Redskins can start playoff push by beating Cowboys

Ben Krimmel
October 20, 2018 - 11:32 am

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday, Danny Rouhier infuriated co-host Grant Paulsen when he said he would rather the Redskins beat the Cowboys twice than make the playoffs. The hypothetical strikes at the heart of fandom, pitting emotion and a person's heart against logic and the brain.

But, why not both?

With the Redskins sitting at 3-2, they are in prime position to establish their bona fides as a playoff hopeful and a contender for the NFC East crown with a win over the much hated Cowboys Sunday at FedEx Field.

But ghosts of past failures are a tough thing to shake. 

"Time and time and time again, when everything seems to be set up for them, (the Redskins) refuse to accept the benefit of some luck, of some breaks, of some bounces," Paulsen said on Friday. "This is what they've been, this is who they are, but they get to change it. That's the beauty of this thing."

"If they can beat the Cowboys, then the most cynical, angry, broken Redskins fan has to call up on Monday and say, 'Maybe they're turning a corner. Maybe this is different,'" Paulsen said. 

"But if they're 4-2 through six," Paulsen said. "In this town, on your way to 10-6, that would be massive. There should be parties being thrown, if they beat Dallas and they go into next week with a chance to get to 6-2."

"Now what I'm asking for as a fan, is December relevance," Rouhier said. "And you can exceed that goal with wins here in October, with very winnable games. The seas have parted. They don't have a single team on there ledger next that has a winning record."

"What better situation is there in sports, I ask you, for the chance to take advantage of an opportunity?" Rouhier asked.

Is there reason for optimism? Football Outsiders is the most bullish on the Redskins chances, giving them a 47 percent chance at making the playoffs and a 33.1 percent chance at winning the NFC East. FiveThirtyEight is slightly less high on Washington with a 39 percent chance at the playoffs and 22 percent chance for the division. And with just a 25.6 percent chance at the playoffs and 14.9 at the division, ESPN's Football Power Index is the most down on the Redskins.

It is OK for Redskins fans to ask: Why not both?

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