Redskins convinced they can 'do something special'

DALLAS – This much is clear when it comes to the Washington Redskins: They’re playing with confidence, feel they can surprise people in the postseason and couldn’t care less what anyone thinks of how they reached the postseason.

And they’re right: They should feel good about how they’re playing and they shouldn’t care about the perception of the NFC East. The truth is, the division was bad this year with the Redskins winning it with a 9-7 record, two games ahead of second-place Philadelphia.

But the bad play is more on the other teams in the division, not Washington. There are certain truths when it comes to the Redskins. They’ve won four in a row, including three straight on the road. They’ve won six of their last eight games. They improved by five games over 2014.

And they went 1-4 against teams that finished .500 or better; 0-3 against teams that had a winning record and 0-2 against teams in the playoffs. They can’t escape these numbers; they’re just facts. But what the Redskins did do was beat the teams they should – and when they needed to most. It also doesn’t mean they can’t beat a winning team, just that they have yet to do so.

Green Bay (10-6) represents another chance in the first round of the playoffs. The Redskins enter with more momentum and, probably, more confidence than the Packers – and playing at home will make a big difference. The Redskins spent the last quarter of the season slaying other demons – road wins, consecutive wins – so this is a chance to check off another box on their to-do list.

“We’ve been doubted ever since I’ve been here,” Redskins left tackle Trent Williams said. “Since I put this helmet on, people have always found ways to doubt us. That doesn’t matter. It’s going to come with the territory. All that matters is us and how we play in the playoffs.”

Of course, doubts tend to accompany teams who have mostly struggled in recent years. Since 2010, the Redskins have lost double-digit games four times – but in the other two seasons, including 2012, they won the NFC East.

But the Redskins feel good because their offense is playing at a high level, having surpassed 30 points in three straight games, thanks to excellent weapons in the passing game and quarterback Kirk Cousins’ ability to find them. It doesn’t matter who you play or what their record is, 23 touchdowns and three interceptions over a 10-game span, as Cousins has done, is tough to beat. Cousins’ confidence is skying; more importantly, his teammates’ confidence in him might be even higher. They’re also showing a lot of belief in their own play.

“We’re not going to be just happy to be here,” Redskins linebacker Will Compton said. “We have a lot of good leadership in this locker room. We want to get what we think we’re worth and that’s a championship.”

That’s heady talk for a team one year removed from a four-win season – and two years from a three-win campaign. But it’s where they’re at these days. It’s not a place they arrive at often, having last been here in 2012.

“We still have that same hunger and drive,” Redskins running back Alfred Morris said. “Everyone counted us out at the beginning of the season even now. It doesn’t matter. We know what we’re capable of doing and we have a lot of weapons and we have the ability of doing something special in this postseason.”