There’s only one team in the National Football Conference having a worse year than the Minnesota Vikings—the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers—and the Washington Redskins must use that to their advantage when taking to the turf at Mall of America Field in Thursday night NFL action.
In order to do so, the Washington Redskins will need a big game in the air from quarterback Robert Griffin III. RG3 is averaging 271 yards passing per game, while the 29th-ranked Minnesota passing defense yields 291 on average to opposing teams. Washington must exploit this weakness in order to level the playing field. While the Vikings only have a single win in 2013, they represent a challenge to the strong Redskins rushing attack; Washington’s 12th-ranked run game may average 261 yards each outing but the Minnesota run defense is 11th, allowing a mere 104 yards.
The Redskins must hit the ground running against Minnesota and take it to the banged-up Vikings squad hard and fast, capitalizing on the momentum from Sunday’s strong finish against the San Diego Chargers. With the short week to recover and less time to practice, this momentum will be key for Washington’s chances at victory.
With a win on the road this week and another next week against the 4-5 Philadelphia Eagles, the Redskins would be still very much in the playoff hunt. A turnaround of that magnitude is easily accomplished, and while there will be plenty of competition for a wildcard berth, NFC East-leading Dallas is a mere 2 wins ahead of Washington; taking the division title may very well be more within reach than one of two wildcard spots.
“The fans want to have something to believe in, and the players want to have something to believe in,” Redskins QB Robert Griffin III said via Yahoo Sports. “And because of the way our division is set up right now, we have something to believe in and we know we can control our own destiny.”
Whatever the future holds for the Washington franchise, the pressure to change the Redskins name was ratcheted up an extra notch, with the D.C. Council’s unanimously approved resolution Tuesday. While the measure is not legally binding, it symbolizes the ever-growing public discontent with the moniker. Redskins owner Dan Snyder has reportedly refused to change the Washington team’s name, even as members of the Oneida Nation met with NFL executives.
What do you think of Washington’s playoff chances? Do you agree that the Redskins name is offensive? Can the Washington Redskins stay healthy down the stretch?