Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Things Change Quickly in the National Parity League

At first glance, the Giants win against the Cowboys put a dent in the Redskins chance to win the division. Upon closer inspection, however, the Redskins still have a realistic chance at the division title. In fact, it might be easier for the Redskins to win the division than to earn a wild card because of the Redskins and Giants’ remaining schedules and because there are fewer teams in contention for the division title than the wild card.

The Redskins should easily win their road games against the Cardinals this week and the Eagles in the final week. Both stadiums will be empty and quiet when the Redskins show up. Their two toughest games will be against the Cowboys and Giants, but both of those will be played at home.

To have a realistic shot at the playoffs, the Redskins must run the table. But, if they run the table, they will only need minimal help to win the division. If the Redskins run the table, the Cowboys would be 10 – 6 at best, and the Skins sweep would knock them out of the playoffs. So, the Redskins would simply need the Giants to lose one game in addition to the loss to the Redskins on Christmas Eve.

The Giants would have to lose to either the Eagles in Philadelphia (although not likely, think Joe Pisarcik), the Chiefs (very possible), or the Raiders in Oakland on New Year’s Eve (possible). There is a good chance that the Redskins will control their playoff destiny before the Giants game on Christmas Eve.

(Photo credit BG at ExtremeSkins.com)

Why is this scenario realistic? Notice that three of the Giants last four games are on the road. The Manning-led Giants are 1 – 3 on the road this year (after subtracting out their “road” win against the Saints in NJ). That one road win this year also happens to be Manning’s only road win in his career after going 0 – 3 as a starter on the road last year. That sole win was against the lowly 49ers who started a fourth-string quarterback in that game, and despite it all, the Giants entered the fourth quarter of that game with only a 10 to 6 lead.

As Joe Gibbs said yesterday at his Monday press conference: “If we take care of our games, you’ll find that good things will happen for us in the other games.” Things change quickly in the National Parity League.


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