Nov 9, 2005, 12:23 AM EDT
At 5-3 at the midway point of the 2005 season, the Redskins aren’t exactly sitting pretty, but they’re not sitting Roseanne Barr either. By virtue of their Week 2 win over Dallas, they would make the playoffs if the season ended today.
The season doesn’t end today and that’s a good thing for the Redskins. At this point in time, most of the national scribes and talking heads out there don’t have the team on their short list of NFC Super Bowl contenders and it’s difficult to make the case that they are among the elite teams in the conference.
They would be up there with the likes of the Panthers, Falcons, and Giants if not for that one black mark on their resume, the 36-0 loss in the Meadowlands. Of course, that’s like saying that the Titanic’s maiden voyage would have been a great success if it hadn’t been for that darn iceberg.
Unlike the Titanic, however, the Redskins are not sunk. They are 5-1 in the NFC and 2-1 in the NFC East. They own the only road win in the division so far, their 14-13 win in Dallas in Week 2. Their only remaining division road contest is in Philadelphia on the last day of the regular season. The toughest part of their schedule is behind them. After having played seven of their first eight games against teams with winning records, the only winning teams the Redskins face in the next five weeks are this Sunday against the Bucaneers, 5-3 but losers for three of their last four, and the 5-4 Chargers at FedEx Field on November 27.
While the Redskins get a break from division play, in the next five weeks there will be four games with the Cowboys, Giants, or Eagles playing each other. Dallas plays its first division road game in Philly this Monday night and still has to go to New York and Washington on top of having to face Denver, Kansas City, and Carolina. The Giants travel to Seattle and host KC in addition to games in Philadelphia and Washington.
It’s pretty easy to see the Redskins going into their final three games of the season, at home against Dallas and the Giants and at Philadelphia, with their playoff fate firmly in their own hands.
What do the Redskins need to do to elevate themselves into the mix of teams with a chance of playing in February? Certainly, continued good health is a must. Improvement in two other areas would go a long way towards getting him there.
First, they have to get some more turnovers, interceptions to be more precise. They have just four this year. You need more than one every two games. Second, they have to kill the clock at the end of games. A holding call that Joe Gibbs said he didn’t see cost the Redskins an opportunity to kill the last six minutes or so last Sunday night, but, still, you can’t let things like that get in the way. You can’t rely on a last-second turnover like they got against the Eagles on Sunday and against the Bears in the season opener to preserve the win.
If they can tighten those areas up, they might not only be using the “p” word, as in playoffs, but the “s” word, as in super.