ASHBURN, Va. - History would appear to be on the side of the Washington Redskins.
As Washington prepares to kick off its second round of NFC East opponents with a 1 p.m. clash against the New York Giants today at FedEx Field, the Redskins are faced with the possibility of completing a season without a win against a divisional foe.
The Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles and Giants have beaten Washington by a combined 83-44, and after today, the Redskins travel to Philadelphia next week before welcoming Dallas in the regular-season finale in three weeks.
If there is a glimmer of hope, it is that Washington has gone winless in its division only once in the past 30 years.
That was in 1994 during Norv Turner's first season as Redskins coach. The team was 3-13, and the NFC East - which included the Arizona Cardinals - pummeled Washington by a combined 188-118.
"It's a division game, and we haven't won one of those yet," said wide receiver Chris Doering, in his first season with the Redskins. "I think the guys in this room have a lot of pride. We're going to come out and prove to the fans that we haven't given up on the season."
That would be easy to do since Washington's fading hopes for a playoff berth grew even dimmer after the 27-20 Thanksgiving Day loss to the Cowboys. The Redskins (5-7) still have a mathematical shot at reaching their first postseason since 1999, but need plenty of assistance - most of it unlikely - from the Eagles, Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints.
Today's opponent also has a shot at the playoffs. New York (6-6) has a defense ranked eighth in the league and an offense ranked 11th, but the team slipped in consecutive losses to the expansion Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans the past two weeks.
Kerry Collins leads all NFC quarterbacks in passing yardage with 3,049, running back Tiki Barber is No. 1 in yards from scrimmage with 1,402, and wide receiver Amani Toomer is seventh in receiving yardage with 923, but the Giants are averaging just 16.8 points.
And, as banged up as the Redskins' defense is without middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter (torn anterior cruciate ligament) and defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson (torn calf muscle), New York has even larger injury issues on defense.
Starting cornerback Will Allen (shoulder) is out, linebacker Dhani Jones (ankle) likely won't play and linebacker Mike Barrow and cornerback William Peterson have a 50 percent chance of playing, as both are recovering from concussions.
New York also needs help to play in January, but Collins said the mood in the locker room is upbeat.
"Anything's possible," he said. "Obviously, we're in a big hole and a lot of things are going to have to happen. ... I expect our guys to be ready."
The Redskins have had 10 days to prepare for today's game. Besides inserting linebacker Kevin Mitchell and defensive tackle Carl Powell into the lineup, there are no major changes.
But coach Steve Spurrier continued to say that young players like quarterback Patrick Ramsey, running back Ladell Betts, and wide receiver Darnerien McCants could get extended playing time today.
Spurrier, however, isn't ready to throw in the towel just yet - even if that doesn't include a playoff bid.
"There's a lot to play for," he said. "It's a ballgame. It's on TV. We're trying to win one. Winning beats losing.