Jan 6, 2006, 2:33 AM EDT
It’s a lock. The Redskins are not only going to beat the Bucs, but they are going to win their next two and advance to Super Bowl XL in Detroit. No other outcome is possible.
Why? Check out this factoid from the Newark Star-Ledger
Why do Redskins fans have reason to believe their sixth-seeded team will become the NFC representative in the Super Bowl?
Check this out: The team the Eagles faced in their final game of the previous six seasons appeared in the Super Bowl. Philly lost to the Patriots in last year’s Super Bowl; lost out on a trip to the Super Bowl by dropping the NFC Championship games the previous three years to the Panthers, Buccaneers and Rams; lost a divisional playoff game to the Super Bowl-bound Giants in the 2000 season, and beat the eventual Super Bowl champion Rams in the regular-season finale in 1999.
The last opponent for the Eagles this season? The Redskins. How do you like them apples?
Of course, I kid. This is just one of those things, a trivial coincidence. The Redskins won’t win because of their January 1 game.
Some trends and numbers, however, are not trivial or coincidental and warrant some consideration when evaluating this game. I’m talking about numbers like 7-1.
That is Joe Gibbs’ record in his team’s opening playoff games each season. That’s preparation, that’s getting your team ready to make a run. The game location makes no difference; he’s 3-0 on the road in playoff openers.
When you point out records like this to Gibbs, he always says that he had some great players to get the job done. And then you look around Redskins Park you think, hey, there are some pretty good football players around here today, too. Clinton Portis and Santana Moss set team records for rushing and receiving yardage respectively. Marcus Washington is an extraordinary playmaker at linebacker and when Sean Taylor’s reputation catches up with his play on the field he’ll be the talk of the NFL.
The stars, however, weren’t the ones that made Gibbs’ teams what they were. It was the role players and special teams guys, something that this team doesn’t lack in either. You could take Mike Sellers, Rock Cartwright, Ade Jimoh, and Khary Campbell, put them into a time machine and drop them into RFK Stadium in the mid-eighties, introduce them to Otis Wonsley, Pete Cronan, Terry Orr, and Ken Jenkins and they would fit right in.
Obviously, this is a Joe Gibbs team and that means that they will be a very tough out on Saturday. How tough? Find out in Bold Predictions Part 2 on Friday.
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