It was a little irritating last week to find the Redskins, after their thumping of the Cowboys in Dallas, decided underdogs against the Eagles, who had just lost to the Bears after repeated failed attempts to score from inside the five yard line, events which would be eerily prophetic of things to come when the Redskins arrived. It was similarly annoying to find Washington in many cases horridly underrated in horridly flawed power polls.
After a similar thumping of the Eagles in Philadelphia, it is more irritating to find the ‘Skins still under-appreciated by Peter King’s “Fine Fifteen”. Why this still irks or surprises me I do not know, since his Cowboys homerism is such an undeniable influence on his judgment. His ranking of the Redskins at #4 last week was baffling since the Cowboys were still rated ahead at #2. This week, however, he has dropped the ‘Skins to #5 as a reward for their throttling of the Eagles in Philadelphia (Eagles, incidentally, his sixth-best team last week), yet kept Dallas in the top 3 because of their heroic hanging-on against the Bengals at home.
He also has the gall to mention “schedule advantage” in his comments on the Redskins. The words “schedule advantage” are, to any half-intelligent being, completely synonymous with the words “Cowboys’ schedule”. Check out the dragons the ‘Boys have had to slay thus far: Browns (1-3), Eagles (2-3) at home, Packers (2-3), Bengals (0-4) at home. Brutal! Especially given the fact that those upset-minded Bengals were a firm Chris Henry grip on the ball away from potentially shocking Dallas on their lame-duck home field. If only the turnover-prone back could have held on, we might also be treated today to more TO-pouting. As it is, he was placated with a TD pass on the Cowboys’ ensuing possession, thus depriving us of more Dallas implosion. But back to that schedule question.
A more appropriate phrase for King to use would have been “schedule respite”. After five consecutive weeks against teams that were picked in the pre-season to be playoff contenders and who may yet prove themselves so, the ‘Skins finally get their share of the cupcakes that Dallas seems to have been feasting on for the past two seasons en route to paper-tigerish glory ultimately exposed as fraudulent. No team deserves the Rams, Browns, and Lions right now more than the Redskins. They’ve more than earned it and have the opportunity to be 7-1 when another darling-on-the-rise, Pittsburgh, comes to town for a Monday-nighter, at which point we’ll be treated to those insufferable “when the Redskins win/lose before an election” features. That Chris Berman will be involved makes it all the more worth our while to tune in just seconds before kickoff. But that’s weeks away. For now, bring on the tomato cans and enjoy watching the wins pile up, even if Cowboy apologists don’t notice.