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Redskins Cardinals First Glance

Redskins Cardinals First Glance

In my combined years of blogging, doing a radio show, participating in football pools, and in other venues for predicting the outcomes of football games, I'm pretty sure that I've never picked the Washington Redskins to lose to the St. Louis/Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals. While the Cards have had their up periods and the Redskins haven't spent much time hanging with the NFL's elites lately, Washington has almost always been the better team in my view.

And even though it seems that the Cardinals are on the upswing and that the Redskins are still a mystery at this point in Jim Zorn's coaching tenure, I doubt that I'll go against that trend this time around.

To be sure, I've been wrong about my automatic pick on many occasions, some of them very costly losses for the Redskins. A loss in the 1975 game in St. Louis—I'll recap the Mel Gray game on Flashback Friday—sent the Redskins into a tailspin that knocked them out of the playoffs. Norv Turner's Redskins may well have made the playoffs in 1996 if not for a loss in a bizarre game at RFK Stadium. Boomer Esiason passed for 531 yards and the Redskins blew a game that they had won on several separate occasions.

However, those losses and some others too painful to recount illustrate the fact that it usually takes a quirk, a bad call, an extraordinary performance from an unexpected source, or some other freak of nature for the Cardinals to come out on top. In other words, things you can't predict have to happen for the Cards to beat the Redskins.

Kurt Warner having a big day would not fall under the category of things you can't predict. He passed for 361 yards and posted a perfect QB rating of 158.3 as the Cardinals slapped around the Dolphins last week. My first impression is that the Redskins are solid enough defensively to slow down Arizona's three-headed passing attack featuring Warner and receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin.

Take a look at the Cardinals' depth chart and show me a defensive player that is going to keep Greg Blache and company burning the midnight oil. These guys aren't even household names in their own households.

It seems as though every year this decade the Cardinals have been the trendy pick to be a "surprise" playoff team. Every year this decade they have failed.

With apologies to Dennis Green, the Cardinals are what I've always thought they were. I'm not sure what the Redskins are yet, but I'm inclined to think that whatever it is will be sufficient to beat the Cardinals at home.

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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