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Players focus on Redskins, not playoffs

Posted Dec 15, 2012

The Browns have put their focus squarely on the Washington Redskins, not the postseason.

At 5-8, the Cleveland Browns find themselves ninth in the standings in the AFC. However, with one game left against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Steelers still having to play the Cincinnati Bengals, the Browns are mathematically alive in the hunt for a postseason berth.

Despite the various scenarios that could play out with three weeks remaining in the regular season, the Browns have put on the proverbial “blinders” and placed their focus squarely on handling their business, starting with Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins.

“For any chance that we have to go to the playoffs, any chance either one of us has to go to playoffs, we have to win,” Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden said. “That’s pretty much it for most teams in the league at this point. We’ve got to worry about this one first and move onto the rest afterwards.

“You’ve just got to take it week-by-week. You start putting the cart before the horse with the amount of football that’s left to play. It could sneak up and bite you. We’re playing the Washington Redskins and this is the most important game of the year so far.”

This week, the Browns will play a Redskins team that is 7-6 and currently tied with the Dallas Cowboys for second place in the NFC East Division. The Redskins and Cowboys are only one game out of a first-place tie with the New York Giants (8-5).

“This last little piece is the final playoff push for everybody,” Weeden said. “You have a little extra energy. You’re playing for something special; every team’s playing for something special. That’s going to make it fun to go about it. Whether a team has a chance to knock a team out of the playoff race or a team can jump into a playoff race, there’s a lot at stake. There’s a lot to play for, so that adds a little incentive.”

Rookie running back Trent Richardson knows both teams will come to Cleveland Browns Stadium hungry for a win to stay in the playoff race, but his approach has not changed during practice this week.

“I know I’m going to do all I can to just try to win every game,” Richardson said. “People want to talk about the playoffs. I think it’s a little too early to be speaking on that. We’ve got to win every game to even try to get in the train of thought. I just tell the guys you’ve got to fight one play at a time and play one game at a time. We’ve got to play this game here like it’s our last. We can’t think about the playoffs because when you think about the playoffs, you’re thinking before time. If you think way before then, you lose one game and then, you’re out of it.”

Weeden was quick to agree with Richardson’s opinion heading into Sunday.

“If we were to go to the playoffs, the magnitude it would mean (a lot) to the city,” Weeden said. “The magnitude it would be for these fans and this locker room, it gives you a little extra something to strive for and makes you focus in and prepare well throughout the week. That’s really the mindset. We have four days of preparation to get better and go out and play on Sunday. However it all falls, we can only control winning.”

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