Why one analyst thinks Washington is playoff-bound originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
It may seem unusual to hear so much talk about a 2-6 NFL team potentially making the postseason, but then again, 2020 is an unusual year. More importantly, the NFC East is an unusually poor division, meaning all four teams - despite records below .500 - are still in the hunt for January.
"I will take the Washington Football Team because the NFC East is too close to call," Mike Silver said on The Aftermath on NFL Network when picking teams not currently in the playoffs who could sneak in by the end of the year. "And that’s because it’s one of the worst divisions in memory. Garbage. Hot garbage. Yes, the Washington Football Team, now with Alex Smith taking over for Kyle Allen, who took over for Dwayne Haskins, is 2-6, and it doesn’t look great so far, but Ron Rivera is building something."
Silver doesn't have any illusions about Washington suddenly becoming an elite, Super Bowl-contending team. At least not in 2020. But in his eyes, that's not what matters to head coach Ron Rivera.
"He’s not so worried about the wins and losses right now as he tries to instill a winning culture, but trust me," Silver said. "He will infuse that team with a competitive edge. And it doesn’t take much. If they can get to 6-9 going into the final weekend, they are in the hunt. Too early to call."
Washington may or may not rally behind Alex Smith and play their way into a meaningful Week 17 game. But he is right about at least one thing. In the NFC East in 2020, it's too early to call any team out of the running just yet.