The 2 -2 Redskins are visiting the 0 – 3 Carolina Panthers – they’ll kick off in 1 minute. I’ve been a Redskins’ fan all my life, and can’t remember the last time a game was encased in so many off-the field factors to the point a win by the Skins could do little to change the opinions of the naysayers in the media. It’s almost enough to rob some Redskins’ fans of a reason to watch. After all, we have no idea what the TV commentators will talk about during the action. Will they talk football, or will they repeat what the other media pundits have been saying over the past three weeks? Let’s hope they call the action.
Speaking of the on-the-field action, there’s little doubt the Redskins need a win to at least mute the noise a bit. They also happen to need one to stay in the thick of the NFC East. Details, details. The Eagles and Giants can’t be allowed to run away with the division. The Skins already have a division loss and a conference loss – another conference loss would put them in a hole they’d clearly like to avoid. Mathematically they’d still be in it of course, but I’m not sure the same can be said of their mental state. The Panthers need a win badly, as well, But, even though their quarterback has thrown interceptions that were so ugly you had to wonder what he was trying to do, John Fox isn’t talked about by the national media the way Jim Zorn has been.
Jason Reid of the Washington Post changed his prediction for this game, picking the Redskins to lose 34 to 10. He must think DeAngelo Williams is going to run all over the Skins, and that Jake Delhomme is suddenly going to remember to hit the guys in the white and blue jerseys. Actually, from his comments, it appears he thinks the team is too distracted for the players and coaches to do their jobs. Marshall Faulk and Warren Sapp also think the Redskins will lose. Steve Mariuchi thinks the Skins will prevail.
I do think the Redskins will have a tough time with Williams. But, if they come out swinging and play in the first half like they’ve played in the second half of games this season, they should do okay. As for Delhomme, I have no idea what to expect from him. Jason Campbell will need to have a good first half, for sure.
Could the Redskins lose today? Of course. Will they be able to ignore the noise that has swirled around them? We’ll have to wait and see. Is their locker room divided to the point their play execution will be impacted? Again, we’ll have to see. These are tough times, but wins are a bit like time, which some believe cures all. I don’t think a win will even temporarily silence the talking heads, unless it’s by a margin of at least 10 points. But, silencing them isn’t the main reason the Redskins are playing this game. Trust me, they want to win. These guys have pride, and they have talent. They’ll just have to believe in themselves and each other enough today to kick some Panter butt.
The stage is set. Go Skins!