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London Fletcher and the Redskins are in the same position they were a year ago: 3-6 after nine games. (AP)
The NFC East is the worst division in football. It’s terrible, actually.
These aren’t the words of a cynical sportswriter. They come right from the mouth of one of the game’s ageless stars.
Redskins linebacker London Fletcher, who’s in his 16th NFL season, admitted that the only reason his 3-6 team can’t be discounted from the postseason is because its three other division rivals aren’t anything to brag about.
“The great thing about this year is that the NFC East has been so terrible, so to speak,” he said. “You look at it, we’re at Week 10 and our leader is 5-5. So even at 3-6, we are conceivably still in this thing.”
The Redskins, who face the Eagles at the Linc on Sunday, are in the same position this year as they were one year ago. They started 3-6 last year but won their last seven to win the NFC East, a streak that started with a victory over the Eagles.
Fletcher called last year an “exception,” but noted that history seemed to be repeating.
“That’s one of the good things about it this year,” he said. “Every team has been so bad. Nobody has really been able to separate themselves. That’s good for us. That’s good for everybody. It’s gives us a chance.”
But, as Fletcher deadpanned, the NFC East is kind of awful. It’s the only division in football without a winning team. The Cowboys, despite all their talent, are just 5-5 and tied with the surging Eagles. The Giants somehow started 0-6 before winning three straight.
Still, even bad divisions eventually yield a playoff participant. Right now, Fletcher said, based on recent play, the Eagles are the team to beat.
“The Eagles are playing really good football right now,” he said. “They’re probably the top team in our division right now. The Cowboys really struggled the other night against the Saints (losing 49-17). Based off who’s hot right now, you’d probably have to go Eagles -- if I was to rank them.”
The Redskins could pull within a game of the division lead if they can beat the Eagles on Sunday and extend the Linc’s losing streak to 11 games. They reversed course last year by spoiling Nick Foles’ starting debut, toppling the Eagles 31-6 at FedEx Field to start their march from three games under .500 to their first playoff berth since 2007 and first division title since 1999.
They were early favorites to repeat as division champs but lost their first three games and four of their first five. They dropped the season opener at home to the Eagles, a humiliating 33-27 loss in Chip Kelly’s coaching debut.
“This is a different season, different Eagles team, different Redskins team,” said Fletcher, who’s gearing up for his 250th career game -- 21st all-time among NFL players who weren’t kickers or punters and second-most in league history by an inside linebacker.
“I know a lot of talk has been said about what we were able to accomplish last year and things like that. It’s one thing to have that experience, but it’s another thing to know that we still have to go out and win a ballgame Sunday. This is going to be a tough game.”