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Dead Horses and Traveled Roads--- this is a HUGE game


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I know this has been talked about before, but I don't think it can be stressed enough, just how important this game is for the Redskins. This opener for us is bigger than just about any opening game for any team in the league this year-- and no, not all openers are created equally.

Saw an interesting stat yesterday:

Since 1978 (excluding 1982) approx. 24% of teams that lose their opener make the playoffs, while approx. 54% of teams of teams that win their opener make the playoffs. Interesting for sure.

But even without that little factoid, this game looms SO large for the skins on SO many levels.

First of all, it's a home game. A home game on a BIG TIME national level to be exact.

It's against the team we raided this year.

Said team was 9-7 last year.

Said team is without their starting QB (and arguably best player).

Said team starts an old man at QB.

The Redskins are DESPERATE for some good vibes, karma, etc..... NO ONE has any faith in this team on a national level and you are a FOOL if you don't think that filters down to the team at least a little bit. I'm sure there are players wondering to themselves about Spurrier, Ramsey, etc...... an embarrasing loss on national TV to a hobbled team wouldn't exact sooth those feelings.

There is a lot of negativity and doubt (even from the fans) swirling around the Redskins and a win could make a lot of that fade and send them into a long week on a high note. A loss could really do further damage. This is a fragile team that NEEDS good things to happen early.

Yes, I know we started 0-5 two years ago and then won 5 in a row. But you know what? That was STILL just a below average season, IMO, a season which was doomed by our poor start. When I think of 2001, I see a team that was 6-8 at one point-- don't really care how they got there. The win streak was nice, but the bottom line was that the 0-5 caught up to us big time.

Here's the MAIN point though:

No one says that if we lose to the Jets that we can't beat the Falcons, Giants, Patriots, etc..... of course, if we lose week 1 and the win the next two or three or whatever, we'll be looking good.

But if we can't beat the Jets at home without their QB, then how do we expect to beat the Falcons on the road without their QB? Then, we get the Giants, Patriots, Eagles, Bucs, and Bills all in a row. The Jets game is CLEARLY the easiest opponent of all of those. So, sure from a statistical standpoint, a loss to the Jets is only 1 loss which would be quickly off-set by even a mini-win streak. However, from a REALISTIC standpoint, I believe this game is as close to a must win as week 1 can get.

Don't use examples from other teams either-- this is a UNIQUE situation for the Redskins, a situation only Redskin fans that have suffered for a decade now can understand.

Most fans don't want to give this game added importance because they are scared-- fearful that admitting a loss in less than 2 days could seriously hamper our chances this season-- it's a scary thought and most fans don't want to think about it. BUT IT'S TRUE!

I am 100% UNSURE what to think of this team in 2003. I picked the 8-8 just because I couldn't decide on anything less. But in reality, I don't think we'll be average-- I think we'll either really surprise people and be in a serious playoff race (9-7, 10-6) or we'll really crash and burn and become a true laugingstock (6-10, 7-9).

For some reason, I just don't see us landing in the middle this year.

Let me put it this way-- if we beat the Jets I'll be thinking more along the lines of 9-7 and if we lose to the Jets I'll be thinking more along the lines of 6-10 or 7-9. It could mean MUCH more than just one win or one loss this year.

If you don't believe that, I wonder which franchise you've been following for the past decade.

My prediction?

I actually think we're going to win, maybe that's just pre-season hope getting the best of me, but we win this game on paper, and while that hasn't helped us in the past, I'll give us a nod because it's a new year and because we're at home. I also look to Lavar as a real leader who may be able to help us pull out this type of game.

I do concede however that a Jets win would NOT shock me in the least.

Redskins 27, Jets 17.

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I've downplayed the importance of this game for the last couple months, but I'm changing my tune. I think it's extremely important that we start this season off with a win. A loss to the Jets will do more damage mentally than to our record.

What we need is our team leaders to step up and lead the team to a victory. Ramsey, Coles and Jansen on offense. Arrington, Trotter, and Smith on defense. We need these guys to show up in a big way. The nerves will be running wild tomorrow night. I'm getting chills just sitting here typing this. This is our chance to show the NFL that we are a contender and that this Redskins team is different than those in previous years.

I just can't get a feel for the team yet. We haven't seen enough of the starters to know what we're working with. Something inside me says that Spurrier has been holding everything back for this game. Coach loves the spotlight. Tomorrow night he gets an opportunuity to shove one up the critics' a*s. One things for sure...the world will be watching.

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Word for word Kleese. Agreed.

The only thing I'd add would be... I don't really expect much from the team this year. Afterall, we do have a new defensive coordinator and we've got a fair share of new faces in the starting lineup. A second year quarterback with limited experience from his rookie year doesn't instill much confidence in me either.

As talented as the sum of the parts may all be.... there's a lot of intangibles that are unaccounted for this year. And I'm willing to be patient and concede this may not be the year. Next year is when there can be no more excuses.

However, the team DOES have the talent to surprise and do well this year. And it wouldn't surprise me much if they did. That's why I still hold out hope for this season. And the first indicator of how the season will go is the first game against the Jets.

You wanna be good in the NFL? You have to win the games you're supposed to win. Opening the season... prime time television... against an average opponent whom we acquired 4 starters from... and missing their starting QB. This should be a game with maximum effort and intensity from the Redskins.

And if it doesn't get them a victory in week one... I just not that optimistic about the rest of the season. But it'll be be fun this year watching the team develop for that big run next year.

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Die Hard--

The seeds MUST be planted THIS year for us to have REAL hope next year. Going 7-9 or even 8-8 and "building for the future" isn't going to cut it. We need to make DEFINITE strides. I won't say the playoffs are a must, but I do think being in the race right down to the end IS a must. It is almost a must that we not choke late in the season or pull any of our other antics.

If we compete all year, don't consistently beat ourselves, see improvement from the young guys, as well as the team as a whole, finish 9-7 and miss the playoffs-- well, I can handle that. I'll be disappointed with anything less-- and it will leave me with serious doubts about what has become our somewhat mythical "future."

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I agree with most of what you've said Kleese...especially the part about us probably not finishing in the middle again. However, call it blatant homerism if you want but I just feel like we're going to end up on the better end of things. I just think we match up well with many of the "good" teams we play. The NFL is a league that more often than not rewards a team with a record commensurate with the talent they have on their roster. On paper, we stack up with some of the best talent on offense in the league.

Certainly there are weak areas on our roster. If any of the teams we play decide to run it up the gut 40 times per game and have a tough defense to match, we're probably not going to do too well. However, against even these types of teams if we manage to somehow get ahead of them and take away their running game....look out:cool:

If Ramsey plays up to expectations and SOS has learned to run the ball a bit more, we really should overwhelm some teams this season. In the end, I think we do just that 10 times this season and don't manage to do it 6 times.;)

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