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Breaking down the wild card picture

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Breaking down the wild card picture

The Redskins’ hopes for a division title took a hit (but not a fatal one) last night when the Giants smacked down the Packers 38-10. But the Redskins road to a wild card playoff spot was smoothed yesterday by the results in four games. That road is not a paved, four-lane highway, not even close to it, but it is in better shape than it was Sunday morning.

The Redskins are one of three NFC teams who are 5-6. Washington and the other two, the Saints and Cowboys, are a game behind the Bucs, Seahawks, and Vikings, who are all 6-5 and tied for the second and final wild card spot. Here is a look at those six teams:

Redskins (5-6, 5-4 in NFC)

Strengths: RG3 at quarterback, second in NFL in rushing yards
Weaknesses: 31st in passing yards allowed
Remaining games: Giants, Ravens, @ Browns, @ Eagles, Cowboys
Big question: Can they win three games in a row and four out of five for the first time since 2008?

Cowboys (5-6, 4-5 in NFC)

Strengths: Third in passing yards
Weaknesses: Minus-12 in turnover ratio (29th in NFL), 32nd in rushing yards
Remaining games: Eagles, @ Bengals, Steelers, Saints, @ Redskins
Big question: Will they continue to play at a lower level than the sum of their parts or will they put it together?

Saints (5-6, 3-4 in NFC)

Strengths: Drew Brees at quarterback, fifth in passing yards
Weaknesses: 
Last in total defense, rushing defense
Remaining games: @ Falcons, @ Giants, Bucs, @ Cowboys, Panthers
Big question: Can they outscore teams and dig out of their 0-4 start without Sean Peyton?

Vikings (6-5, 4-4 in NFC)

Strengths: Adrian Peterson and third-ranked rushing attack
Weaknesses: 30th in passing yards
Remaining games: @ Packers, Bears, @ Rams, @ Texans, Packers
Big question: Can they get Percy Harvin back from injury to provide an air threat the compliment Peterson’s ground prowess?

Bucs (6-5, 3-5 in NFC)

Strengths: First in NFL in rushing yards allowed
Weaknesses: Last in NFL in passing yards allowed
Remaining games: @ Broncos, Eagles, @ Saints, Rams, @ Falcons
Big question: Can Greg Schiano go from Rutgers to the NFL playoffs in one year?

Seahawks (6-5, 4-4 in NFC)

Strengths: Third in NFL in passing defense
Weaknesses: 31st in passing yards allowed
Remaining games: @ Bears, Cardinals, @ Bills, 49ers, Rams
Big question: Can they survive if starting cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner if they lose their drug suspension appeals?

--It looks like whoever gets to nine wins will be in good shape to at least be in the pool that would be decided by tiebreakers. The Redskins, Saints, and Cowboys would have to go 4-1 to get to nine wins and the other three just have to go 3-2.

--The Bucs, Cowboys, and Vikings are hurt by the fact that they have five NFC losses while the other three teams have four.

--The Redskins have an advantage in that they have beaten four of their five rivals for the wild card spot. They do not have the Seahawks on their schedule.

--The Packers now hold the first wild card spot with a 7-4 record (5-3 in the NFC). They bear watching but for right now it looks like they will get at least a wild card.

--There are too many games left to go through all of the possibilities. Besides the head to head games the contenders have left against each other the most important games are the conference games. The 5-6 teams probably can’t afford to lose any in-conference games, the 6-5 teams might survive losing one.

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Redskins name Bobby Beathard to Ring of Fame

Redskins name Bobby Beathard to Ring of Fame

RICHMOND—The Redskins are making one more key contributor to their glory years a member of the team’s Ring of Fame.

When the Redskins host the Vikings on November 13, a plaque with the name of Bobby Beathard will be unveiled during a halftime ceremony.

Beathard becomes the 49th member of the Ring of Fame.

“His resume is more than impressive,” said Redskins President Bruce Allen when making the announcement.

And indeed it is. Beathard served as the Redskins’ general manager from 1978-1989. Perhaps his single best move was hiring Joe Gibbs as the team’s head coach in 1981. Gibbs was an obscure offensive coordinator for the Chargers but Beathard saw something in him. In 12 seasons Gibbs took the Redskins to four Super Bowls, taking home three titles.

Beathard brought in talent to fit Gibbs’ philosophy. He brought in four of the offensive linemen who became the famed Hogs, drafting Mark May and Russ Grimm and signing Joe Jacoby and Jeff Bostic as free agents. Prior to Gibbs’ arrival Beathard drafted Hall of Fame wide receiver Art Monk and in 1983 he took another Canton enshrinee, cornerback Darrell Green.

In all, Beathard acquired 12 players who ended up in the Ring of Fame. It’s about time that he joined them.

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DeAngelo Hall working through transition to safety, will 'pick it up quickly'

DeAngelo Hall working through transition to safety, will 'pick it up quickly'

For the vast majority of his 12-year career, DeAngelo Hall lined up at cornerback. For many of those years, Hall was considered one of the best in the NFL. The former Virginia Tech Hokie made three Pro Bowls, his last in 2010, and has logged 43 interceptions in his career.

But now, like a lot of other players on the roster, Hall is working through training camp trying to learn his position. That position, of course, safety -- not the cornerback slot he played for a dozen years.

"I think he’s going through it," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said on Friday. "I think it’s a totally different perspective at safety than it is at corner for him."

MORE REDSKINS: HOW NORMAN IS TRYING TO HELP THE OFFENSE, TOO

Last season was the first the Redskins saw Hall line up at safety, and the results were promising. The position change also allows the veteran to elongate his career, using his ballhawk skills from the back of the field. Not to mention, Hall showed a willingness to look from big hits from the safety spot in 2015.

More from Jay Gruden:

He’s just got to learn to see the quarterback and get in the right position, get his eyes right and then just trust what he sees and break. I think he’ll do that. It’s just going to take some time. Whether he’s a half-field player, middle player, covering the tight end, covering somebody out in the slot, whatever it is, he’s just got to get comfortable with his landmarks, his positioning and his eyes. And the more reps that he gets – he got 25 good reps in team period yesterday, not to mention the one-on-ones and the walkthrough – the more comfortable he’s going to be. We expect D-Hall to pick it up quickly because he’s that type of guy. He’s very competitive, very smart and he’ll do fine.

He’s just got to learn to see the quarterback and get in the right position, get his eyes right and then just trust what he sees and break.  It’s just going to take some time.

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When it comes to Madden corners, there's Josh Norman, then everyone else

When it comes to Madden corners, there's Josh Norman, then everyone else

What do Chris Harris Jr., Richard Sherman, Patrick Peterson and Darrelle Revis have in common? They're all excellent NFL corners — and they all rank behind Josh Norman when it comes to ratings in Madden 17.

The Bronco (93 overall), the Seahawk (92), the Cardinal (91) and the Jet (91) should be proud of the grades handed to them for the next edition of the legendary video game. It's Norman, though, who's at the top of these top-notch defenders, checking in with a skillset that's good enough for a 94 in the eyes of EA Sports.

"Norman is expected to be a lock down corner for the Redskins this season," reads the description underneath Norman's name in a post ranking the elite cornerbacks that was published Thursday. "He is best in zone with his 97 zone coverage rating, but has the ability to match up in man to man situations with 90 speed and 92 man coverage."

These numbers are subject to change during the course of the season, so if No. 24 has a rough outing or two, he could tumble down a few points and give up the crown to someone else. As it stands now, however, Madden thinks he's the preeminent man at his position. 

And that's something Odell Beckham Jr. can't say.

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