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Do the Redskins belong in the playoffs?

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Do the Redskins belong in the playoffs?

The Redskins will win the NFC East with a final record of either 8-8 or 9-7. The former would be the worst record ever to win that division; the latter would be tied for the worst-ever record by an NFC East champ.

Some say that this means that the Redskins aren’t a real playoff team, just a mediocre team that backed into the playoffs by virtue of having played in a weak division, one that had to spit out a winner. Congrats, Redskins, you’re the tallest midgets.

And if you look at their record it backs up that line of thinking. Eight wins and seven losses is what it is. Sure, they dropped a few games that could have gone either way. But a bad bounce here and there could have turned close wins over the Eagles, Bucs, and Bears into losses.

But the NFL is a “what have you done lately” league and the Redskins have been one of the better teams in the NFL since they fell to 2-4 with a road loss to the Jets.

Here are some key stats, how the Redskins have performed in them in Weeks 7-16, and their NFL ranking in that time.

Yes, these stats are cherry picked. To pick one from their seventh game on that’s not so good for the Redskins, they allowed 3,528 yards, better than only four other teams. And they had two tries to beat a team with a winning record and didn’t come close to getting it done. They also lost to a bad Cowboys team in a critical game at home.

So let’s be clear that point here is not that the Redskins are an elite team or a very good one. But since taking six games to find their way with a new starting quarterback, a few injuries at tight end and along the offensive line they have been at worst respectable.

The Redskins have been playing better lately but their best may not be enough if they get the best from either the Packers, Vikings, or Seahawks at FedEx Field on the weekend of January 9-10. Over the course of the season they have been more consistent performers.

But the Redskins do not need to apologize for playing in the postseason and they aren’t going to be content with a participation trophy.

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Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

Long injury list hampers Redskins practice

As Jay Gruden stepped to the podium to read the injury report, he warned, “This will be a while.”

He was right, as he rattled off one the longest injury reports of the season.

Out were G Spencer Long (concussion), S Will Blackmon (concussion), DE Chris Baker (ankle), DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee/foot), DE Anthony Lanier (lower leg), G Shawn Lauvao (groin), OT Ty Nsekhe (ankle), and S Donte Whitner (illness).

Of that group, all but Jean Francois, Lanier, and Nsekhe are starters. Between them and the limited players listed below it was difficult for the Redskin to conduct a normal practice.

“It was a challenge,” said Gruden of getting through it. “Practice was modified quite a bit today. We did more walkthrough today than we ever have on a Wednesday.”

“Sometimes you have to taper back just a hair to make it through practice, try to get the mental reps in with walkthrough and then hopefully the physical part will come maybe tomorrow. Friday we can open them up a bit.”

Limited in practice were TE Jordan Reed (shoulder), OLB Preston Smith (groin), ILB Will Compton (hip), G Brandon Scherff (ankle), and TE Derek Carrier (knee).

READ MORE: FULL UPDATE ON JORDAN REED

Reed returned to practice for the first time since suffering a Grade 3 sprain to the AC joint in his left shoulder in the game against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving. He missed the game in Arizona. While his limited participation was a good sign for his return it’ is way too early in the week to say with any degree of certainty that he will be playing against the Eagles.

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Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

Robert Griffin III set to start Sunday for Browns vs. Bengals

RGIII is finally getting another chance to play.

Plagued by injury after injury — most recently breaking a bone in his left shoulder in the Brown’s 29-10 loss to the Eagles in their season opener — the former Redskin is set to start for Cleveland against the Bengals on Sunday, ESPN’s Dan Graziano reports.

Griffin was cleared for contact last week after missing the majority of the Browns’ 0-12 season, and the team is coming off a bye week after its last loss to the Giants over Thanksgiving weekend.

In 2015, Kirk Cousins replaced Griffin as starting quarterback, and the Redskins released him at the end of the season. He signed a two-year, $15 million contract with Cleveland in March.  

In Griffin’s absence, the Browns have relied on Cody Kessler and Josh McCown, who boast a 65.5 and 54.5 completion percentage, respectively. The two combine for just 12 touchdowns this season.

Will Griffin be the key to ending the Browns’ winless season? We’ll find out Sunday.

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