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Nine Wins and In?

Nine Wins and In?

Nine Wins and In?

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net
There is a belief floating around out there that the Redskins will have to win out in order to achieve their goal of making the playoffs in 2005. This began to be uttered following the Redskins’ overtime loss to the Chargers and it persists even after the Redskins gained their sixth win of the season in St. Louis.

It’s not true. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, that a nine-win team will make the NFC playoffs. If the Redskins can get to that level it’s very likely that they would win the tiebreaker against any other nine-win NFC team and snag the final wild card slot.

First, let’s take a quick look at the Redskins chances of winning the NFC East. It’s pretty simple. The Redskins would have to win out, beating Arizona, Dallas, the Giants, and Philadelphia and the Giants would have to lose one of their other three remaining games. That would put Washington, New York and possibly Dallas at 10-6. The Redskins would take that 3-way tie because of a better division record, would beat the Giants head to head because of the 5-1 division record and would have the head to head sweep over Dallas.

A sweep of their remaining games is unlikely, however, if only because winning four in a row is tough to do for even a very good team in the NFL and the Redskins don’t meet anyone’s definition of “very good”. Even three of four is a tall order, but certainly not impossible so the nine-win scenarios are worth exploring even though they’re somewhat complex.

What’s not complex is why the Redskins are likely to win a tiebreaker with any other nine-win team. The reason is their 0-4 record against AFC teams this year. Huh? How do losses help you make the playoffs?

Of course, they don’t but since all of the other teams who would be in that nine-win mix have at least one of their wins vs. an AFC team it means that the Redskins will have accomplished all nine of their wins vs. the NFC. As no other team in the Wild Card hunt can gain more than eight NFC wins, that will give Washington the better conference record, the second tiebreaker (the first is head to head) over every other nine-win team.

With four games to go and about a half a dozen other teams involved there are countless scenarios, so we’re going to make a couple of assumptions to clarify things. Let’s award the NFC South crown to 9-3 Carolina Panthers and the first Wild Card to the 8-4 Tampa Bay Bucs. That leaves the Redskins chasing three 7-5 teams, Dallas, Atlanta, and Minnesota, for the final playoff spot.

Let’s also assume that one of the Redskins’ three wins to get to nine is over Dallas. It’s possible for Washington to make it if their one loss is to the Cowboys, but that makes the picture a whole lot cleaner because it pulls the Redskins into a tie with Dallas with a head to head sweep in hand. And we’ll also figure that the Eagles, 5-6 entering Monday night’s game against Seattle, won’t be able to ride Mike McMahon to the nine wins necessary to be in this mix.

The math is simple, really. Washington needs three wins to get to nine. The other three teams have to win three in order to stay ahead of a Washington team that would beat them in the tiebreakers. A 2-2 finish will not do for Atlanta, Minnesota and Dallas. Here is who they play:

Atlanta:
Mon 12/12 New Orleans 9:00 pm Sun 12/18 at Chicago 8:30 pm Sat 12/24 at Tampa Bay 1:00 pm Sun 1/1 Carolina 1:00 pm

Minnesota:
Sun 12/11 St. Louis 1:00 pm Sun 12/18 Pittsburgh 1:00 pm Sun 12/25 at Baltimore 8:30 pm Sun 1/1 Chicago 1:00 pm

Dallas:
Sun 12/11 Kansas City 4:15 pm Sun 12/18 at Washington 4:15 pm Sat 12/24 at Carolina 1:00 pm Sun 1/1 St. Louis 8:30 pm

It’s not hard to see the Falcons lose to Chicago and Carolina, Minnesota losing to Pittsburgh and Chicago and the Cowboys falling in Carolina after losing to the Redskins.

By the same token, seeing how things have gone this year, it’s not hard to see the Redskins losing two of their last four either, making this whole discussion moot. But that’s why they play the games and why it is a virtual certainty that there will be games with playoff implications at FedEx Field in December.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—First round of draft could fall into place

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—First round of draft could fall into place

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, January 21, 96 days before the NFL draft.

Timeline

Days until:
NFL franchise tag deadline 39
NFL free agency starts 47
First Sunday of 2017 season 232

The Redskins week that was

A look back at the week with some of the top posts on RealRedskins.com and on CSNmidatlantic.com.  

An early look at 1st-round draft possibilities for the Redskins—This post marked 100 days until the draft and now were a few days closer. It’s very early but the preliminary big boards make it look like the Redskins are likely to have a defensive lineman such as Solomon Thomas of Stanford or Mailk McDowell of Michigan State wind up as the best available player so that both the fans a Scot McCloughan can be happy.

Cap room a dilemma for Redskins McCloughan?—There is plenty of talk about how expensive Kirk Cousins’ contract or franchise tag will be and how the expense could affect the ability to spend in other positions. But the team has $62 million in cap space. If they don’t spend a good chunk of it on Cousins what will they do with it? They could bring back Pierre Garçon, Chris Baker and make new deals for eligible 2014 draft picks like Bashaud Breeland and Morgan Moses and still have a lot left over. If they don’t spend it a quarterback, what will they do with it? I do know that if they have, say, $20 million in cap space left and they are around .500 again, the fans and media will not be happy.

Projecting the Redskins 2017 roster—Offense—The changes on this side of the ball will feel more like reloading than rebuilding. I’m assuming Cousins will be back one way (long-term deal) or another (tag). At least four out of the five O-linemen are set and the tight ends will get set if McCloughan can lure Vernon Davis back. We’ll see if the running back corps gets shaken up in the draft or in free agency. The one area that could be wide open is receiver and even that could remain relatively stable if Garçon returns.

3 of 4 Redskins named to Pro Bowl won't attend—I think fans generally have become much more apathetic about Pro Bowl selections compared to, say, seven or eight years ago. Playing in the exhibition game is an “honor” that so many choose not to accept or, as was the case with Brandon Scherff, Ryan Kerrigan, and Jordan Reed, they are too injured after a 16-game season to take part. Meanwhile, alternates Cousins, Josh Norman, and Jamison Crowder (as a kick returner) have not yet heard their phones ring. Why does the NFL even bother with the Pro Bowl? People still watch it. Ratings for the last edition (4.5) were about a point lower than the MLB All-Star game (5.4) and a tick above the NBA All-Star game (4.3). Those are not huge ratings but big enough to turn a profit.  

The early odds on what happens with Redskins and Cousins—I think that the first offer that both sides make here is going to be critical. If the Redskins lowball Cousins again it will set a bad tone. If Cousins’ offer is too high the Redskins could think that Cousins is determined to leave. And both sides need to be willing to negotiate. If any of that took place last year there was very little. With no give and take the talks will go nowhere. 

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In case you missed it

Stay up to date on the Redskins! Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page www.Facebook.com/RealRedskins and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.

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Report: One more potential defensive coordinator is off the market for the Redskins

Report: One more potential defensive coordinator is off the market for the Redskins

Well it looks like the name many considered to be the Redskins top choice at defensive coordinator is off the market. Adam Schefter broke the news of Gus Bradley to the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Redskins interviewed Bradley early in their process of selecting a new defensive coordinator. His latest gig ended poorly after he was fired as head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, but Bradley's best success came as defensive coordinator with the Seattle Seahawks.

When he served in that role with Seattle, Bradley worked with Scot McCloughan. And prior to his coaching stint in Seattle, Bradley coached in Tampa, where he worked with both Bruce Allen and Jay Gruden.

Those connections, and his success in Seattle, had many fans hoping Bradley would take over for Joe Barry, who Washington dismissed more than two weeks ago.

The connection between Bradley and the Chargers comes as no surprise, and it leaves Washington still in need of a defensive boss.

Mike Pettine probably jumps to the top of the ranks of other coaches the Redskins have interviewed, but it still seems internal candidate Greg Manusky could be in position to move up to coordinator. Manusky spent the 2016 season as outside linebackers coach and has prior coordinator experience.

The Skins have also interviewed Dennis Thurman, last of Buffalo, Jason Tarver, last of San Francisco, Rob Ryan, also last in Buffalo, and John Pagano, last with the Chargers.

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

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