As soft as it gets
Reading off the St. Louis Rams, Detroit Lions, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Carolina Panthers and Kansas City Chiefs, fans of the Washington Redskins spotted a few winnable games. Going into the season, the team’s first-half schedule looked a tad soft. What wasn’t known was how soft. Now the truth is out. It’s marshmallow soft. Three-ply soft. Historically soft.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no NFL team has played five straight winless teams after its opener (when everybody is winless). But it will happen if the Redskins’ opponent next week, Kansas City, loses at home to Dallas on Sunday.
If the Chiefs roll over again, the combined record of the teams when the Redskins played them will be 0-14. Overall, the Fab Five is 1-18, and four of them are big underdogs Sunday (Carolina is favored over the Redskins). And there’s no need to mention that one win came when Detroit beat the Redskins two weeks ago.
As colleague Dan Daly pointed out, most of the winless teams aren’t just having a bad year. They are, he said, “hopelessly winless.” Entering their games with the Redskins, the Lions, of course, carried 19 straight losses. The Rams had lost 11 in a row, the Bucs seven straight. The Chiefs are looking at nine successive losses and 16 in their last 17 games (what, no Cleveland Browns? The league should investigate).
And even though the Panthers went 12-4 last year, let’s not underestimate their current badness. They have been outscored 87-37. Quarterback Jake Delhomme has the NFL’s worst passer rating. The defense is yielding 183 rushing yards a game, dead last in the league.
Yet Carolina is favored Sunday because the Redskins have not played a solid, complete game. They still have a chance to take advantage of their Division I-AA schedule, but the big problem could be later, when they start tangling with the big boys. Distressing as it sounds, these might be the good old days.
HE SAID WHAT?
“It’s like he got all A’s on his report card [and] now he’s going to the black hole.”
- Jets linebacker Bart Scott after Jason Trusnik went to Cleveland as part of the Braylon Edwards deal, two weeks after being named special teams player of the week