Redskins Hope to Follow the Raiders Home : Pro football: Washington will try to boost its playoff hopes against L.A. today, with an eye to Pasadena.


The Raiders have traveled coast to coast to wrap up their season today in Washington.

Washington would love nothing better than to go coast to coast to wrap up its season in Los Angeles.

That would be five weeks from Sunday at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, site of Super Bowl XXVII.

But there is a lot of football ahead before the defending Super Bowl champion Redskins can think of repeating.

It all starts today at 1 p.m. (PST) at RFK Stadium.

If Washington (9-6) doesn't beat the Raiders (6-9) this afternoon, the Redskins' dreams of back-to-back titles might end right here before the opening kickoff of the playoffs.

Even a victory doesn't guarantee Washington a playoff berth. The Redskins won't know anything for sure until Sunday.

Here's the tricky scenario:

--If Washington wins and the Green Bay Packers (also 9-6) lose Sunday to the Minnesota Vikings, Washington gets the final NFC wild-card spot.

--If Washington loses and Green Bay wins, the Packers are the last wild-card team.

--If both Washington and Green Bay win, the Packers' only hope is for the Philadelphia Eagles to lose to the New York Giants. That would create a three-way tie between Washington, Green Bay and Philadelphia at 10-6 that would eliminate Washington on the basis of conference record.

No such confusion exists for the Raiders. Win or lose, they go home tonight to ponder a frustrating, disappointing season.

With free agency on the horizon, this figures to be the last appearance in silver and black for several players.

"We have one more football game to play," said quarterback Jay Schroeder, who will be eligible for free agency if the proposed labor agreement is approved, "then we'll see what happens.

"We've been struggling as a team, but it would be something to take a win like this into the off-season."

Schroeder hopes to play today despite a bruised right shoulder. He was hurt at the end of the first half of last Sunday's game against the San Diego Chargers and gave way to Vince Evans when the shoulder didn't respond.

Schroeder has worked hard in practice this week to persuade Coach Art Shell that he can play today.


Why risk further injury by playing in a hostile stadium on a frigid field against a team that probably will be at an emotional high in a game that means nothing for the Raiders?

"I just don't like missing football games," Schroeder said.

This figures to be an emotional game for him as well. It will mark his first appearance in RFK Stadium since he left Washington in 1988 after four years as a Redskin.

"It's going to be fun," Schroeder said. "I've got a lot of great memories there. I played for a lot of great teams. Hopefully, I will not go to the wrong sideline."

The emotions should be flowing on the Raider sideline. Running back Marcus Allen will almost certainly be playing his final game with the team after 11 seasons as a Raider. Defensive lineman Bob Golic might be spending his final afternoon in the NFL after 14 years in the league.

Allen, his long-running feud with owner Al Davis out in the open, will be in his season-long role as a specialty back today. But Shell might give Allen some added playing time if game circumstances allow.

Golic, 35, has been inactive for six weeks. His emotions got the best of him at the end of last week's home finale. After the game, Golic wandered the Coliseum field, lamenting the imminent end of his career.

Davis, spotting his agonizing lineman, promised to get Golic some playing time today.

Not playing as much today will be tailback Eric Dickerson, who will surrender his starting role to Nick Bell.

Bell, a second-year back, has only 60 carries this season. So Shell has decided to give him a long look this afternoon.

"It's got nothing to do with him (Dickerson)," Shell said. "He has handled himself as a professional. He's worked his butt off and run very hard. And when given the opportunity to make plays, he's made them."

The Raiders might not get many opportunities today at RFK, where Washington is 6-1.

But despite the home record, it has been a tough year for the Redskins, whose Super Bowl glow faded quickly when quarterback Mark Rypien held out for the first four weeks of the preseason.

Rypien never seemed to regain his form. It didn't help that injuries decimated Washington's offensive line.

Rypien came into this season as the second-leading active passer in the NFL with a quarterback rating of 88.5. He threw a personal-best 28 touchdown passes last season and only 11 interceptions, capping the year by being voted the Super Bowl's MVP.

This season, those initials would stand for Mysteriously Vanished Passer.

Rypien has nearly dropped off the charts, his 70.8 rating the lowest among NFC starters. Rypien has only 12 touchdown passes and a personal-worst 17 interceptions.

"Things don't always go the way you want them to," Rypien said. "And because of that, they're going to look back to the holdout. It's been a year that, heart-wise and in terms of playing my guts out, I feel very good about. But, for whatever reason, I haven't played as smart and been as productive as I've been in the past."

But if he can beat the Raiders, beat out the Packers and get on that coast-to-coast road to the Super Bowl, all will be forgiven and forgotten.

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