ASHBURN, Va. (AP) -A road win over the New York Giants in bad weather to the contrary, it's easy to make a list of reasons why the Washington Redskins have no business being in the playoff chase.
For starters, just look at the names of four of the top five top tacklers from the 22-10 victory: Reed Doughty, Khary Campbell, Leigh Torrence, Anthony Montgomery. Who are those guys?
And that 36-year-old quarterback? Todd Collins? He starts his first game in 10 years and completes only eight passes - yet still outperforms Eli Manning.
And was that rookie free agent Stephon Heyer playing right tackle and helping hold seven-time Pro Bowler Michael Strahan to no sacks and only one quarterback hurry?
For that matter, who would have thought that the Redskins would go turnover-free and look more comfortable in the swirling winds of Giants Stadium than the Giants themselves, who played as if they couldn't wait to get off the field and find a space heater?
And don't forget: This is a Redskins team that two weeks ago seemed finished after losing its fourth straight. A team that has blown five halftime leads. A team whose coach has been heavily criticized for his in-game decisions.
And, as no can forget, it is still a team grieving over the death of its best defensive player, Sean Taylor.
Yet the Redskins are 7-7, riding a two-game winning streak and very much in the mix. It's not hard to paint a realistic scenario in which they win out and snatch the No. 5 seed in the NFC. Then again, it could all be mathematically over Sunday night after their game at Minnesota.
``To go through what we've gone through this season,'' center Casey Rabach said, ``with injuries and Sean's situation and losing close games and giving games away, it speaks a lot of the kind of guys we've got on this team to never give up and keep on playing.''
It takes a while to calculate all the permutations, but the Redskins essentially need to win their final two games - and get a little help - to make the postseason for the second time in three years. Redskins fans should be rooting for New Orleans to lose to either Philadelphia or Chicago, or for the Giants to lose to both Buffalo and New England.
``It certainly helps when you come to work and you've got something to come to work for,'' coach Joe Gibbs said. ``You've still got a chance to make the playoffs. It's a big deal. It's motivation. You go to work, and if you get a bonus, you're excited about going to work. If you don't, you're not that excited.''
They'll have to make do without weakside linebacker Rocky McIntosh, who tore two knee ligaments against the Giants and is out for the year. Cornerback Carlos Rogers had the same injury earlier this year. Quarterback Jason Campbell won't play again in the regular season because of a knee injury.
But, while Gibbs might no longer be a master of managing a game on Sunday, he's still a strong leader during the rest of the week. His best attribute as a coach could be that his players never seem to give up.
Two years ago, a 5-6 Redskins team put together five straight must-wins to make the playoffs. This year, they're halfway through a set of four must-wins.
``It sort of feels the same as it did that year,'' defensive end Phillip Daniels. ``In times like this, when your back's against the wall, it brings the team together a little bit more.''

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