The Redskins are 2-5 after seven games, one game worse than they were last year at this time. In eight days they will know if they will have a shot of finishing 2013 as they did 2012, as NFC East champs. Two games in five days could determine how the rest of the season will play out.
By midnight next Thursday, the Redskins will have faced the Chargers at home and the Vikings in Minnesota. Let’s look at the three possible outcomes here:
Lose both—At 2-7, the Redskins could start to look towards next year. Even though it would not be mathematically impossible for them to rally in the weak NFC East, it would certainly have the feel of another lost season. Players and even some coaches would start to wonder where they might be in 2014.
Split—That would put them at 3-6 and we all know that they won out after having that record a year ago. They might not have to finish 7-0 to make the playoffs from there as it looks like nine wins would at least put a team in a tiebreaker pool for the NFC East title. Still, it would be a daunting task to have to do that for a second year in a row.
Win both—If Washington is 4-5 a week from tomorrow, there will be a great feeling of optimism around Redskins Park. Not only would they be a game better off than they were a year ago, they would be celebrating their first winning streak of the year. And there is a good chance that they will be a half game out of the division lead and tied in the loss column after all of the Week 10 games are played.
The Cowboys, who lead the division at 4-4, have what should be a win for them on Sunday when the Vikings come to town. But then they face the daunting task of traveling to New Orleans. Chances are they will be 5-5 after that.
At 3-5, the Eagles are a half game ahead of Washington. On Sunday they travel to Oakland, where the Raiders are 3-1 this season. In Week 10 a trip to Green Bay awaits. Even the more optimistic Philly fans are thinking that the best-case scenario is for their team to be 4-6 when the Eagles host the Redskins in Week 11.
That visit to the City of Brotherly Love could be a big game and a chance for the Redskins to get revenge on the Eagles and possibly move into a first-place tie while the Cowboys are on their bye. Or it could be the start of the Redskins playing out the string. We’ll know after these two games in five days.