The Washington Redskins embark on their journey to Richmond, Virginia for the start of training camp in less than four weeks and many fans and pundits remain skeptical of the team’s chances of fielding a playoff-caliber unit. Those naysayers may want to pump their brakes, however, as history could bode well for the Burgundy and Gold to make a strong playoff push in 2019.
Despite entering the season with a new starting quarterback and even with the uncertainty regarding the face of the franchise in Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams, the Redskins have several reasons to be optimistic. And it’s the same type of optimism that was on display before injuries derailed another promising season in 2018.
When signal-caller Alex Smith went down in Week 11 with a gruesome leg injury, Washington was 6-3 and had led the NFC East division for eight consecutive astounding weeks. In fact, the Redskins were almost seen as a lock to make the NFC playoffs even if they played less-than-perfect ball for the remainder of the season. Unfortunately, the loss of Smith resulted in a snowball effect that decimated Washington’s core players with injury after injury. The Redskins would only win one more time in their final seven games without Smith.
If the team can somehow stay upright and injury free, there is a good chance that it can compete for a postseason berth… something history corroborates.
Over the past five seasons, the NFC has produced a minimum of two new teams in the postseason that didn’t qualify the year before. Last year (2018 season) in that conference’s playoffs, three teams (the Chicago Bears, the Dallas Cowboys and the Seattle Seahawks) participated that didn’t qualify for the 2017 season playoffs. That seemed to be an ongoing trend from the previous year when a whopping five teams (the Philadelphia Eagles, the Minnesota Vikings, the Los Angeles Rams, the New Orleans Saints and the Carolina Panthers) qualified for the playoffs after missing the 2016 season postseason.
Further proof that history could be on the Redskins side can be found by looking no further than the 2016 and 2015 seasons.
The Dallas Cowboys and the Detroit Lions made the playoffs in 2016 despite missing the postseason in 2015. That same 2015 season was special for Redskins fans because the Burgundy and Gold won the NFC East Division and hosted a wildcard game against the Green Bay Packers. That same postseason saw Washington (as well as the Arizona Cardinals and Minnesota Vikings) eligible for the playoffs despite the failure to do so the previous year.
On average, over the past five seasons, two new teams have made the NFC playoffs that didn’t qualify the previous year.
To add even more positivity, recall that two of the teams previously discussed (the ’18 Philadelphia Eagles and the ’17 Atlanta Falcons) went on to the Super Bowl. And of course, Redskins Nation knows all too well that the Eagles won it all 2018.
Despite the many storylines that will follow the team into training camp, is Washington in a position to be one of the trending two or perhaps three NFC teams that will make the postseason in 2019?
Granted, it’s still early. But the trend described above should give Redskins fans hope that, were one to go by recent history, making the postseason is undoubtedly attainable.