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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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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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When asked to vote for top 20 players, Pierre Garcon just wrote 'Kirk Cousins' 20 times

When asked to vote for top 20 players, Pierre Garcon just wrote 'Kirk Cousins' 20 times

Redskins receiver Pierre Garcon just filled out his ballot for the annual NFL Top 100 Players list.

Let's just say it's pretty one-dimensional. 

Straight like that

A photo posted by Pierre Garcon (@pierregarcon) on

As you can see, the form asks guys to rank who they consider the top 20 players in the league. But instead of naming 20 different players, Garcon voted for the same player 20 times. Talk about stuffing the ballot box. 

No surprise, but he's hyping his quarterback Kirk Cousins. 

Cousins is having a career year with the Redskins. His stock has soared over the last three weeks especially. Take a look at his numbers in that span: 84 completions on 116 attempts for 1,086 yards (72 percent), eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. 

Those efforts earned the Michigan State product NFC Offensive Player of the Month honors. And more importantly, Cousins has the Redskins in favorable position to make the playoffs for the second year in a row.

So far this season, Garcon has caught 52 passes from Cousins for 636 yards and two scores. 

MORE REDSKINS: Reed out, 7 other Redskins questionable