The Washington Redskins have 16 days to turn around their season.
Beating Philadelphia on Sunday followed by Dallas on Nov. 22 and the New York Giants on Dec. 3 would raise Washington to 6-6 overall and 3-1 in the NFC East -- a division filled with mediocre teams. But it's all-or-nothing just like late-season wild-card runs in 2005 and 2007 because even going 2-1 won't help.
Chances seem better now than they did earlier. Philadelphia (3-6) has lost five straight and probably won't play quarterback Michael Vick on Sunday at FedEx Field. New York (6-4) has lost its last two. Dallas (4-5) is the only division team to win its last game, but the Cowboys are nobody's heroes this season.
Phew -- the NFC East stinks like a methane factory running triple shifts.
But the Redskins have a few quick decisions after returning from their bye. Quarterback Robert Griffin III needs to go back to being RGIII. Maybe it was a little more dangerous, but since tapering Griffin's option runs soon after his concussion against Atlanta on Oct. 7, the offense has been stoned. A once unstoppable force scored 25 combined points in its last two games.
It's not defensive coordinators figuring out the Redskins. Washington's not looking for downfield receivers as often and running too many gadget plays. Let Griffin be himself and create on the field. Just hope he ducks better against linebackers.
Figure out receiver Pierre Garcon's injury. Either he plays this week or place him on injured reserve already. Losing the top free agent addition to a freak foot injury is poor luck, but making this receiving corps more productive is paramount.
If Garcon is gone, promote Santana Moss to starter. He's truly the best playmaker, though Joshua Morgan is finally emerging. Forget the others and tight end Logan Paulsen, too. They're extras behind Moss and Morgan.
Be more consistent with running back Alfred Morris. There are times he practically disappears when offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan gets streaky with calling pass plays. Morris can carry the offense in the second half of games if Washington isn't trailing greatly.
Get safety Brandon Meriweather on the field if possible, even if he's not 100 percent. The secondary is desperate. Since the pass rush seems nonexistent lately, bolster the secondary as much as possible. Division rivals are better passing than running teams. Try to match their strength. And next season, consider switching back to the 4-3. Admit the mistake already.
Put cornerback DeAngelo Hall on the best opposing receiver. Maybe Hall's not a Pro Bowler anymore, but he's still better than Josh Wilson. Go down with your best corner.
Finally, act like a team that's still in the playoff picture. Former coach Joe Gibbs was never misunderstood when prospects seemed slim. There's always a chance for the postseason, especially if the Redskins can sweep the next three games.