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Playoffs: It's Alive!

Playoffs: It's Alive!

It's down to two games left to play and, like the madman in Poe's "Tell-Tale Heart", some of us can still hear a sound of a heart beating that sounds very, very real.

Even with the Lions, Bucs, Rams and Bears losing, the playoffs are still a longshot. But maybe you don't have to believe in Santa to think that the Redskins will make the playoffs today. Perhaps you just have to think that the federal government will balance the budget again or that the Washington National will ever play a game.

Again, thanks to Kevin Mac on WarpathInsiders.com , the place that this blog proudly calls home, for boiling it down and getting to the nitty-gritty. It isn't the complete picture, but it does show the path to the Redskins having their fate in their hands going into the final game:

PLAYOFF FORMULA, WEEK 16:

Skins beat Dallas

+ Tampa over Carolina

+ Atlanta over New Orleans

+ Cincy over G-men

+ Philly over St Louis

= SKINS IN WITH VICTORY OF VIKINGS JAN 2
Now, all of this does not have to happen for the Skins to be alive going into the last week, but there are some scenarios that will eliminate the Redskins. However, the Skins do have some degree of bullet-proofing. No single game can eliminate them, it would take one of the two following pairs of results to knock them out:

Both Carolina (@ Tampa) and New Orleans (Atlana) winning

OR

Both St. Louis (Philadelphia) and Seattle (Arizona) winning

Since NO and Carolina play each other in Week 17, if they both win one of them will wind up with 8 wins, eliminating the Redskins. The Skins lose any tiebreakers to St. Louis if the Rams beat Philly and they would have to get into a tiebreaker with Seattle, who would have to go 0-2 to finish at 7-9.

In something I didn't mention yesterday, the 5-9 Giants are still a factor in the Redskins' playoff hopes. They need to lose one of their last two. If the G-Men and Skins both win their last two, the Redskins don't get out of the division tiebreaker in order to get into the multi-team playoff race since New York would have a better division record.

So, I would strongly recommend getting all of your Christmas-related activites done by 1 PM Eastern on Sunday (fortunately, none of the three games that will be nationally televised on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will have no bearing on the Skins' chances). Via your computer, Sunday Ticket, Sirrius Sattelite Radio, or ESPN Radio, you can follow Atlanta at New Orleans and the Giants at Cincinnati. Then at 4, it's the Skins at Dallas, plus Arizona at Seattle and Carolina at Tampa Bay. On Monday night, it's Philly at St. Louis.

It ain't over 'til it's over. And it ain't over.



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Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

Redskins bring former starting center back to active roster

The Redskins officially brought Kory Lichtensteiger back to the active roster, and while the move is now for depth, it could have other ramifications down the road. 

The move is on the NFL's transaction report for Saturday. To make room for Lichtensteiger, the team released defensive lineman A.J. Francis. 

Dealing with injuries up and down the line of scrimmage, Lichtensteiger's return could give the offensive front more flexibility. When Lichtensteiger got injured Week 3 and sent to the injured reserve, third-year pro Spencer Long stepped in and performed well at center. Last week in Arizona, Long sustained a concussion.

That injury opened the door for John Sullivan, who will start this week in Philadelphia with Long ruled out. Sullivan was brought in as a backup to Long once Lichtensteiger was put on IR. With Long now in the NFL concussion protocol, the Redskins need another center should Sullivan get hurt. Alas, Lichtensteiger's return from the IR. 

Left guard Shawn Lauvao also sustained an injured groin, and that's where things could get interesting. Long is capable of playing guard, as is Lichtensteiger in a pinch. Should Lauvao's injury persist, Lichtensteiger might be able to help there.

Against the Eagles, the plan certainly appears to be second-year man Arie Kouandjio starting in place of Lauvao. Kouandjio made one earlier start this season - Week 4 against Cleveland - and the results were mixed.

If Kouandjio stumbles and Lauvao needs more time, Lichtensteiger's return to the roster gives Jay Gruden and Bill Callahan more flexibility, especially when Long returns from injury.

In fact, once the team has Long, Lichtensteiger and Sullivan healthy, there could be a bit of a logjam roster-wise on the offensive line, but considering all the injuries, bumps and bruises that are part of O-line life by the last four games of the season, the Redskins staff likely won't mind figuring that out. 

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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Redskins vs Eagles Preview: 5 things to know as Washington gets desperate

Redskins vs Eagles Preview: 5 things to know as Washington gets desperate

Losers of two straight games and for the first time in a month outside of the playoff picture, a desperate Redskins squad travels to Philadelphia for a 1 p.m. game on Sunday. All the action kicks off on CSN with Redskins Kickoff at noon, but to get ready for the action, here are five storylines to watch:

  1. Getting back to good, or at least decent - Two weeks ago the Redskins seemed like a dangerous playoff squad with a strong offense and an improving defense. After two straight losses where Joe Barry's defense has given up 62 total points, the questions are mounting for Washington. Can the defense get stops on 3rd down? Generate a turnover? The good news for the Redskins is that the Eagles are struggggggling. Their offense has not score more than 15 points in three straight weeks. 
  2. Feed the fat one - After giving Rob Kelley just 28 carries in the last two games, Washington offensive coordinator Sean McVay owned up to the Redskins lack of run game, "I definitely feel like I could’ve been more patient on some of those early down and distances where you get a little bit pass-heavy. And that’s something that as a decision-maker and as a coordinator, I have to do a better job." In a Week 6 win Kelley and Matt Jones piled up more than 200 rush yards against the Eagles. The 'Skins offense likely won't feature Jones, but expect McVay to feed Fat Rob plenty on Sunday.
  3. Playing in pain - The Redskins offense features a number of dynamic playmaking threats, but arguably the best is tight end Jordan Reed. On Thanksgiving in Dallas, Reed separated his left shoulder, and though he finished that game he was forced out of action in Arizona. Expect Reed to be back Sunday, and expect Kirk Cousins to look for him early and often. On the season, Reed has more than 600 receiving yards and five TDs.
  4. If it ain't broke - Kirk Cousins has had more success against the Eagles than any other team in the NFC East. In four career games against Philly, COusins averages 336 yards per game passing to go with a 101.3 QB rating. He's thrown 10 touchdowns against the Eagles to just two interceptions. The biggest win of his career came last year when Cousins and the 'Skins clinched the NFC East title at Lincoln Financial Field. Cousins suceeds against the Eagles, and there's no reason it should stop Sunday. 
  5. Don't fly away - Rumors are starting to circulate that the Eagles would like to bring back DeSean Jackson next season. It's well known that Jackson will probably hit free agency after this season, and if Philly did pursuit their former playmaker, it would make sense. But between now and then, Jackson has another opportunity to torch his former team and help the Skins pursue a Wild Card bid at the same time. In his past two games, Jackson and COusins have connected on deep patterns, and there's little reason to tbink the same won't happen Sunday.

Numbers & Notes

  • If tight end Vernon Davis catches three passes he will become the 12th tight end in NFL history to record 500 career receptions.
  • With two more catches, wide receiver Jamison Crowder will set a single-season career high in receptions. He caught 59 passes in 2015.
  • If the Redskins win would mark five straight victories against the Eagles for the Redskins for the first time since a six-game winning streak in the series across the 1981-84 seasons.

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!