Redskins Try Again to Beat a Tough Team: Colts Have Won Nine in a Row

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INDIANAPOLIS - Although a victory won't earn a playoff spot, the Washington Redskins could gain some confidence for the postseason by beating the Indianapolis Colts today at the RCA Dome.

The Redskins will show whether they finally can beat a standout team or merely handle mediocre opponents. Indianapolis (11-2) can clinch the AFC East title making Washington its 10th straight victim. But a win would keep the Redskins (8-5) one game ahead of the Dallas Cowboys (7-6) and New York Giants (7-6) in the NFC East.

The Redskins haven't beaten a playoff contender this season, with the sweep of the Giants their only victories over a winning team. Washington is 0-4 against playoff contenders, losing twice to Dallas plus Buffalo and Detroit. If the Redskins are to win a game in their first postseason appearance since 1992, they have to handle top teams like the Colts.

"It's not so much the Colts but about doing some things to boost our confidence as we get prepared for the postseason," defensive end Marco Coleman said. "We can beat anybody we play if we don't make major mistakes."

Said defensive end Ndukwe Kalu: "The Colts look like the young Dallas Cowboys with Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin. If we can shut down an offense like this, we'll have a lot of confidence going into the playoffs."

The Redskins also need to develop the swagger of a first-place team that has been largely missing although they have led the weak NFC East for most of the season.

"[Players] were walking around like we're not in first place," receiver Michael Westbrook said. "You read the paper and get the feeling like we're not in first place. There's a lot of trash talk - what do they call it, the `NFC Least?' - and we're not that good. But we are in first place."

Coach Norv Turner expects a high-scoring shootout between offenses featuring the NFL's two leading rushers and two potential Pro Bowl quarterbacks.

"We're not going to stop Indianapolis," Turner said. "You have to hope to contain them. You get them inside the 20 and make them kick the field goal a couple times, get a turnover or two and limit their chances. You have to open it up and try to make plays. This is a team that scores a lot of points, and we better take some chances to stay in that type of game."

Washington's worst scenario is falling behind 14-0 in the first quarter inside a dome where the crowd noise can alter the game plan, with the deficit preventing NFL-leading rusher Stephen Davis from dominating the game. …