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Redskins Still Face Opportunity In NFC East Because Of Rare Scheduling Quirk

By ZAC BOYER | @ZacBoyer

ASHBURN – While the Washington Redskins leave their bye week with a 3-6 record, a scheduling quirk now leaves them in position to make a move in the NFC East as they play division opponents five times in the last seven games.


That streak begins Sunday, when they host Philadelphia at FedEx Field, and continues when they head to Dallas for the Cowboys’ annual Thanksgiving game before returning home to face the New York Giants.

“It’s anybody’s conference,” left tackle Trent Williams said. “We control our own destiny, so to speak, and you know, we need a little help somewhat, but if we come out and play like we’re capable of and get a couple wins going, we’re right in the picture.”

The Eagles have lost their last four games and are also 3-6, while Dallas is 4-5 and the Giants lead the division at 6-4.

Washington enters this weekend’s game with Philadelphia on a three-game losing streak, though the number of remaining division games was something players, including Williams, pointed to last week as a reason for hope after head coach Mike Shanahan said he would use the remainder of the season to evaluate the players on the team.

“You know, you’ve got to get ready for the second half of your season,” Shanahan said Monday, when asked what he told the team after it reconvened. “You’ve got to play your best football. We had some opportunities in the first half and we haven’t closed a couple of those games. Now there’s no error. You’ve got to play your best and you’ve got to play it from Philly on, and that was the message.”

Shanahan told the players the game against Carolina was a “must-win” if they were to have hopes of reaching the playoffs. When they lost that game, the focus shifted on treating each game if it was a postseason game: win, or you’re eliminated.

“That’s how I feel every week,” receiver Santana Moss said. “Due to our circumstances, people can look at you and say that it’s over and that you didn’t have a chance, but you can look at everyone else’s circumstances and we all in the same boat. At the end of the day, as long as you don’t have that mindset as players, then you’ll be all right. That’s the way I’ll always think.”