By Mark Pierce
It may seem intemperate to discuss the Redskins playoff chances at this juncture, but the last two wins over division opponents has inspired intemperance. The last time the Washington Redskins were in a position to make a late season playoff push was 2005, a time which for fans also inspired irrational exuberance, a period that has come to be known as the Gibbs II era.
Santana Moss was on that team. So was Chris Cooley. They can tell you the difference between this Robert Griffin led team and the teams that came after this last, playoff bound Redskins squad. Oh, and if you believe in the importance of certain dates, today is Joe Gibbs’ birthday.
That history noted, the team’s position in the 2012 NFC playoff race improved substantially today as three teams in contention for a potential wild card playoff spot, the Vikings, Bucs and Seahawks all lost in early game contests.
The resulting playoff standings leave Minnesota, Seattle, and Tampa Bay all tied for the second NFC wild card playoff spot at 6-5. At 5-6, Washington is a game behind but with tiebreakers over the Bucs and Vikings by virtue of head-to-head wins over both teams earlier in the season.
In a late afternoon tilt, the New Orleans Saints record worsened to 5-6 as they fell to the San Francisco 49ers. The Redskins own the tie-breaker against the Saints as well. Washington still must ideally win every remaining contest in order to maximize its playoff prospects, but there is little doubt their odds of success improved due to losses by competitors today.