This Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles should be enticing to the Redskins for a number of reasons. It's a prime time matchup on national television, obviously.
But it's also against the NFC East champions--and how often do you get a chance to play against the winner of a division before the regular season has even ended?
Of course, the Redskins are looking to pull off the upset against tthe 11-1 Eagles. In the Week 9 matchup between the two teams at Lincoln Financial Field, it was a close game until the fourth quarter when Philadelphia pulled away with two touchdowns to win 28-6.
But one play late in the game caught the Redskins' attention.
With 2:21 left in the game and the Eagles clearly in control of the game, backup quarterback Koy Detmer, facing a 3rd and 17 at the Washington 43-yard line, lofted a pass for wide receiver Greg Lewis that fell incomplete.
It was the type of play you file away.
In his infamous preseason decision in 2002 in Osaka, Japan, Steve Spurrier turned pass-happy in the mop-up phases of an exhibition win over the San Francisco 49ers.
That sequence may have cost the Redskins in Week 3 of the regular season when a fired up 49ers team turned back Washington 20-10.
For the Redskins, last Sunday's 31-7 win over the New York Giants was a positive step in more ways than one. It was the Redskins' first win (in four games) in the NFC East this season.
And it established a degree of momentum within the division, with games against Philadelphia and Dallas remaining.
In both last season and in 2002, the Redskins were 1-5 in the NFC East. They were 4-4 under Marty Schottenheimer in 2001, but two of those wins came against a struggling Arizona franchise. The Cardinals are no longer in the NFC East.
The Giants game was also a step forward for Patrick Ramsey. He was 19-of-22 for 174 yards, three touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 139.2.
Ramsey made his first start of the 2004 season in Week 9 against Philadelphia. He completed 21-of-34 passes for 162 yards with one interception.
The third-year player out of Tulane said he felt comfortable going up against the NFC East leaders, since he had prepared with the first team all week.
He'll have his second opportunity to shine against the Eagles on Sunday night in a prime time matchup.
"I would say this: sometimes your appreciation for a player is not in a game like this, it's when he goes to Philly and Pittsburgh and he played against two stellar defenses," head coach Joe Gibbs. "I was proud of Patrick in those two games--you could see he was handling the game. [Against the Giants], he took another step and made some big plays."
Ramsey said the experience and timing with his receivers should be improved since the first game with Philadelphia.
"I think we know we were in the game and we can take a little bit of confidence from that," Ramsey said. "But at the same time they were able to pull away at the end and we kind of faltered offensively.
"What we have to do is try to sustain what we were able to do early in that game. We have to keep ourselves in it and hopefully win the football game in the end."