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Bold Predictions Part 1: Myth Busting

Bold Predictions Part 1: Myth Busting

Bold Predictions, Part 1: Myth Busting

There are a lot of myths floating around out there surrounding Sunday’s game. Since you can only break down a game if you’re looking at the facts, not at popular misconceptions, here are a few of those myths and where they fall apart:

Myth #1: The Cowboys dominated for the first 55 minutes the first time the two teams played.

The Facts: Dallas led just 3-0 after 30 minutes of play. At that time, they had gained 105 yards, 42 of them on their opening drive that resulted in a missed field goal. The Redskins had gained 84 yards. Certainly advantage Dallas, but nothing remotely resembling domination. Early in the third quarter, the statistical tide turned when the Cowboys scored on a trick play, the flea flicker with Bledsoe to Jones to Bledsoe to Glenn for a 70-yard touchdown. When the Redskins took possession with 5:58 to play following a Cowboy field goal to make it 13-0, Dallas had outgained the Redskins 282-178. A solid advantage, one that pretty well reflected the 13-0 score. That’s hardly anyone’s definition of domination, however, especially considering that a fourth of Dallas’ yards had come on one trick play.

Myth #2: The Redskins were lucky to win the last time the two teams played.

The Facts: Regardless of whatever supposed domination did or did not take place beforehand, I’m not exactly sure how you can say that the Brunell’s two touchdown passes to Moss were lucky or flukes or anything other than well-designed, well-executed football plays. The Redskins took advantage of the fact that safety Roy Williams isn’t very good in pass coverage. On its lone touchdown, Dallas took advantage of the fact that Sean Taylor likes to support against the run. Why to many the Redskins’ passes were somehow tainted and Dallas’ was just smart football I can’t figure out.

Myth #3: The Redskins won’t be able to run against the Dallas defense.

The Facts: The Cowboys went nuts in free agency and in the draft to try to shore up their defensive front seven. The conventional wisdom is that this was a wise investment and it may prove to be, but the results just aren’t showing this year. They are giving up an average of 4.4 yards per carry. That’s a worse performance than all but four NFL teams. It’s worse than Arizona, worse than Chicago, worse than Tampa Bay, worse than San Francisco, all teams that Clinton Portis gained over 100 yards against. Yes he gained just 57 yards the last time the two teams played, but if you give me that as the over-under for this week I’ll bet the ranch on the over.

Myth #4: Parcells owns Gibbs

The Facts:  Parcells has a 13-7 advantage over Gibbs lifetime. That’s a pretty shaky definition of “ownership” if you ask me. Besides, what happened in the 1980’s is of dubious relevance today. The more relevant stat is 14-13, what Gibbs’ team beat Parcells’ team by in September.

None of the above should be interpreted as putting down the Cowboys. They are a good team and will be an extremely tough opponent on Sunday. But Dallas does not need to be over-hyped and Redskins fans don’t have to blow them up to point where they think that even staying on the field with them is an impossible task.

Tomorrow, the prediction.

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Enemy Intel: Sunday games have playoff implications galore for Redskins

Enemy Intel: Sunday games have playoff implications galore for Redskins

As the Cowboys take their long week off after consecutive Thursday games the Redskins, Giants, Eagles, and other wild card contenders are in action. Here is Tandler’s weekly Redskins-centric spin around the NFL.

—The Giants are on a six-game winning streak and while that’s not easy to do against any level of competition it needs to be pointed out that their slate was squishy-soft with the last five wins coming against teams that currently have losing records. Now things get real with a trip to play the Steelers and a home date against the Cowboys. I’m not really sure how good the Giants are but if they split these two games I’ll be more impressed with them than I am now.

—The 5-6 Eagles travel to play the Bengals, who are just about out of contention for a sixth straight playoff appearance at 3-7-1. In fact, the Eagles might be just about out of it, too. Their big problem is 3-6 conference record, which puts them behind several other wild card contenders in this tiebreaker. It’s important because that is the second tiebreaker behind head to head. It’s better for the Redskins if the Bengals win but it probably won’t matter much. The consensus in Philadelphia seems to be that the Eagles are a rebuilding team that got off to a hot start, kindling some unrealistic hopes and expectations for the rest of 2016.

—The team is the hottest pursuit of the Redskins is the Buccaneers, who travel to San Diego to play a game that starts at the same time as Washington-Arizona. The Chargers are 5-6 but they are buried in last in the tough AFC West. This game is a coin flip. Redskins fans should root for the Chargers. If the Bucs lose, the Redskins would still hold the second wild card at the end of the day even if they should lose to the Cardinals.

—The 5-6 Saints are on the fringes of the wild card picture. They host the Lions, who are leading the NFC North by a game and a half over the Vikings and two games over the Packers. It’s probably best if the Lions win, which would just about eliminate the Saints. Still, there is a scenario where the Lions go into a minor tailspin, lose the division to either the Packers or Vikings but have a good enough record to take the second wild card. So like with most games within the NFC until the dust settles some more, there is some upside and some downside no matter which team wins.

—That scenario where the Lions fade from the division lead become a whole lot less likely if the Texans can go to Green Bay and beat the Packers. This is an interconference game so it’s an easy call to pull for Houston.

—Seattle, with a three-game lead in the NFC West, hosts the Panthers, who are on the outer fringe of the wild card race at 4-7. Another loss likely would ensure that Carolina won’t be able to defend its NFC title. This isn’t a pivotal game but probably better if the Seahawks win to end it for the wounded but potentially dangerous Panthers.

—My one loss last week was the Seahawks giving 5.5 on the road to the Bucs. I won with the Saints over the Rams and the Falcons over the Cardinals. This week I’m giving the Seahawks another go, giving 7 to the Panthers, and I’m taking the Patriots -13.5 against the Rams (the loss of Gronk doesn’t do much to equalize these teams) and the Saints giving 6 to the Lions.

MORE REDSKINS: Betting on the Redskins' playoff chances

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Need to Know: Betting on the Redskins' playoff race outcomes

Need to Know: Betting on the Redskins' playoff race outcomes

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, December 3, one day before the Washington Redskins play the Arizona Cardinals.

Timeline

Today's schedule: No availability

Days until: Redskins @ Eagles 8; Panthers @ Redskins 16; Redskins @ Bears Christmas Eve 21

Injuries of note:
Out:
TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), DE Anthony Lanier (leg)
Questionable: G Brandon Scherff (ankle), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), Bashaud Breeland (ankle), LS Nick Sundberg (back)
Final injury report

Redskins vs. Cardinals
FOX, Sunday, 4:25 p.m., Dick Stockton and Chris Spielman
Line: Cardinals -2.5

Resetting the playoff odds

The Redskins start their stretch drive to the playoffs tomorrow. The will play five games in 29 days. After that, they will have either earned the right to keep playing or will they go home.

Let’s get out the imaginary $100 in casino chips and look at the various possibilities of the finish to the season and spread out the chips based on how likely each scenario is. As always, you are welcome to jump into the comments if you agree or disagree.

Win NFC East, $0—This might be worth a buck or two but this place doesn’t have any chips smaller than $5 and it’s not worth investing even that much in the chance of this happening. The scenario would have to be the Redskins winning out, the Cowboys losing out, and the Giants losing at least two more games. I’d put something on the first scenario and a few chips on the last one but no way is Dallas going 0-4. Keeping my chips in my pocket on this one.

Wild card as No. 5 seed, $40—To do this the Redskins would have to stay ahead of the wild card contenders behind them (see next scenario) and make up a game and a half on the Giants. They play New York in Week 17 so the Redskins would have to make up one game between now and then and they could then determine their status on January 1 at FedEx Field. The Giants go to Pittsburgh on Sunday and host Dallas a week after that so we will see how that looks in a couple of weeks. As of now, the No. 6 seed would go to Detroit for the first round of the playoffs while the No. 5 would play the Falcons in Atlanta. That, of course, is subject to change.

Wild card as No. 6 seed, $35—I think getting the five seed is slightly more likely than getting the six since I think the Giants are a mirage. But even if New York keeps it going, the Redskins can clinch a spot by running the table in their last five games. That would make them 11-4-1 and no other wild card contender could catch them. If they win four of five, only the Bucs can catch them and it would take a 5-0 finish for Tampa Bay. Winning three of five still gives them a good shot at getting in although at that point you are also opening the door for the Vikings, Saints, Packers, and Eagles to catch fire and jump ahead of them.

Out of playoffs, $25—I might be putting a little too much here but it’s the NFL and it’s certainly not beyond the realm of possibility that the Redskins could finish 2-3 and miss out altogether. Their margin for error is slim and an injury here and a bad break there could have them on the outside looking in.

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