The Redskins built up enough of an early lead to be able to survive a fourth-quarter rally and beat the Giants for what was their biggest win in three years. They are in a laughably weak NFC East and that means that their 5-6 record has them tied for the lead in their division with an edge over the Giants in the tiebreakers.
And although that may be worthy of a good chuckle, the serious fact is that the Redskins have their playoff fate in their own hands. They don’t need to rely on help from anyone. It’s very simple—win and they are in.
“To have that opportunity is great, instead of hoping that everyone loses,” said Jay Gruden. We are just going to keep grinding one game at a time.”
The Redskins have proven to be a team that can’t really compete with the top teams in the NFL. They were thumped by the Panthers last week and earlier this month the Patriots toyed with them while delivering one of those beatings that was more decisive on the field than it was on the scoreboard.
But the tough teams are in the rear view mirror for the Redskins now. No teams that currently have a winning record remain in their final five games. They play the 3-7 Cowboys twice, the 4-7 Eagles, the 5-6 Bears and the 5-6 Bears.
The Redskins are capable of beating any of those teams. But if they lose focus, as they have been prone to doing this year, they are capable of losing to any of them. That’s why Gruden wasn’t really worried about the current standings.
“We had to challenge our guys to rebound from that loss against Carolina, but to also play a division rival, at our place, who beat us the last three time,” said Gruden. Whatever happens after that, standings, tied for first, I don’t care about that. When we play hard, we play focused, protect the football, we can be a tough team to beat.”
The Giants had beaten the Redskins five times in a row, actually. Gruden was referring to the 0-3 mark they have held against New York since he came in as the head coach in 2014.
If the season ended today, the Redskins would be the No. 4 seed in the NFC playoffs and would be hosting a Wild Card round playoff game against the Packers. That would be a tough matchup for the Redskins, no doubt. But considering that many in the media predicted that the Redskins would be among the worst teams in the NFL this year that’s a chance the Redskins will be happy to take.