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Need to Know: Who will the Redskins face in the playoffs?

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Need to Know: Who will the Redskins face in the playoffs?

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, January 1, two days before the Washington Redskins travel to Dallas to play the Cowboys.

Happy New Year!

Who will the Redskins play next?

Normally on Fridays here I discuss five players who need to step up for the Redskins to beat the upcoming opponent. But we really don’t know who will be playing for them on Sunday since some players will be held out and others could be ticketed for an early exit.

So let’s get out the $100 in imaginary poker chips and spread them out over the Redskins’ three potential playoff opponents and see what I think the chances are of each of them showing up at FedEx Field on the weekend of January 9-10 are.

Seattle (must beat the Cardinals and have to Vikings lose the Packers to be the No. 5 seed)$20 I think that the unanimous opinion of fans and media is that the Seahawks are the worst matchup for the Redskins so them being the least likely opponent seems to be a positive development. I think the Cardinals will take care of business at home and push the Seahawks to the six seed.

Packers (must lose to Vikings)$30 Don’t look now but the Packers aren’t exactly a powerhouse. They have gone 4-5 since their 6-0 start and Aaron Rodgers has been sacked 41 times. I think it’s very possible for the Vikings to go in there and beat them.

Vikings (must lose to Packers and have Cardinals beat the Seahawks)—$50 The Seahawks are seven-point underdogs to the Cardinals and the Packers are favored by three. I’m not exactly sure how those odds work out mathematically but I’d say that the chances of two home favorites winning are right around 50 percent. So that is where I’ll put half of my poker chips.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Practice 11:55; Jay Gruden and Sean McVan news conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 1:15

Days until: Redskins @Cowboys 2; start of NFL playoffs 8

In case you missed it

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Redskins-Cardinals injury report: Reed out, seven questionable

Redskins-Cardinals injury report: Reed out, seven questionable

Redskins

Out

TE Jordan Reed (shoulder)—The word heroic is thrown around too often when talking about what athletes do, in light if what, say, first responders do every day. But Reed playing in the second half out of the Dallas game with a third-degree AC joint sprain certainly was remarkable. But Gruden said that Reed won’t have sufficient range of motion in the shoulder or range of motion to be able to go against the Cardinals.

DE Anthony Lanier (leg)—The reserve lineman missed the second half of the Dallas game with a leg contusion. Gruden said he was kicked in the lower leg against the Cowboys and the swelling is still an issue.

Questionable

LS Nick Sundberg (back)—He tweaked his back in the weight room before the Packers game and missed that game and the one against the Cowboys. He was a full go in practice all week and will return against the Cardinals.

G Brandon Scherff (ankle)—He has been limited in practice during the week but it seems certain that he will go against the Cardinals.

T Ty Nsekhe (ankle)—Ditto comment on Scherff above.

CB Bashaud Breeland (ankle)—He suffered the injury in practice this week and he was limited in practice on Thursday.

RB Chris Thompson (illness)—He was limited in practice during the week but he said in the locker room he will have his usual role on Sunday.

Also questionable for the Redskins: ILB Terence Garvin (shoulder) and DE Ricky Jean Francois (knee)

Cardinals

Check back for the Cardinals injury update after they release their report later this afternoon.

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Jordan Reed ruled out for Redskins vs. Cardinals; Vernon Davis set for start

Jordan Reed ruled out for Redskins vs. Cardinals; Vernon Davis set for start

After separating his shoulder against the Cowboys on Thanksgiving, Jordan Reed has officially been ruled out for the Redskins game in Arizona. 

Friday, coach Jay Gruden said Reed doesn't have sufficient range of motion to play against the Cardinals but remains hopeful he'll be healthy for the following game against the Eagles. Reed estimated that range was at about 30 percent Monday.

The decision to sit Reed against the Cardinals comes with little surprise. The 'Skins star tight end did not practice all week, even after having a few extra days to rest after the game last Thursday.

Playing without Reed is obviously a blow to the Washington offense, but No. 2 tight end Vernon Davis has been a strong development for Gruden's team this year. Thursday, Gruden and offensive coordinator Sean McVay said that while losing Reed is a blow to the unit, the team can run almost all of the same plays and sets with Davis that they can with Reed. 

"Fortunately you’re in a situation where you feel really good about your tight end in Vernon Davis where he’s playing at an extremely high level in both phases in the run and in the pass game," McVay said.

As good as Davis has been, he's not the dynamic threat Reed presents. In the second half against Dallas — while playing with the injured shoulder — Reed hauled in two touchdowns and played arguably the best football of his career.

On the season Reed has 59 catches for 630 yards and five touchdowns despite missing two games earlier this year dealing with a concussion.

Davis has played in all 11 games this season and has 31 catches for 450 yards and two TDs. 

Want more Redskins? Check out @JPFinlayCSN for live updates or click here for the #RedskinsTalk Podcast on iTunes or press play below. Don't forget to subscribe!