The NFC East is the most polarizing division in the NFL. You have the Dallas Cowboys, who are “America’s Team”. You have the New York Giants, who play in America’s largest market (and are the current Super Bowl champions). You also have the Philadelphia Eagles, with their talented players on offense, a successful and brilliant head coach in Andy Reid, as well as a rabid and unsympathetic fan base.
The Washington Redskins have been an afterthought for many years for many reasons. Their curious personnel decisions in recent years have kept the Redskins as the laughingstock of the NFC East, if not the NFL. Currently, they are on a modest two game winning streak that has resuscitated their slim playoff hopes.
Washington’s next game is a Monday night affair with the Giants. The national stage is the time for the Redskins and their dynamic rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III to take a stand. A victory Monday night would pull Washington to the .500 mark at 6-6. It would not only enhance their wild card playoff position, but it would leave them only one game behind the Giants for the divisional lead.
However, Washington is playing for more than a playoff spot Monday night. They are playing for respect. The Redskins have been the butt of many jokes for too long. They must beat New York on Monday to prove that Griffin III, as well as their team, aren’t flukes. A victory over the Giants would give Washington a three game winning streak, which includes one victory over each of their divisional rivals. If the Redskins can’t garner respect after a feat like that, then they will never get any kind of respect.
But I digress. The Monday night game is a winnable game for Washington. As talented as the Giants are, they are also maddeningly inconsistent. New York has a tendency to play down to their opposition. That was the case during their Week Seven matchup with the Redskins. If not for a last minute touchdown pass from Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning to wide receiver Victor Cruz, New York would have suffered an embarrassing home loss to the Redskins.
In essence, Monday night is the Washington Redskins’ Super Bowl. Redskins’ fans hope they’ll see a different team from the Redskins’ team they saw Week Seven. They need to be prepared to give their best effort against the Super Bowl champion Giants. If they can somehow accomplish that feat and come out with a victory, it would go a long way towards adding to a Washington playoff run that no one could have seen coming.