After the Redskins lost a “must” win game to the Panthers in November, Washington coach Mike Shanahan, in the opinion of many (but not Mike Shanahan), threw in the towel.
Five games later, the Redskins haven’t lost again, rocketing from 3-6 to 8-6. The fifth straight win came via a 38-21 drubbing of the Browns in Cleveland.
Coupled with a loss by the Giants, the Redskins also are now in first place in the NFC East. Technically, the Redskins are in the top spot, thanks to a 3-1 record in the division. The Giants are 2-3.
The Redskins and Giants soon may have company; if the Cowboys beat the Steelers, all three teams will be 8-6, with two games left.
And so, like last year, the NFC East title likely will be decided on the last day of the season. Last year, the Giants won a playoff play-in game by beating the Cowboys — and then went on to win the Super Bowl.