I think that everyone knows that if the Giants lose to the Packers on Sunday, the Redskins will be playing for the NFC East lead a week from Monday night when the G-men come to FedEx Field.
But what if the Giants win tomorrow? And suppose they do better than most expect during their tough finishing stretch, which includes back-to-back road games in Atlanta and Baltimore. Are the Redskins’ playoff hopes shot?
No, they are not thanks to some work they did earlier this season when it looked like the best they could hope for this season would be to match last year’s total of five wins. A wild card spot is very much in play if the Redskins can win four of their last five to finish at 9-7.
Here is the big picture: It looks like one of the two wild card berths will go to either the Packers or the Bears. They are both 7-3 and tied atop the NFC North. One likely will win the division, the other will get a wild card.
The Vikings, Bucs, and Seahawks are all tied for the second spot at 6-4. The Redskins are a game and a half behind them.
It is very possible that all three will lose on Sunday. Minnesota visits the Bears, Tampa Bay hosts the Falcons and Seattle makes the NFL’s longest road trip when they go to Miami. That would pull the Redskins within a game of the last wild card.
The leg up that the Redskins have is that they beat both the Bucs and the Vikings, giving them the tiebreaker edge.
If the Saints beat the 49ers they could join that group a game ahead of the Redskins. The Redskins, of course, earned the tiebreaker over New Orleans when they won the season opener.
There is a lot that has to go right there and much of it is not in the Redskins’ hands. Right now, there really isn’t much of a point in examining the other tiebreakers because there is a long way to go. But don’t despair if the Giants get hot and run and hide from the rest of the division. There is another path for the Redskins to keep playing into January for the first time in five years.
Judging by the small sample size that the NFL preseason has become it looks like the Redskins’ starting defense is ready to go for the start of the NFL season.
The Redskins’ opponents had six possessions with their staring quarterbacks in the lineup, which usually means that those teams had all of their healthy starters in the game. In those six possessions the Redskins’ opponents mustered 53 yards of total offense.
As far as the starting quarterbacks, the Redskins didn’t face anyone who is bound for Canton five years after retirement. But there wasn’t a Case Keenum in the group either. Tyrod Taylor, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Matt Ryan combined to complete six of 18 passes for 46 yards with no interceptions and no touchdowns. That comes to a combined passer rating of 42.4.
This is a major improvement over the 2015 preseason when starting quarterbacks were much sharper against the Redskins’ defense. Josh McCown, Matthew Stafford, and Joe Flacco completed 19 of 26 passes for 248 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. That’s a stellar passer rating of 128.4.
This year the other teams apparently wanted to get the QBs some work and didn’t run a lot. The Redskins gave up 36 rushing yards on eight attempts. That’s an average of 4.5 yards per attempt. Over a year that would be an improvement over last year (4.8 per carry) but still well above the league average (4.1).
It’s hard to overemphasize the small sample sizes involved here. It would be a mistake to draw any sweeping conclusions from a few dozen snaps. But among the goals of the preseason are to look competent and, as Jay Gruden said, create some “positive vibrations”. The Redskins defense can check the boxes next to both of those.
After days of speculation if Bryan Stork would actually end up in Washington, the former Patriots center clarified his next move via Twitter.
Redskins GM Scot McCloughan traded for Stork earlier this week after it became apparent New England intended to release the 2014 draft pick out of Florida State. It was unclear, however, if Stork would accept the trade to the 'Skins as he mulled retirement options.
MORE REDSKINS: WASHINGTON STARTS CUTS EARLY BEFORE DEADLINE
Stork has dealt with a number of concussions in his two-year NFL career. After playing in a Super Bowl as a rookie, his 2015 season was limited by head injuries.
Coming to the Redskins, Stork may have an opportunity to compete for playing time. Kory Lichtensteiger is installed as the starting center, but he struggled in the third preseason game against the Bills and was lost for much of the 2015 season to injury.
McCloughan has openly said he wants big, tough guys up front on the offensive line. Stork - at 6-foot-4 and 310 lbs. - with a documented nasty streak definitely fits that bill.
Whether or not Stork pushes Lichtensteiger for the starting spot - or even competes for the No. 2 center job with Spencer Long - the price for Stork is tough to argue. McCloughan gave up just a conditional seventh round pick to acquire the former New England starter.
The Redskins have started the process of trimming their roster to 75 players by the Tuesday deadline. The team announced that 10 players have been waived.
- T Al Bond
- T Cody Booth
- LB Shiro Davis
- LB Ejiro Ederaine
- CB Jeremy Harris
- LB Willie Jefferson
- WR Valdez Showers
- WR Dez Stewart
- WR Jarvis Turner
- RB Kelsey Young
The only surprise on the list is Jefferson, who was thought to have a chance at an outside linebacker spot. But apparently the coaches are going to let Houston Bates and Lynden Trail compete for that spot.
The Redskins had 88 players counting against the 90 player limit. So with the 10 players cut today they are a 78, leaving three moves to make before 4 p.m. on Tuesday.