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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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Final Countdown: Punch to the gut floors Redskins in Arizona on 6th worst play of 2016

Final Countdown: Punch to the gut floors Redskins in Arizona on 6th worst play of 2016

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. 6 worst play of 2016

Redskins at Cardinals Week 13

3:47 left in Q4, Cardinals ball at their own 34, 4th and 1, Cardinals leading 24-23

David Johnson up the middle to ARZ 48 for 14 yards (Josh Norman).

Related: A team to watch in the Cousins situation

Tandler: What's worse than a punch in the gut? A gut punch you don't see coming. The Redskins had pulled to within a point with plenty of time left to get a winning score—if the defense could get a stop. When Bruce Arians sent out his offense on fourth and one, the Redskins had to watch for Carson Palmer to try to draw them offside. In fact, Joe Barry told the Redskins not to expect a snap and to be sure not the jump. But they did snap the ball and Johnson ran for the easiest 14 yards up the gut you’ll ever see. The air was out of the Redskins’ comeback balloon and Palmer all but put it away a few plays later with a 42-yard TD pass to J.J. Nelson.

More Redskins: Will the first round fall into place?

Finlay: This is not the first 4th Down conversion on our list of bad plays, but perhaps the most important one. Washington desperately needed this stop, and the defense thought they had it on the 3rd down play prior. Only Arians did not flinch about going for it, much to Barry's surprise, and the 'Skins D had no shot at Johnson. This play illustrated the weakness of Washington's defensive front perhaps better than any other run all 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!

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With Matt Ryan in the Super Bowl, Kirk Cousins will make Pro Bowl, per report

With Matt Ryan in the Super Bowl, Kirk Cousins will make Pro Bowl, per report

Kirk Cousins' price tag just moved even higher with the news that he will replace Matt Ryan in the Pro Bowl. ESPN's John Keim reported the roster move first.

Ryan's Atlanta Falcons advanced to the Super Bowl on Sunday with a 44-21 dismantling of the Green Bay Packers. That victory means Ryan will not be available for the Pro Bowl, held this Sunday in Orlando. Cousins got his spot as an alternate.

Cousins gets the spot deservedly. This season he passed for 4,917 yards, completing 67 percent of his passes and throwing 25 TDs to 12 INTs. In two seasons since being named starter for the Redskins, Cousins has thrown for more than 9,000 yards. 

The Pro Bowl nod for Cousins will only make the Redskins pending contract talks that much tougher. The quarterback played in 2016 under the franchise tag, which netted him nearly $20 million. This season Washington could again place Cousins on the franchise tag, with a price tag around $24 million. Both sides can still work for a long-term deal, though the value of that contract would likely soar past $100 million and closer to $120 million.

Some questions exist within the Redskins organization if that is too much money devoted to one player, even if it is a Pro Bowl quarterback.

It's fitting that Cousins is subbing in for Ryan, who has found much success playing under Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. All signs points to Shanahan taking over as the 49ers head coach after the Super Bowl, and a report emerged that San Francisco would make a strong push to obtain Cousins, either in free agency or via trade. 

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!