For the Washington Football Team, earning a spot in the playoffs would be an achievement on its own. After a 1-5 start and all the adversity the team faced, just getting a ticket to the dance is an impressive feat.
However, the magical journey doesn't have to end there, according to former Washington tight end Chris Cooley.
Looking at Washington and the rest of the potential playoff field in the NFC, he sees an opportunity for the team to do more than just make the postseason.
“There is no limitations on Washington making it through the playoffs right now," Cooley said on The Kevin Sheehan Podcast.
That's right, Cooley said through the playoffs. That means winning not just potentially one matchup, but two or even three. What do three wins get a team? A Super Bowl appearance.
Why does the former tight end believe Washington could make a postseason run? Part of it obviously relates to how the team is playing. With a stout defense, Washington has the ability to remain in any game and compete with most teams. The win over the Pittsburgh Steelers is a perfect display of that.
Streaking at the right time, even Ron Rivera has said that this a team no one wants to see.
What also helps Washington, according to Cooley, is the makeup of the rest of the NFC playoff field. The top teams have plenty of talent, but none are invincible or leagues above the competition.
New Orleans won nine straight games, but a loss to the Eagles showed the limitations of Taysom Hill's game. Even if Drew Brees returns, will he be fully healthy and capable of playing at the elite level the league has become accustomed to? It's worth wondering.
The Rams seemed to have figured out a formula for success, led by a top-rated defense, but two losses to the 49ers -- a team Washington just beat -- shows that slip-ups aren't out of the question. Seattle has an MVP-level quarterback in Russell Wilson, but the defense is filled with holes. New York's strong defensive play showed that the offense can be made uncomfortable, something Washington could replicate.
Tampa Bay is the other favorite of the group despite its current seeding, and while it does have a certain QB, it has been an inconsistent season overall. Even the Green Bay Packers, who have not had a major slip-up in Cooley's eyes, have shown ways to defeat them. In a loss to the Buccaneers, it was constant pressure on Aaron Rodgers that led to a 38-10 blowout.
“Think of the formula for that. That is exactly what Washington is," Cooley said.
The rest of the potential field is in a similar spot as Washington.
Right now, Washington is focused on just getting to the playoffs. Thinking about the matchups isn't important just yet. Even if the team arrived in the postseason, it would most likely be the underdog against any of the teams mentioned above. Still, to Cooley, that doesn't mean much.
As Sheehan noted in response, 2020 has been wild. Maybe it's just wild enough to not only bring the Washington Football Team to the playoffs, but push them deep into January.