Redskins can't afford to stumble

Redskins can't afford to stumble
October 23, 2011, 11:48 am
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Its a little to early to pull out the must-win label for a game, especially when that already was done here in Week 3, but their game against the Panthers is pretty important for the Redskins.If they win, they will be tied for first place with their win over the Giants giving them a leg up for the lead. If they lose and the Cowboys do the expected and beat the Bradford-less Rams at home, they will be tied for second with their loss to Dallas pushing them closer to third.But the standings are not the important thing right now. The important thing is momentum and opportunity.This will be the second week in a row that the Redskins have faced a one-win team. Now, the Eagles are not that bad; they won the NFC East last year. The Panthers are that bad. They are 3-19 since the start of last season.
The Redskins cant afford to lose back-to-back games to one-win teams. Not with games the next two weeks against 4-2 Buffalo in their second home of Toronto and against the 5-1 49ers at FedEx Field.Washington cant seem to put together a winning streak of more than two games. They havent since the first half of the 2008 seasons. You can still have a pretty good season without an extended winning streak as long as you dont have any losing streaks. But a loss to the Panthers would make two in a row and with the upcoming schedule three losses in four games or even a four-game skid would be in play.Its not a very long trip to Charlotte and its in the same time zone. There is no reason for the Redskins to come out playing anything less than their best. If they can pull out a win, they will at 4-2 after being 3-3 after six games in 2010. Although it is generally recognized that the Redskins have improved since last year, they need to have an improved record to prove it.Being 4-2 would give them a little breathing room over the next two weeks. Splitting against the Bills and Niners would be acceptable and even losing both would not be a disaster.So, assign this game whatever term you wantmust-win, vital, crucial, important. Or just say that if the Redskins want to show progress on the field they need to win this game.
Rich Tandler blogs about the Redskins at You can reach him by email at and follow him on Twitter @Rich_Tandler