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Need to Know: Redskins' Kerrigan is starting to heat up

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Need to Know: Redskins' Kerrigan is starting to heat up

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, December 1, six days before the Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night football.

Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Giants

—One of the under the radar numbers from Sunday was the time of possession, where the Redskins held ad edge of 36:00 to 24:00. Their average time of possession per game this year is 31:06, which is seventh in the NFL. Considering they haven’t been able to run the ball very well for the most part that’s pretty impressive.

—The Redskins have been looking for either Matt Jones or Alfred Morris to take command at running back and neither has really stepped up. But the answer could be to hand the ball to Morris and pass it to Jones. Against the Saints and Giants (neither did much against the Panthers), Morris had 170 yards rushing and Jones had 176 receiving. Sure you need to hand the ball to Jones sometimes and pass to Morris. But figuring out a way for each player to do what he’s been doing best seems to be the logical way to go.

—Rookie defensive back Kyshoen Jarrett set the tone early when he clobbered WR Dwayne Harris, who was trying to haul in a tipped pass. The ball popped back up in the air and Will Blackmon, who had originally tipped the pass, picked it off. Jarrett played 63 snaps, some at nickel, some at safety. With all of the injuries in the secondary, Jarrett’s versatility has been vital. He’s been an excellent sixth-round pickup.

—Fans are pretty excited about rookie Quinton Dunbar’s play including his third-quarter interception. So was Preston Smith: “Man, I was so excited for Quinton. I don’t know if I might have been just as excited as he was or more excited. To see a guy like that work so hard and finally get an opportunity to go out there and play and then, you know, in a game like this to get a lot of playing time, a lot of respect out for him.” Excited indeed.

—Ryan Kerrigan is starting to heat up. He went for about a calendar month and a half without getting a sack but now he has three in his last two games. The fifth-year linebacker said yesterday that he felt better than he has all season, a tacit admission that he wasn’t 100-percent up until recently. Kerrigan was hampered by a knee that required an offseason procedure and then by a broken hand. His 6.5 sacks have him in the top 20 in the NFL, tied for 17th. The Redskins expect better out of him and Kerrigan expects better out of himself. Maybe this is the start of a roll that will help both him and the team reach their goals.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Players off, no media availability

Days until: Monday night Cowboys @ Redskins 6; Redskins @ Bears 12; Bills @ Redskins 19

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2018 NFL Draft order has Redskins pick nearing top ten as losses stockpile

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USA Today Sports Images

2018 NFL Draft order has Redskins pick nearing top ten as losses stockpile

LOS ANGELES — Some years, the December talk is of playoff tiebreakers.

Other years, it’s about draft position.

This is one of those “other” years.

The Redskins’ current skid of four losses in their last five games has knocked them out of playoff contention but into more favorable position in the 2018 NFL Draft, which is scheduled to take place in late April.

The Redskins' record is 5-8 through Week 14,  and if the season ended today, Washington would be picking either 11th or 12th in the first round.

Here’s the big picture: As of Monday, there are eight teams that have fewer wins than Washington. All of them would be picking ahead of the Redskins. 

The Bengals and Jets also have eight losses so the one and only draft order tiebreaker would be applied.

RELATED: NEW 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT 3.0

This does not work out well for the Redskins.

The NFL Draft tiebreaker is strength of schedule with the teams with the weaker schedules getting the better picks. I am sure you have heard about how tough a schedule the Redskins have all year long. It was a point of pride for many fans. But now it comes back to bite them.

The Jets (opponents winning percentage .488) and the Bengals (.444) have faced weaker schedules than the Redskins (.574). That pushes Washington back to 11th.

RELATED: FEW UPS, MANY DOWNS VS. CHARGERS

But there is a Week 14 game pending. The Dolphins, who have seven losses, play the Patriots on Monday Night Football. If they lose and join the eight-loss group, they would jump ahead of the Redskins based on the SOS tiebreaker, pushing Washington back to 12th.

Of course, the season doesn’t end today and a lot can happen.

But if the bottom doesn’t completely fall out it seems likely that they will end up somewhere between 10th and 12th in the first round.

We will be looking at what that might mean for the Redskins in the coming days and weeks as the offseason comes early for the Redskins one more time.

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NFL Playoff Picture: NFC bracket projection starting to come into focus

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USA Today Sports

NFL Playoff Picture: NFC bracket projection starting to come into focus

The NFC Playoff picture is no clearer in Week 14 than it was in Week 8.

Throughout the 2017-18 NFL season, the NFC in particular has been a gauntlet. So much of a gauntlet that one of the league’s best in the past five years, the Seattle Seahawks, sit outside of the postseason with an 8-5 record.

As of the conclusion of Week 14’s action, only the Philadelphia Eagles (11-2) have locked up a postseason spot.

The Eagles claimed the NFC East for the first time since 2013 with a win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. The will clinch a first round bye with a win and losses by the Saints and the Panthers this weekend.

The Minnesota Vikings (10-3) with their loss remains second in the conference, still within striking range over the overall No. 1 seed.

With losses to the two teams ahead of them, the Rams (9-4) have a tough hill to climb to claim a first-round bye, but first they need to get back in the win column.

For the WildCard berths there was a wrench thrown into many teams plans with the Atlanta Falcons (8-5) defeating the New Orleans Saints (9-4) on Thursday night. Atlanta owns a tiebreaker over pretty much every team chasing them for the final playoff spot.

For the five remaining unclaimed spots in the postseason, 10 teams are still alive.

After Week 15 though, that number could dwindle down significantly.

RELATED: NEW 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT 3.0

NFC Playoff Picture Week 15

NFC PLAYOFF BRACKET PROJECTION:
— #1 Philadelphia Eagles* (11-2) vs. BYE
— #2 Minnesota Vikings (10-3) vs. BYE
— #3 Los Angeles Rams (9-4) vs. #6 Atlanta Falcons (8-5)
— #4 New Orleans Saints (9-4) vs. #5 Carolina Panthers (9-4)

NFC TEAMS IN THE PLAYOFF HUNT:
— Seattle Seahawks (8-5)
— Detroit Lions (7-6)
— Green Bay Packers (7-6)
— Dallas Cowboys (7-6)
— Arizona Cardinals (6-7)

NFC TEAMS ELIMINATED FROM PLAYOFF PICTURE:
— Washington Redskins (5-8)
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9)
— Chicago Bears (4-9)
— San Francisco 49ers (3-10)
— New York Giants (2-11)

SEEDING NOTES:
— Eagles own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Rams, Panthers.
— Vikings own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Rams, Saints, and Falcons.
— Saints own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Panthers.
— Rams own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Saints.
— Panthers own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Vikings.

WILD CARD NOTES:
— Panthers own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Lions.
— Falcons own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Lions, Packers, Cowboys, and Seahawks.
— Lions own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Cardinals.
— Packers own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Seahawks, Cowboys.
— Cowboys own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Cardinals.

Week 15 NFC Games With Playoff Implications:

Sat., Dec 16: Bears at Lions (4:30 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Bengals at Vikings (1:00 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Jets at Saints (1:00 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Eagles at Giants (1:00 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Cardinals at Redskins (1:00 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Panthers at Packers (1:00 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Rams at Seahawks (4:05 p.m.)
Sun., Dec 17: Cowboys at Raiders (8:30 p.m.)
Mon., Dec 18: Falcons at Buccaneers (8:30 p.m.)