Washington Redskins Commentary: 2012 Redskins Can Emulate 1999 Team and Capture NFC East Title

on December 04 2012 9:55 AM
Washington Redskins Commentary: 2012 Redskins Can Emulate 1999 Team and Capture NFC East Title

The 2012 Washington Redskins can emulate the 1999 version and capture the NFC East title. Monday night's 17-16 victory over the New York Giants, has put the Redskins at 6-6.

They have a favourable remaining schedule and a 3-1 mark in the division. That makes them strong contenders to capture their first NFC East title since 1999.

That team was coached by Norv Tuner and was the Redskins best since their last Super Bowl winner in 1991. Like their 2012 successors, the '99 Redskins were keyed by their offense.

Brad Johnson and Michael Westbrook led a prolific passing game, while Stephen Davies emerged as a star runner. That potent combination gave Washington the second best offense in the league.

In 2012, the Redskins own the best rushing offense in football. They are also rank seventh overall and eighth in points.

However, like their '99 predecessors, the 2012 Redskins are hampered by an equally dubious defense. The Redskins are 31st against the pass and 29th in total yards allowed.

1999's defense was 30th in yards and 24th in points. However, the unit did come good late in the season, thanks to the expert tutelage of veteran consultant Bill Arnsparger.

Recently, 2012's defense has shown signs of life. They plundered three turnovers against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 12. They also made some clutch stops in the second half to deny the Giants.

The 1999 Redskins eventually took the NFC East with a 10-6 finish. That's the same record the present day Redskins will be aiming for. Can they do it?

The schedule does provide some encouragement they can. The Redskins entertain the Baltimore Ravens in Week 14.

The Ravens will likely be smarting after their recent home defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers. They will be under pressure to reassert themselves and could be deflated after succumbing to their greatest rival.

The Redskins will travel to Cleveland to take on the Browns the next week. The Browns are a plucky bunch who are better than their 4-8 record suggests.

They have won their last two and have an opportunistic defense. Still, the Redskins will be confident they can exploit Cleveland's 16th-ranked run defense.

It's the final two games of the season that will really determine the Redskins playoff hopes. They play the Philadelphia Eagles on the road, before welcoming the Cowboys to Washington.

That's two NFC East games to finish the season. If the Redskins win them both, they will have the best divisional record, at 5-1.

That would give them a huge advantage in tie breakers, that could prove crucial. There will probably only be one playoff participant from the East, which makes winning the division essential.

The Redskins might not even have to win out to do it. They can take comfort from the Giants winning the division last season with a 9-7 mark.

They will also be buoyed by the fact that divisions have recently been won with 8-8 and even 7-9 records. Neither is impossible, in an NFC East led by the 7-5 Giants, followed by the Redskins and Cowboys at 6-6.

However, running the table still remains the Redskins best hope of capturing the East. The way their offense is playing, they have a great chance of successfully navigating their remaining schedule and replicating  1999.