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Munsoned (v.) - to be up a creek without a paddle; to have the whole world in the palm of your hand and blow it.

Cowherded (v.) - to be the victim of outrageously flawed, woefully misguided, and entirely illogical predictions.

He did it again.

Forget about being Munsoned - the Redskins just got Cowherded.

Last pre-season, I rightfully lambasted one of my favorite ESPN radio personalities for his prediction that the Redskins would once again occupy the NFC East cellar. A year ago, Colin Cowherd confidently proclaimed that the Giants and Cowboys would be juggernauts and dominate the NFC East, while even the lowly Eagles would outshine the hapless Redskins.

I can forgive him his 2012 transgressions. Prior to last season's start, the Redskins were at best a book half-written. Many were questioning whether a returning Mike Shanahan, like Joe Gibbs before him, had what it took to succeed in the modern NFL the 2nd time around. Even die-hard Redskins fans openly questioned Jim Haslett's leadership, and a lynch mob was already in waiting for Special Teams coach Danny Smith. The Redskins had just given up a king's ransom for the rights to pick the latest draft wunderkind, Baylor star Robert Griffin III. Sure there were many who saw him as a can't-miss franchise quarterback, a guaranteed future game changer for the Skins. But one never knows whether such prognostications will pan out. Cowherd wasn't yet a believer. In retrospect, I can understand the skepticism. But he was wrong.

Fast forward to today. The Redskins are a different team. RG3 is clearly the real deal, the NFL Rookie of the Year for 2012, having surpassed even the most optimistic expectations. Fellow rookie, 6th round selection Albert Morris, has in one short season become one of the most feared and consistent running backs in the league. The Redskins, faced with playoff elimination just midway through the 2012 campaign, stiffened their resolve and rattled off 7 straight regular season wins to clinch the NFC East title and a playoff berth. Only a hobbled Griffin kept them from advancing who knows how far in the 2012 playoffs. And they achieved this by dominating a conference that, according to Cowherd, should've been owned by the vaunted Giants and Cowboys.

Apparently those accomplishments failed to impress Colin Cowherd.

In his 2013 pre-season predictions, he ranks the Redskins 8th in the NFC hierarchy. Perhaps most disturbingly, Cowherd ranks this year's Redskins squad right behind both the Giants and the Cowboys.

Yep. We got Cowherded.

Forgoing the obligatory shrill outcry over the injustice of it all, I have to ask - how in the hell do you make that prediction?

Eli Manning. Yeah - we know. He's a pretty good quarterback. And the Giants are just 18 months removed from their last Super Bowl win. Add in a damn good coach in Tom Coughlin, and the G-men always deserve respect. Consider it given.

Dallas? Well there's no explaining Dallas now, is there? The man love the Cowboys receive from sports media types is as inexplicable as Donald Trump's comb over. It doesn't matter how badly they play, how frequently they choke when it matters most, or how many times Tony Romo loses bladder control in critical situations, just being the Cowboys is enough to earn them the division title. I've given up trying to understand it.

I guess the Redskins are making progress though Mr. Cowherd - at least you didn't rank them behind Philadelphia this year, although we narrowly edged out the Panthers for that vaunted 8th spot.

We all know, pre-season prognostications are really exercises in futility, whether the fans are making them, or genius radio talking heads are tossing predictions at the wall. But if you're going to go to the trouble of making them, have some sound logic behind them.

The Redskins are on the rise. They've gotten better, significantly better, since their early exit from the playoffs last season. Despite ridiculous cap penalties imposed by Roger Goodell and his soulmate Mara, the Redskins made the best of limited draft picks to shore up a glaringly weak secondary with the additions of David Amerson, Phillip Thomas, and Bacarri Rambo. If Chase Minnifield (a 1st round talent out of Virginia who was sidelined last year after micro-fracture surgery) can stay healthy, the Redskins defensive backfield may be exponentially improved. Couple those additions with the return of a healthy Brian Orakpo, and two of the best linebackers in the league in Ryan Kerrigan and London Fletcher, and the Redskins defense could be surprisingly stingy in 2013.

Offense? Do we really even need to talk about it? Sure - the naysayers will proclaim 2013 a wash for the Redskins, with a hobbled post-surgery RG3 a mere shadow of his former self. Problem is, all indications are that Griffin will pick up right where he left off, picking apart opposing defenses as one of the most accurate passers in the NFL. The Redskins are improved in the receiving corps as well. Timeless Santana Moss looks as capable as ever. Pierre Garcon finally appears to be healthy and is a legitimate #1 WR when not hobbled. Add in Leonard Hankerson (in a make or break season), the workmanlike Logan Paulsen, Josh Morgan, Sleepy Fred Davis, diamond-in-the-rough rookie TE Jordan Reed, and a few other talented youngsters, and Griffin will have more success through the air in 2013, not less. If teams want to stop the Redskins powerful passing attack, they'll take a beating at the hands of Alfred Morris, Roy Helu, Evan Royster, and Darrel Young. Opponents can pick their poison, but they won't stop the Redskins offense.

On Special Teams, the Redskins are still looking for an electrifying return game. The good news is, the Brandon Banks experiment is finally over and Mighty Mouse will never squeak his way out of the a sure touchback again. In Kai Forbath, the Redskins have the surest kicker in 20 years. If nothing else, the arrival of Keith Burns as the Redskins new Special Teams coach offers promise and the possibility of improvement in this area as well.

I'm a fan. I'm not all that bright. And in the interest of transparency, have not studied with laser focus the off-season moves of the Dallas Cowboys or the New York Giants. I don't know if they're better or worse than their 2012 renditions. But I know my team. And for the first time in a long time, I enter a new season with a level of confidence I haven't felt since Joe Gibb's first tenure. The 2013 Redskins will be a good team. A very good team. They've got great coaching. They've got continuity. They've got toughness and resolve. They've got speed and talent. But most of all, they believe. You don't reel off 7 must-win victories in a row without belief. Last year's NFC East Champions (you know who they were, right Colin?) are going to be even better in 2013. My Redskins are going to be significantly improved on defense and scary good on offense. They'll beat the Giants. They'll beat the Cowboys. They'll crush the Eagles. They'll win the NFC East again. And with a healthy post-season RG3, they'll win the NFC Championship game.

I still love ya Colin, even though we got Cowherded again. It doesn't bother me at all. I consider it a good omen :)
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