Redskins Football: For Washington, Losing to San Francisco Has Advantages

Ben GibsonSenior Analyst IDecember 29, 2008

Typically losing your last game of the season will leave a bitter taste in anyone's mouth.

Particularly when you held a double-digit lead and appeared to be on your way to posting consecutive winning seasons for the first time since the early 1990s.

Still, Washington Redskins fans may have actually won something from that loss.  A welcoming 2009 schedule that could have Jim Zorn and company in prime position to win the NFC East next season.

As you know, the NFL schedule reflects where you finished last season.  The better record means a harder schedule, something that has really seemed to hold Washington back from maintaining success after their sporadic playoff visits this decade.

If Washington had held on to beat the 49ers, their reward would have been the Seattle Seahawks and a trip to Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers.

Those are two teams that unexpectedly struggled and look to be in better shape going into next season.

With the loss, Washington is given instead the Detroit Lions and the St. Louis Rams, two teams in complete disarray and without head coaches.

Now I know what you're saying, Washington lost to St. Louis already, but I somehow think Jim Zorn will remember that too, and Washington will not fall into that same trap next season.

Certainly I am not trying to promote for Washington to throw away games, the NFL is simply too unpredictable to gaze into the future.

After all, who would have guessed that the Dolphins and Falcons would be two of the teams to fear in the upcoming playoffs a year ago?

Still, to all those Redskins fans that are still stinging from an 8-8 record after a meteoric 6-2 start, I propose that the sky is not quite as dreary as it may appear.

The Redskins 2009 schedule features the following games:

Home: Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, St. Louis Rams, Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs.

Away: The Eagles, Cowboys, Giants, Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders.

The potential is there for the Washington Redskins to post a solid record and return to the playoffs.  Of course it will come down to more than scheduling but the players themselves executing on game day.

This team will have to overcome injuries, age, and critics from the outside and within to show the mental resolve to not throw away games like St. Louis and Cincinnati in 2009.

For proof, look at the New York Jets who appeared in prime position to put away the AFC East crown before falling apart on the West Coast numerous times.

A schedule will not win you a championship but it sure can help.