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The Road Ahead

The Road Ahead

Yes, I know you're not supposed to look ahead, play 'em one at a time, focus on the task at hand. But I'm not playing this Sunday and so far Joe Gibbs has not responded to my offer to help with the game plan. So I think that no damage will be done if I take a peek ahead at the Redskins' possibilities for who they will meet in the playoffs and when they will play.

The only spot the Redskins can get is the six seed. The Giants have wrapped up the other Wild Card spot and they have 10 wins and the most the Skins can finish up with is nine.

That means that if anyone offers to sell you tickets for a Redskins home playoff game, do not buy them. They can't host a playoff game no matter what. The higher seed gets home field and the Redskins can't be the higher seen in any game since they are the lowest seed.

Should the Redskins qualify, they will play at the three seed. Seattle has locked up that spot, so we would have a rematch of sorts of the 2005 season playoffs when the Skins gave the Seahawks some problems before bowing.

When would that game be played? There are four slots for the Wild Card round. NBC gets a Saturday doubleheader, one AFC game and one NFC game, with time slots at 4:30 PM and 8:00 PM Eastern. Fox and CBS each get a Sunday game, one at 1:00 PM, the other at 4:30. Out of the four time slots the only one that the Skins-Hawks couldn't play in is the Sunday 1:00 since it would be 10 AM in Seattle. The guess here is that NBC, having carried the Redskins the last two weeks, will ask for and get the New York market for its NFC game, which would put the Redskins into the late Sunday game.

If they win that one it would be on to Dallas. There is no March Madness-style bracket in the NFL playoffs. The highest remaining seed plays the lowest remaining seed. The Cowboys are the top seed and a surviving Redskin team would be the lowest remaining.

The Divisional round is January 12 & 13. On Saturday, Fox has a 4:30 game and CBS has the prime time 8:00 spot. On Sunday the games are at 1:00 and 4:30 and either network could get either slot. The preference is to give the top seed a Saturday game to give them the slight advantage of an extra day of rest before the conference title game, so that 4:30 on January 12 seems to be the likely landing spot for this game. Since the other NFC game will be in Green Bay there is no West Coast consideration so a possible Skins-Cowboys rematch could be in either time slot on Sunday.

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Dale Earnhardt Jr. announces retirement from NASCAR after 2017

Dale Earnhardt Jr. announces retirement from NASCAR after 2017

BY TYLER BYRUM, @theTylerByrum

One of the longest eras in NASCAR will come to an end concluding the 2017 season.

Early on Tuesday morning, Hendrick Motorsports announced that 18-year veteran, longtime Redskins fan and popular driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. would retire at the conclusion of the current season.

Earnhardt, son of the late legendary seven-time champion, Dale Earnhardt Sr., told his No. 88 team members before the organization released the news.

Last season, the 42-year-old missed the final 18 races of the NASCAR season due to a concussion. The injury resulted in a 32nd place finish in the NASCAR standings and it was the first time he missed the association's 'playoffs' since 2010. 

Throughout his long career, Earnhardt captured 26 race wins, two being the elusive Daytona 500 in 2004 and 2014. Due to the legendary status of his father, he never quite lived up to the level many placed on the Earnhardt family name. His win total is roughly a third of his father's and has not won a championship. Best career points finish for Earnahrdt was third in 2003, and finished fifth three times (2004, 2006, 2013). Starting in 603 total races, he has finished in the top 10 in nearly half of those races, 253 times.

Despite the lack of a championship, he was named NASCAR's most popular driver 14 times, trailing only Bill Elliott who won that honor 16 seasons. 

RELATED: EARNHARDT FORCED TO RACE IN EAGLES-THEMED CAR

At the end of 2017, Earnhardt's contract with Hendrick Motorsports was set to expire after 10 seasons with NASCAR's most successful team. Prior to his tenure with Hendrick, he was a part of Dale Earnhardt Inc. for eight years where he won 17 of his total 26 race wins. 

Currently, Earnhardt is 24th in the NASCAR standings, 50 points behind the cut-off for the final playoff spot. There are still 18 races remaining in the season for him to make up the ground with some of his best tracks still on the docket. In addition, a win would boost Earnhardt up into a playoff spot due to NASCAR's playoff system. 

With Earnhardt Jr. retiring, there will be one Earnhardt remaining in the Monster Energy Cup Series to carry the family name. Grandson of Dale Earnhardt Sr., and nephew of Jr., Jeffery Earnhardt is a regular in the series. 

Hendrick Motorsports announced in their release that they will not name a replacement for Earnhardt Jr. just yet. During his 18-race absence in 2016, he was replaced by a young prospect, Alex Bowman and four-time series champion Jeff Gordon.

It is anticipated either Bowman or 19-year-old William Byron, who Rick Hendrick signed to an Xfinity Series contract last season, will take his place. 

As a lifetime fan of the Washington football team, Earnhardt has been known to put his opinion of the team out there.

He was not happy with how the team handled Scot McCloughan situation, and publicly voiced his support of Kirk Cousins

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One significant stat that separates Christian McCaffery from Dalvin Cook

One significant stat that separates Christian McCaffery from Dalvin Cook

Football coaches hate fumbles, and Jay Gruden is no different. Remember that Matt Jones had established himself as the Redskins lead running back despite persistent fumbling issues his first two years in the NFL. That was until a goal line fumble Week 7 in Detroit. Jones never played again in 2016. 

Fast forward to Thursday night's NFL Draft, and the buzz surrounding the Redskins interest in Florida State running back Dalvin Cook and Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey could all boil down to fumbles.

Both Cook and McCaffrey visited Redskins Park, and both players possess the speed and game-breaking ability that could deliver big returns to the Washington offense. Since the NFL Combine, McCaffrey has emerged as the higher draft pick.

Their college statistics are fairly similar. Both players went for more than 5,000 total yards in three college seasons. The size is similar too, Cook gets listed at 6-foot, 209 lbs., while McCaffrey gets listed at 5-foot-11 and 203 lbs.

One area that's quite different: Fumbles. 

An average NFL running back fumbles once every 100 carries. Rich Tandler researched an incredible stat about the two players:

  • McCaffrey averages one fumble every 243 carries.
  • Cook averages one fumble every 63 carries. 

The difference is staggering. And it could be enough to keep the 'Skins away from Cook at 17.

<<<LOOKING AT REDSKINS DRAFT PROSPECTS>>>

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