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Will 10 wins get in?

Will 10 wins get in?

In 2005 and again in 2007 the Washington Redskins faced strings of must-win games in December. They lost to San Diego in the last game of November of '05 to fall to 5-6. They then reeled off five straight wins to grab a Wild Card spot. Last year they were 5-7 after a December 2 loss to the Bills and it took four wins in a row to pull out another postseason berth.

This year, the Redskins sit at 7-5 going into the final month of the season. While they are third in their division and fourth among the four teams with realistic Wild Card aspirations, their situation for making the playoffs is difficult, but not as desperate as it was three years ago or last year.

A repeat of last year's four-game run would almost certainly lead to a trip to the playoffs. Here are the four teams currently in contention plus Tampa Bay, with the same record as Carolina and leading the NFC South on tiebreakers:

TB 9-3: @CAR @ATL SD OAK
CAR 9-3: TB DEN @NYG @NO
ATL 8-4: @NO TB @MIN STL
DAL 8-4: @PIT NYG BAL @PHI
WAS 7-5: @BAL @CIN PHI @SF

At first glance, this looks rather bleak as the Redskins will have to pass two teams in order to make it in. That's difficult, but not as daunting as it may seem.

To set this up, let's say that the Redskins are able to get to 10 wins with wins over Philly and San Francisco as part of the mix. That would give them a division record of 3-3 and a conference record of 8-4.

Look at Dallas' remaining schedule. It's the hardest of any NFL team. The Cowboys will do well to go 2-2 against that gauntlet. Should one of those losses come against the Eagles or Giants they would be at 10-6 but with five conference losses. The Redskins would win the tiebreaker based on conference record.

The Bucs, Panthers, and Falcons have something of a round robin going on in the next couple of weeks as Tampa Bay plays at Carolina this Sunday and Atlanta hosts the Bucs the next week. There are way too many possible outcomes of those three games to go into all of them but the best thing for the Skins is for the Bucs to sweep the two games and take command of the NFC South. Then Carolina would have four conference losses and would have to win two of their last three to get to 11 wins and stay out of a tiebreaker with a 10-win Redskins team. The Redskins would win that tiebreaker since Carolina would have five NFC losses if it finished 1-2 at that point.

The Falcons are 5-3 and all of their remaining games are against NFC teams. That means that if they finish 10-6 they will automatically have five conference losses and would finish behind the Skins in a tiebreaker.

The Redskins want to stay out of a tiebreaker with the Bucs, who have only two conference losses with two NFC games left.

But all the Redskins need to have a good shot at making it a 10-6 is to have no more than one non-division winner to finish at 11-5.

What it boils down to here is that while this Sunday night's game against the Ravens is important in a lot of ways, it's not vital to the team's playoff chances. If they lose, it's a non-conference game and they would be facing three games (I hate to label those last three as "very winnable" as everything has been a struggle lately but they are games the Skins should be able to win without playing at their absolute peak) that they would have to sweep to get to 10.

The picture will become clearer after this week's games and we'll have solid must-win and must-lose games after Week 15. But for now, 10 seems to be the number that will have the Redskins playing into January.

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The Final Countdown: Eli Manning goes deep for the Redskins 7th worst play of the year

The Final Countdown: Eli Manning goes deep for the Redskins 7th worst play of the year

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. 7 worst play of 2016

Giants at Redskins, Week 17

4:02 left in Q4, Giants ball 1st and 10 at their own 31, game tied 10-10

Eli Manning pass deep left to Tavarres King pushed ob at WAS 25 for 44 yards (Will Blackmon).

Related: The Redskins week that was

Tandler: It looked like the Redskins were on the verge of saving their season. They were down 10-0 in the third quarter but they battled back to tie it up in the late going. But after lulling the Redskins defense to sleep with running plays and short passes, Manning launched one deep down the left sideline. King, who had one reception for six yards on the season coming into the game, had a step on cornerback Greg Toler and he hauled in the pass for 44 yards. Four plays later Robbie Gould kicked a 40-yard field goal to give the Giants the lead.

More Redskins: Offensive coordinator situation set?

Finlay: In a terrible game that led to many more questions than answers for the Redskins, this play was just a huge, huge disappointment. Washington fought back to tie up a game that they had largely been outplayed in, particulrly in the first half. Remember, the Giants had nothing to play for while for the 'Skins, a win would put them in the playoffs. The New York offense was laregly nonexistent in the second half of this game, as it became obvious Eli Manning did not want to get hit. And still, the embattled Redskins defense gave up a long pass play to a dude that had contrbuted basically nothing 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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Report: One team Redskins need to watch out for when it comes to Kirk Cousins this offseason

Report: One team Redskins need to watch out for when it comes to Kirk Cousins this offseason

Mike Shanahan likes Kirk Cousins, both as a person and as a quarterback. The former Redskins coach has made no secret about that. Luckilly for the 'Skins, especially with Cousins staring at free agency, Mike Shanahan is no longer coaching in the NFL.

His son Kyle, however, seems highly likely to take over as San Francisco 49ers head coach. And soon.

Kyle Shanahan currently serves as the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, and once their playoff run ends, most expect Shanahan to be named Niners head coach. 

Why should Washington fans care? Allow ESPN's Adam Schefter to explain:

Kyle Shanahan is set to become the San Francisco 49ers' head coach after Atlanta's season ends. San Francisco needs a quarterback as much as any other team in the league. If Cousins is available, the 49ers would pursue him as hard as they've pursued Shanahan.

Even if Washington tags Cousins, San Francisco could attempt to pry him loose in a trade with a package that could include this year's No. 2 overall draft pick. And if Washington doesn't want to deal now, it could have issues later.

This news should not be a shock to Skins fans, but it should be taken seriously. Remember, Kyle Shanahan was part of the Washington organization when Cousins was drafted and the duo worked together in 2012 and 2013. Most quarterbacks would love to run Shanahan's No. 1 ranked offense from Atlanta, and the guess here says Cousins would probably jump at the opportunity. 

Still, much must be worked out.

While some in the Washington front office might have questions about what the long-term value should be in a Cousins contract, the team still has some control. They can place the franchise tag on Cousins this season, like they did last season, and work until mid-summer on a multi-year deal. Or Cousins can again play on a franchise tag in 2017, like he did in 2016 and passed for nearly 5,000 yards.

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What makes Schefter's report the most interesting is the mention of the No. 2 overall pick. Observing the Redskins in 2016, it became obvious the team needs more impact players on defense, and with the second overall pick combined with their own 17th pick and eight more after that, that could deliver an immediate boost. 

Whatever boost a package of draft picks might bring in will be hard pressed to match the production of Cousins. Finding a starting quarterback in the NFL is exceptionally hard, and while Cousins has shown flashes of a special player, he has certainly confirmed he is a capable player in two seasons at the helm of Jay Gruden's offense.

Scot McCloughan and the Redskins brain trust have a few more weeks before free agency, and with it, the deadline to again place the franchise tag on Cousins. It's nearly impossible to see a scenario where Cousins hits the open market this season, but if the No. 2 overall pick comes into play, other scenarios start to seem more possible. 

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!