LONDON—Almost to a man, the Redskins lamented their tie with the Bengals as though it was a loss. But when January rolls around they may be very glad that they ended up with a draw instead of being on the short end of the score.
The result leaves the Redskins at 4-3-1 going into their bye week. That puts them in last place in the NFC, a half-game behind the Eagles and Giants, both at 4-3. The Cowboys’ win over the Eagles last night put them in command of the NFC East at 6-1.
The Redskins don’t have much control over what the Cowboys do. They do have that one Thanksgiving game but with Washington trailing the Cowboys by 2.5 games in the loss column Dallas will have to go into an extended slump for the Redskins to catch them for the division title. There is plenty of time for that to play out but it’s largely out of the Redskins’ hands for the time being.
The Redskins, however, are not in bad shape in the wild card race. No NFC team not leading its division has more than four wins. The Giants, Eagles, and Packers are 4-3. The Lions are 4-4 with their bye upcoming.
Also, it is a virtual lock that the Redskins will not be in last place in the division when they resume play on November 13. The Giants host the Eagles next Sunday and assuming there is no tie one of those teams will be 4-4, a half-game behind Washington. The other side of that coin is that one of those teams will be 5-3, a game ahead of Washington in the win column.
None of this matters if the Redskins don’t take care of business in their upcoming games. Their next three opponents, the Vikings and Packers at home, and at the Cowboys, are a combined 15-5. If they can take two out of those three they will have a fighting chance to make the playoffs going into the stretch run. Going 1-2 wouldn’t be fatal to their chances but they would need lots of help.