The 2012 season enters December game play with the 5-6 Redskins still alive as a playoff contender. Will Monday's game against the NY Giants "make or break" their chances of post-season play?
Of course the season isn't over after Week 13—but for all intents and purposes, if they lose to the Giants Monday night, their chances of making the playoffs are close to zero. As a lifelong 'Skins fan, I know the tide of momentum and support by the fans drops significantly when the media declare the 'Skins out of playoff contention.
The 'Skins may statistically still have a chance if all of the wild-card and "on the bubble" teams lose the remaining games on their schedule. But let's get real. If they lose to the Giants, they're done.
It might very well be time to begin looking toward 2013 and assembling a wish list for next year's draft.
I hate to be a realist and shutter to think that it could be the end of the season. There is still a month of exciting football with some important games remaining. Yet again, with a loss, there's another missed opportunity to make the playoffs, and 'Skins fans find other things to do on Sunday afternoons in December.
Growing up and living in the Washington, DC suburbs for more than 30 years, I know all too well how it plays out. It's depressing, and it's colder in December when the Skins aren't in the hunt for the playoffs.
When they still have a chance at the playoffs, even a slight chance, a true Skins fan will forego everything until the Sunday game is over. I've been there and remember all too well those Sunday afternoons in December where the season rests on the outcome of each game.
The "must-win" scenario is played out. The pregame show presents a chart that is hard to understand or even comprehend. I recall cheering for a team to lose so we, the 'Skins, can still be in the hunt. It's hard being a true fanatic, yet I love it.
The disappointment felt when they lose is like that moment of clarity that my Powerball tickets are not winners. I say to myself, "Oh, well. Maybe next time." Then I rip up my ticket and mutter something along the lines of how I just wasted money, but next time I need to buy more, etc.
I don't want to rip up my tickets, yet. I want to hold on to them and think they may have a different drawing next week, and my tickets are still good until someone tells me differently.
Until that moment comes along and I look at the final score of the Redskins game on Monday night, I will continue to believe in the Redskins.
The Redskins host the Giants on Monday Night Football at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.