Here’s a sentence that Washington Redskins’ fans never thought they would hear: their beloved Redskins are very much alive in the race for an NFC playoff berth. Considering that Washington fell to 3-6 after losing to a one win Carolina Panthers team at home, the Redskins would be relegated to another offseason to look forward to next year’s NFL draft.
Oh, that’s right. Washington doesn’t have a first round pick in 2013 because they traded it to the St. Louis Rams for the right to select quarterback Robert Griffin III in the 2012 NFL draft. That trade looks like the steal of the century now, considering that Griffin III is having the type of season that may give him some consideration for Most Valuable Player honors.
But I digress. The Redskins have won consecutive games for the first time all season to raise their record to 5-6. Realistically speaking, Washington will have to win their remaining five games to have an opportunity to reach the playoffs. That sounded impossible only a few weeks ago.
How times have changed. The Redskins have a little momentum heading into a nationally televised showdown with their division rivals, the New York Giants on Monday, December 3rd. Griffin III threw four touchdown passes to lead Washington to a 38-31 Week 12 victory over the Dallas Cowboys. Washington’s offense was efficient against a top ten ranked Cowboys’ defense, scoring 28 points in the second quarter to stake themselves to a large halftime lead.
Only two of Washington’s next five opponents have winning records: the Giants and the Baltimore Ravens. The Redskins played New York tough during their Week Seven game before losing 27-23 on a last minute touchdown pass from Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning to wide receiver Victor Cruz. Knowing that they stood toe to toe with the Super Bowl champion Giants should fill Washington with the confidence it needs to continue its recent winning ways.
However, Washington will need more than confidence if it wants to qualify for the playoffs. Griffin III and the offense have proven their efficiency, but the defense needs to improve. While the unit has played better the past couple of weeks, the Redskins cannot win the rest of their games by a score of 38-31 each week. But if the team as a whole can come together and play solid football, maybe a playoff berth isn’t out of the question.