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Need to Know: With the Redskins on the brink of elimination, what's next?

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Need to Know: With the Redskins on the brink of elimination, what's next?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 1, the day the Redskins host the New York Giants.

Playing out the string in prime time

A loss to the Giants tonight would eliminate the Redskins from the playoffs. Even if they win tonight, Washington would have to win out, the Cowboys would have to lose their next three and Eagles would have to lose three out of their next four. And then Philly and Dallas would have to tie when they play in the season finale for Washington to defend its NFC East title. That leaves the Redskins where they have been in December for all but three of the 11 years prior to last year—playing out the string.

The disappointment over the Redskins being in this situation again is palpable, both at Redskins Park and in the fan base. The expectations for the team were for it to take the next step, not a step back.

There will be plenty of time starting late this month to perform an autopsy on 2013 and figure out how to proceed in 2014. In the meantime there are five games left to play starting tonight in a game against the 4-7 Giants, a game that for reasons known only to NBC network suits was not flexed out of its prime time spot

“I think the players are smart enough to understand that if you are 3-8, then everybody is playing for their jobs,” Mike Shanahan said. “That’s the nature of our business. I don’t care if it’s players, coaches, support staff. The nature of this game is to find a way to win, and if you don’t win, everybody is accountable.”

Sometimes talk like that is just lip service. This year, it’s dead serious.

Some 20 players on the roster will be free agents in March. Many other players could be released with either minimal cap consequences or none at all. The Redskins will have some $25 million in cap space to spend on free agents. These factors could lead to substantial roster turnover.

The future of the coach staff is up in the air as well. Shanahan is going into the last year of his contract. He is 24-36 since coming to the Redskins in 2010. None of the assistant coaches are on particularly strong ground either.

So it starts tonight in a winnable game against the Giants. The Redskins are slight underdogs even though they are at home. A win clears up a lot of the negativity that has been swirling around the team lately. If they lose, the talk could multiply exponentially.

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In case you missed it

Monday 11.25

Tuesday 11.26

Wednesday 11.27

Thursday 11.28

Friday 11.29

Saturday 11.30

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Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

Josh Norman backs Kirk Cousins, points to Redskins' defense in argument with Jason Whitlock

As the discussion rages around what the Redskins should do with free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins, $75 million cornerback Josh Norman made clear he wants the passer back. Norman explained that the 'Skins struggles should not be pinned to Cousins, but rather, a Washington defense that finished the year near the bottom of the NFL.

"We got to help him out of defense, and stop somebody on the field," Norman said on FS1 (click here for full video). "We did not help him out at all. I'll be honest with you. We got to do our job."

Norman's comments came during a spirited argument with Colin Cowherd, Jason Whitlock and Cris Carter in what amounted to a festival of hot takery. Whitlock's argument was that Cousins is not a franchise quarterback, and shoult not be paid as such, largely for losing the final two home games of the year against Carolina and the New York Giants.

Cousins passed for nearly 5,000 yards this year, a statitstic Norman pointed to in his defense of the QB. He also explained that Cousins still has room to grow.

"He only had two seasons," Norman said. "Cam Newton had five seasons."

Drafted in 2012, Cousins was just named the 'Skins starter in 2015. He's started every game the last two seasons and gone 17-16 while passing for more than 9,000 yards. Norman played with Newton in Carolina before signing with Washington last year, and got to watch the quarterback develop into the league MVP in 2015.

Norman described Cousins as a 'great guy' and leader in the locker room, but he allowed that, "I know a great guy don’t translate into wins. I'm not saying that."

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

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

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The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

The Final Countdown: Redskins 9th worst play of the year goes back to Week 1

As should be expected when a team goes 8-7-1, there were plenty of good moments and a lot of frustrating times during the Redskins’ 2016 season. Over the next couple of weeks, Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay will take detailed looks at the 10 best plays of 2016 and, to present a more complete picture of the season, the 10 worst.

No. 9 worst play of 2016

Steelers at Redskins Week 1

10:18 left in Q2, Steelers ball 4th and 1 at the Redskins 29, Redskins leading 6-0

Ben Roethlisberger pass deep left to Antonio Brown for 29 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Related: Projecting the Redskins' roster--defense

Tandler: Things were looking up for the Redskins prior to this, even though they were unable to punch the ball into the end zone in two forays deep into Steelers territory and had to settle for field goals (a taste of things to come all year). The Steelers drove down the field and went for it on fourth and one. Because Joe Barry opted not to have Josh Norman travel from side to side with Brown, it was Bashaud Breeland with one-on-one coverage on the right side. Brown beat Breeland and DeAngelo Hall was late giving safety help and Big Ben put the ball on the money. The score put the Steelers ahead to stay.

More Redskins: An early look at first-round draft possibilities

Finlay: It's easy to forget now that the Redskins had an early lead in the opener against Pittsburgh. In fact, their defense started well, until this point. In something that would be repeated throughout the year, the Steelers did not hesitate to go for it on 4th down against the Washington defense. Breeland was in pretty good position on the ball, though Roethlisberger's throw was right on the money. It would be only one more week until Josh Norman would then start traveling to cover other team's best receivers. Beyond the immediate impact of this play, it also seemed to stay with Breeland as he struggled somewhat in the first half of the season.

10 best plays countdown

10 worst plays countdown

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

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