Football is a series of must-wins. It never really ends unless eliminated from the playoffs, and even then, victories are needed to retain jobs.
The Washington Redskins faced a must-win in just Week 2 for fear losing to the Los Angeles Rams would mean an 0-4 start. Instead, Washington won easily and is now 3-2.
But once again, Washington faces another must-win versus the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday. If Washington wins, it’s just one-half game behind Philadelphia (5-2). But if the Redskins lose, they’re 2.5 games back nearing midseason. Even worse, they’ll lose the first tie-breaker should teams finish tied at year’s end, meaning a loss really puts Washington 3.5 games back.
Win, and the season’s goals are all possible. Lose and a wild-card slot at best is possible.
The Redskins must do it without injured top corner Josh Norman, and maybe without corner Bashaud Breeland. They’re also sans first-round defensive end Jonathan Allen and kicker Dustin Hopkins because of injuries. Indeed, the Redskins were forced to sign a kicker with no pro experience and a modest college resume.
They’ll need to win on Monday nights that have long been a nightmare, including 0-5 for quarterback Kirk Cousins. And they’ll need to beat a team that already defeated Washington at home, much less the madhouse of Eagles fans at Lincoln Financial Field.
Yet, the Redskins have already traveled cross country to beat the Rams, defeated Oakland on Sunday night, barely missed upsetting Kansas City on a Monday night and survived San Francisco. The offense has jelled greatly since that opening loss to Philadelphia that was only a play or two away from victory.
Washington has a chance to take this must-win. And if it does, there will be many others later this season, including Dallas the following week.
After all, must-wins never end in the NFL.
Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter @Snide_Remarks.