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Championship Sunday: Tandler & JP make picks in Atlanta/Green Bay and Pittsburgh/New England

Championship Sunday: Tandler & JP make picks in Atlanta/Green Bay and Pittsburgh/New England

Since the Redskins are not participating in this year’s playoffs, CSN Redskins Insiders Rich Tandler and JP Finlay are going to pick the NFL playoff games and offer a little analysis along the way. Need we say that this is for recreational purposes only?

Let us know where we went wrong in the comments section. Records to date: Tandler (6-2), JP (5-3).

Sunday conference championship games

Packers at Falcons (-5.0)

Related: A team to watch in the Cousins situation

Tandler: This looks like one that will go to whoever has be ball last. One key will be the actual health of the favorite targets of Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan. Both Jordy Nelson (ribs) and Julio Jones (toe) will play. But there is a difference between showing up with a helmet a shoulder pads on and contributing to the level that will make a difference in the game. My impression from reports is that Jones will be more fully functional than Nelson. That’s advantage Ryan and the Falcons. Falcons 41, Packers 35

Finlay: When the playoffs began I predicted the Falcons to lose to the Patriots in the Super Bowl, and I can't back off that now. Green Bay's run has been magic, but it's tough to keep winning road playoff games. This game will be run on offense as many expect, but it will be the Atlanta run game that proves too much for the Packers to stop. I'm not sure about laying five points, but considering Vegas will desperately need Dan Quinn's team to cover, I don't mind it either. If you want a play on this game, be a contrarian and take the under. Atlanta wins this game on the ground. Falcons 30, Packers 24

More Redskins: Will the first round fall into place?

Steelers at Patriots (-6.0)

Tandler: The Patriots haven’t faced anything resembling a top-notch NFL quarterback since Week 10 when they played Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. That also happens to be the last time they lost. They face a big-time QB today in Ben Roethlisberger. They also face the best running back in the game in Le’Veon Bell and one of the best receivers in Antonio Brown. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will be tested like they haven’t been in over two months. If it sounds like I’m leading up to picking the Steelers, I’m not. We’ve seen this movie before and the Patriots usually are the ones smiling at the end. But I will take the points. Patriots 24, Steelers 20

Finlay: Tandler laid it out well, plenty of reasons to like Pittsburgh. Ben, Brown, Bell lead the effort of an impressive offense. But something about the Tom Brady Deflategate Revenge Tour leads me to believe New England won't lose this one. I like the points too, but asked for a winner, gimme the Pats in a somewhat high-scoring affair. Patriots 30, Steelers 26

Related: A team to watch in the Cousins situation


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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Growing rumors that Redskins will land Pernell McPhee

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Growing rumors that Redskins will land Pernell McPhee

Every team in the NFL would love to add to their pass rush, and the Redskins are no exception. The team withdrew its contract offer to Junior Galette, spurring rumors that they were looking elsewhere.

The Redskins recently had linebacker Pernell McPhee in for a visit, and rumors are swirling that the former Bear is close to joining the Burgundy and Gold.

Nothing has been confirmed, but if McPhee does come to Washington, it would be in the hopes that he can provide a boost to the team's pass rush. The linebacker has proven himself capable of getting to the quarterback in his seven seasons in the NFL, recording 31.0 sacks in his career, with 21.5 of those coming in the last four years. He's also forced at least one fumble in each of the past five seasons.

Playing in the DMV again would mark a homecoming of sorts for McPhee, who played in Baltimore for 4 seasons after being drafted by the Ravens in the 5th round of the 2011 draft before signing in Chicago as a free agent.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—D-line scoop, Alex Smith's big deal

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—D-line scoop, Alex Smith's big deal

Here is what you need to know on this Saturday, March 24, 33 days before the NFL draft.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington.

Free agency update: What's next for the Redskins on the D-line? The Redskins have been casting out lines for defensive linemen since before free agency officially started but they haven’t been able to reel one in. Part of the issue might be that they know that Vita Vea and Da’Ron Payne are likely to be available in the draft. They have to balance spending big on a lineman vs. being able to get one pretty cheap for the next five years.

Redskins make a D-line contract change, gain roster flexibility—Speaking of the D-line, the team negotiated the removal of a salary guarantee for one player to give themselves more flexibility when it comes time to cut the roster down to 53 in September. See the post for details.

Redskins guarantee Alex Smith a whopping $71 million in new contract—In the words of Joe Biden, this is a big f-----g deal. It showed that the Redskins aren’t afraid to pay a quarterback big money if they think it’s the right guy. It should be noted that whether or not they chose the right guy is something that remains to be seen. Although the post shows that it’s plausible for the Redskins to terminate the deal after three years, I anticipate Smith playing out at least four if not all five years of the contract.

Redskins add another ex-Cowboy as they sign Scandrick—Orlando Scandrick has struggled with injuries the past few years and Redskins fans did not greet the news of his signing with great enthusiasm, to say the least. To point out the bright side, his contract is not pricey by NFL terms ($2.6 million cap hit this year, no guaranteed money beyond a $1 million signing bonus) and from what I have been able to gather it’s possible that change of scenery might give him a boost for a year or two.

Tweet of the week

Well before free agency started, I wrote that the Redskins’ top priorities in free agency should be to get extensions done for Smith, Brandon Scherff, and Jamison Crowder. They should have about $15 million to work with after a few more free agent signings and that would be plenty to get all of those extensions done. And if they do score a big free agent signing, it would be worth it to restructure the contract of someone like Ryan Kerrigan to get them done.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.


Days until:

—Offseason workouts begin (4/16) 23
—Training camp starts (approx. 7/26) 124
—2018 NFL season starts (9/9) 169

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