The Redskins are tied for the lead in the NFC East with four games to go but their perch is very precarious. A win over the Bears could have them in sole possession for first place. A loss on Sunday could have them tied for last in the division.
In the big picture, Washington would not be eliminated with a loss and it’s quite possible that a 2-2 finish will have them in the mix for the NFC East title. But don’t tell the players that.
“We’re not looking at it through the mind frame that we can drop a game or two, it’s definitely not like that,” said offensive tackle and captain Trent Williams. “We have to win. This definitely is a playoff game for us. We’re in a dead heat right now and a loss can be the end of it so we’ve definitely got to approach it like it’s a one-game season.”
After facing two division foes the last two weeks, the Redskins go outside of the NFC East for the next two weeks as do the other teams in the division. If they lose a game the will be in the unenviable position of needing another team to keep them from falling out of the race. They need to be fans of the Packers, Bills, and Dolphins, the teams who are playing the Cowboys, Eagles, and Giants, respectively.
That is not where anyone on the Redskins wants to be.
“We’ve got to treat it like it’s a playoff . . . We must go 4-0, same way you’ve got to to 4-0 in the playoffs we’ve got to go 4-0 now,” said defensive end Ricky Jean Francois.
Jean Francois is one of the players who have been through playoffs and Super Bowl runs that Scot McCloughan has brought in to try to add some of that experience to the roster. Safety and defensive captain Dashon Goldson is another.
“Right now we’re in a three-way tie and we’ve got to go get this game,” said Goldson. “It’s been like that for a couple of weeks now. But, definitely, it’s one game at a time but we’re approaching every game as a must win.”
We’ve heard “Code Red” being thrown around Redskins Park this year along with other terms emphasizing the importance of upcoming games. That’s where a team that can’t put together a winning streak and can’t win on the road finds itself. It’s December so it’s probably apt to call it playoff time. We will see if the Redskins can stave off elimination this week.