, Tampa Bay and New Orleans help in case of ties, and a conference record of 5-4 is better than any team in contention for the sixth spot. (Right now, the Chicago/Green Bay loser for the NFC North division race takes the first wild card).
So all that said, how much better do you feel about the Redskins’ playoff chances now? Still a little premature to talk about? Would you still be happy with 7-9 and a developmental step forward, given how possible a playoff spot is? The Redskins might not be good enough to do much damage once in the postseason, but it’d be a major selling point for free agents, and a feather in the cap of the rookie quarterback.
Before you jump into the comments, if you were away for Thanksgiving and missed the ‘Tre Johnson as a history teacher at Landon School‘ or the ‘RGIII Texas homecoming‘ stories, check those out. Great reads.