After eleven weeks of NFL football, what’s left to play for in the NFC East as one of the league’s most competitive conferences edges towards a conclusion – and what do the Washington Redskins have to do?
Currently third in the NFC East, the Redskins are 4-6, just behind the 5-5 Dallas Cowboys. With a margin so tight, a single weekend of NFL action could change the standings completely. The only problem is that the Philadelphia Eagles are running away with it, with a 9-1 record, and are standing amongst the contenders to go all the way to the Super Bowl. So the Redskins and the Cowboys are “battling” for second place, and on an outside chance, a Wild Card berth.
The Ride So Far
After losing on the opening weekend to the Eagles, wins against the LA Rams and the Oakland Raiders had the Redskins looking in good shape; but losses to the Chiefs, the Eagles (again), and the Cowboys brought the Redskins back to the middle of the pack.
A crucial win against the Seattle Seahawks seemed to come out of nowhere and give the team life, but then two agonizing losses in a row brought the Redskins to a humbling 4-6, and on the verge of a losing season.
This past weekend’s loss to the Saints was agonizing for the Redskins faithful. Not given much chance coming in, to a Saints team that had won seven in a row, the Redskins had every opportunity to win. And should have won.
They gave up 15 points in the final minutes to allow the Saints to draw even at 31-31, before giving up a field goal in overtime to give up the heart-breaking comeback to the Saints, 34-31.
The Redskins don’t get long to mourn what was against New Orleans, as they have a short week and face the Giants on Thursday Night at Fed Ex. The 2-8 Giants have been wallowing in the muck of the NFC East for much of the season, but somehow eked out an impressive 12-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday. Eli manning apparently gave an inspired pre-game speech and the Giants certainly played more inspired football. So it certainly won’t be an easy game for the Redskins – no NFC East division battle ever is.
After that, the Redskins will face their most hated rivals – the Dallas Cowboys at the start of December. Ever since the Cowboys entered the league in the early 1960’s, they have enjoyed a very fierce rivalry with the Redskins – some would say one of the best rivalries in all of sports. Both are amongst the wealthiest teams in the NFL, and both are owned by businessmen who don’t mind being in the limelight.
The Redskins will be looking for redemption after three consecutive defeats to their arch-rivals, including one previously this year at Fed Ex.
There will be just four games left in the regular season for each, and there might be playoff implications for one or both teams.
With just four play off appearances since the turn of the millennia, the Redskins certainly would like to be in Wild Card contention, but even a win this week against the Giants to put them at 5-6 would still seem a long shot.
The Cowboys on the other hand, look to turn things around in the post-Zeke era, and get back on the winning side of the ledger. They have struggled terribly the last two weeks, and were pounded by both the Eagles (37-9) and the Falcons (27-7).
They will face a Chargers team that has also struggled throughout 2017, but who stunned Buffalo last week, and scored a monstrous 54-24 victory. Nevertheless, if the Cowboys do find their groove and beat the Chargers, they will come into the Redskins match-up at 6-5, and definitely still with their eye on a Wild Card berth.
Play Off Picture
Both the Redskins and the Cowboys are
Currently ranked as the tenth and eleventh seeds in the NFC respectively, they’ll have to close down on the sixth-seed which currently belongs to the 6-4 Atlanta Falcons. The fifth seed and other Wild Card position is currently held by the 7-3 Carolina Panthers.
The Redskins and Cowboys also have to contend with the 6-4 Detroit Lions (7th seed), the 6-4 Seattle Seahawks (8th seed) and 5-5 Green Bay Packers (9th seed). So both teams have a long road ahead of them, and the playoff scenarios can change swiftly with every passing week.
Realistically the Redskins can’t afford to lose to anybody else this season if they want to get that Wild Card position.
That begins Thursday against the Giants.