Can Washington Redskins win a Playoff Game?

kirk-cousins-nflThere’s still one weekend left in the 2015-16 NFL regular season, but the Washington Redskins have already secured their spot in the playoffs. At 8-7, the Redskins performed well enough to win a subpar NFC East over the New York Giants (6-9), Philadelphia Eagles (6-9) and Dallas Cowboys (4-11). The teams that Washington beat out don’t inspire much confidence in their ability to compete with the NFC giants in the postseason. But then again, this is a team that’s won 5 out of their last 7 games and is playing well at the right time. So do the Redskins have a chance in the playoffs?

Before we answer this question, it’s worth discussing why an 8-7 division winner is getting so much attention in the first place. Washington was picked to finish last in the NFC East by most experts before the season. So it’s pretty impressive that, even with the lack of competition, they’ve managed to win their division. It also has to be pointed out that quarterback Kirk Cousins is playing the best football of his life while the Redskins defense is pretty formidable too.

Even still, the experts aren’t too keen on Washington making it very far in the playoffs. Appearing on ESPN radio, Mel Kiper Jr. suggested that the Redskins’ playoff appearance has more to do with Dallas QB Tony Romo being out than anything else.

“We’re not talking about the Redskins if this division wasn’t so bad, and we’re not talking about the Redskins if Romo plays,” Kiper explained. “If Romo plays all year, we’re not discussing the Redskins in the playoffs. They’re a non-factor. Now, can they win a playoff game? I don’t think so. Can they win two? No. So are they going to be a factor in the playoffs? No, they’re not. They’re in the playoffs because of a bad division.”

Kiper isn’t the only ESPN expert who thinks that Washington benefited from the Cowboys’ injury struggles. Skip Bayless also believes that the Redskins are simply filling in for a Dallas team that had too many injuries.

“This year’s NFC East made me sick,” Bayless said. “The Washington Redskins won it by default. They were simply the last team standing. I’m going to say it one last time: If Tony Romo and Dez Bryant had been healthy the whole year, my Cowboys would have run away with the NFC East, then made a run at this year’s Super Bowl.”

jordan-reed-redskinsFormer Rams great Marshall Faulk is just one more analyst who thinks that Washington could have their hands full in the postseason. However, he does believe that they at least have a puncher’s chance of winning a playoff game.

“Let’s be honest, they’re not good enough to go far in the playoffs,” said Faulk. “You can win a playoff game [as an underdog] at home or on the road. That can happen in this league. I’m not going to discount the fact that yes, they can win a playoff game, it can happen.”

One person who fully believes in Washington is the NFL Network’s Adam Schefter, who had the following to say:

“If Jordan Reed is healthy, to me they can play with just about anybody. I don’t expect them to have a long playoff run, but there’s very few games they couldn’t win. I’m just being honest: I don’t believe in them enough to think that they’re going to string together three wins in a row against three tough teams. I don’t think that’s happening. But listen, the quarterback is hot, the tight end is a force, they have play-making wide receivers. If they’re running the ball well, it’s a good team. I mean, it’s a good team. So I think they could provide some playoff fun for Washington.”

It still remains to be seen whom the Redskins will host in the Wild Card round. They are currently the NFC’s fourth seed, meaning they could host the loser of tomorrow’s Green Bay/Minnesota Vikings game. No matter who loses this game, they are likely to be favored over Washington on the betting lines for January 10th.

Leave a Reply