If the Redskins needed to send a message, it was delivered face-to-face Saturday when they beat up on the division leading New York Giants. The last time the two teams met was the lowpoint of the season for Washington when they were blown out of Giants Stadium 36-0. They reached their highpoint - at least so far in the season - when they got a good measure of revenge by beating the Giants 35-20 on Christmas Eve.
Now, the Redskins come into The Linc with winning on their mind. It's called Win-And-In. Beat the Eagles and then prepare for the playoffs. Actually, the mission may become even a little more interesting, should the Giants stumble at Oakland Saturday night, since a Giants loss and Redskins win would give Washington the division crown. No matter what the Giants do though, if the Redskins win, they return to the playoffs for the first time since 1999.
Sunday was a day when everything clicked for the 'skins. Santana Moss caught three touchdown passes and Clinton Portis - who the Giants held to just nine yards rushing in their first matchup - put up 108 yards in the win. And perhaps the most imprssive part of the win was the fact that Patrick Ramsey took over for Mark Brunell at quarterback and sealed the win.
Brunell left the game with a sprained right knee. Ramsey, who lost his starting gig in the first game of the season, came off the bench and didn't miss a beat by completing five of seven passes. Ramsey's highlight was a 72 yard touchdown strike to Moss. It's still not clear whether or not Brunell will be able to go on Sunday, but you have to figure that with the roll that the Redskins are on right now, it won't matter all too much.
The Eagles had hoped to finish the season at a respectable 8-8, but their loss in Arizona on Saturday killed that dream and they can only salvage a 7-9 season. The incentive for this week has to be to keep the Redskins from clinching a playoff spot on the green grass of The Linc. The Redskins could still make the playoffs if they lose to the Eagles, but it certainly won't be in their hands at that point and they'll need a lot of help. In that scenario, the Redskins would need the Bears to win in Minnesota and the Rams to win in Dallas Sunday night. Long odds to be sure.
The Eagles aren't likely to lay down and die a painful death on Sunday, but whether or not they have the weapons to do their part to keep Joe Gibbs and the Redskins out of the playoffs is another question.