What follows is an answer to the chorus of complaints from the legions of fans tired of being distracted by "sensible" analysis, backed by "facts" and "knowledge." If you seek shelter from the twin storms that are "reality" and "logic," then this is your port of call.
1) The Redskins can make the playoffs. We'll say that again, but more affirmatively and with adjectives: the Redskins have a very real shot of making the playoffs. If you had told us that after the Jets game or the Eagles game, we would have thought you slightly insane. That's mostly because we were hanging out with our dog and if she had talked, that would have been both shocking and a surprising choice for her first topic. But that reaction also would have been prior to our bothering to look at the other contenders for the wild card or the Redskins remaining opponents. As the bard once said*, we dun did that yo.
2) Sadly, approximately 51,493 words have already been devoted to said topic so we had to find something else to write about. But, because we brought it up, we will say this. Obviously the opening statement comes with caveats because, well, it's the Redskins. We started watching the Redskins in 1994 and, save for the last two games last season (we were in Germany) -- we have watched every, single one. So, yes, our perception is colored by that. We've been through enough nail-biters and soul-deflating losses to know -- on a very intimate level -- the deep and abiding disappointment the Redskins can cause. The Redskins face some tough opponents over the next six weeks: Tampa, New York and Dallas are all solid. But those games are, in fact, winnable and not winnable in the "yes anyone can win" sense, they are legitimately winnable. Buffalo and Chicago are home games the Redskins should (and, yes, we've heard that before) win and win pretty handily.
3) The issue we had with the Redskins last week centered on the utilization of the talent. It has never been our contention that the Redskins lack talent. That's simply not the case. Sure, it would be nice to have a big receiver (we would really like to see the newly acquired Anthony Mix step into that role), a couple of defensive lineman and another corner. However, lacking talent at some positions is a far cry from lacking talent at all positions. Returning Randy Thomas (we believe he will be back by the Bills game) to an offensive line that has allowed the 11th fewest sacks in the league and which has lead the league's eighth-best rushing attack is, to put it mildly, good. (As an aside, if we did not already have an appreciation for the brilliance of Joe Bugel, we certainly do now.)
4) Sean Taylor will return for the defense and, of the remaining opponents, only two (Dallas and NY) are in the top 15 in scoring and Eli Manning has thrown 11 interceptions, tied for second-worst in the NFL. The Vikings (17), Bucs (20), Bears (21) and Bills (27) have struggled to score. (Yes, we're writing a column about this after saying we wouldn't, but we do it with panache so it's OK. Remember, lying with style is not really lying.) Only the Bucs and Giants have defenses in the top 10 in points allowed and the Giants secondary has allowed 16 touchdowns, fifth-worst.
5) Jason Campbell, over the past three weeks: 68 for 111, 705 yards, 5TDs, 2 picks. Those are obviously not the most impressive numbers ever posted but, make no mistake about it, the man himself is very impressive. He actually has a calming influence on us as we watch and, trust us, that's a new feeling for us. If he hasn't made you smile at this point, you don't like the Redskins. We can not fathom how the coaching staff could possibly look at the recent results and conclude that a more aggressive offense is a negative. There is plenty of room for Clinton Portis -- our favorite player -- in an offense like that. In Al Saunders' run with Kansas City, the Chiefs were 6th, 3rd, 15th, 5th and 4th in the league in rushing yardage. His offense -- obviously -- features a heavy dose of running. We feel Portis doesn't get the credit he deserves as a power runner (or, really, in general) but with his skill-set he is deadly in an offense that can spread a defense.
6) The Lions are, frankly, terrible, that offensive line is going to handcuff them the remainder of the season. The Cardinals have an easy schedule but they are 2-4 on the road and have three road games remaining. The Redskins control their destiny at this point. What sets this year apart from seasons' past is Jason Campbell. We're not making any guarantees because that sort of thing backfires on us ... but we sure do like our odds.