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Need to Know: Redskins' offense has to find a way

Need to Know: Redskins' offense has to find a way

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, September 22, the day the Redskins play the Lions at FedEx Field.

Redskins-Lions final checklist

—That the Redskins lost to the Packers was not surprising. That they were non-competitive in the process was. They never trailed by over 18 points at any point in any game last year.

—The good news was that the Kai Forbath injury didn’t matter much since the game didn’t come down to a field goal. But it looks like they might have to go with John Potter again this week as it was reported that Forbath did not kick on Saturday.

—I said it in long form earlier this week and I’ll say it quickly here: there is no way the Redskins should bench RG3 even if he is ineffective today. He has to work his way through his issues. And even if everyone on the outside believed it should happen, there is simply no chance that Mike Shanahan will do it.

—If I had to guess, I’d say Brandon Meriweather plays today. He seemed to be good to go when we talked to him on Friday and if there wasn’t a setback he’ll play in two straight games for the first time since December of 2011. If he can’t go, look for Reed Doughty to start at strong safety with Jordan Pugh active to take some snaps there.

—The other game time decision is on the Lions. It appears that Reggie Bush, who has an injured knee, made the trip with the Lions so we won't know his status until the inactives are announced. If I had to bet I'd say he plays but it's far from certain.

—Yes, it is odd for a starter like Fred Davis to play only 16 snaps at tight end no matter what the game situation is. It’s fine to talk about but all I’ll say is that it’s a long season and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Davis play a key role before it’s over. By the way, nobody knows much about Davis’ ankle injury that made him a Saturday addition to the injury report but it will be a surprise if he doesn’t play.

—Not all issues with a football team all of a sudden go away but I don’t think it will take long for the Redskins to start tackling like a real NFL team. It’s simply a matter of the fact that they can’t continue to be that bad.

—You know, even if Griffin can’t run the ball the coaches have to come up with a way for the Redskins to move the ball anyway. There is some offensive talent on the team and the coaches are too well paid for them to fail to come up with a better plan to deal with whatever the deficiencies of the quarterback are. It wasn’t this bad with Rex Grossman.

—There is certainly good reason for Redskins fans to be fearful of what Calvin Johnson can do. But before being concerned that he will dominate and lead the Lions to a huge win consider the fact that he set the NFL record for receiving yards last year and the Lions won all of four games. One man can’t get it done.

In case you missed it

Sunday 09.15

Monday 09.16

Tuesday 09.17

Wednesday 09.18

Thursday 09.19

Friday 09.20

Saturday 09.21

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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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