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Need to Know: Will DeSean Jackson be 100-percent for the Redskins?

Need to Know: Will DeSean Jackson be 100-percent for the Redskins?

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, November 15, the day the Washington Redskins host the New Orleans Saints.

PSA: If you’re attending the game today be sure that you take a look at the NFL’s statement on stadium security issued yesterday.

Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Saints

—Despite pronouncements by Jay Gruden and Sean McVay that DeSean Jackson is 100 percent, or very close to it, I’ll believe it when I see it. I’m not a fantasy football player but I think that if you have a reasonable alternative and can’t afford to gamble you might want to consider leaving Jackson on the bench. There is the possibility you could miss out on 110 yards and a touchdown from Jackson but you could also see another five-point performance from him as well.

—The defense is going to be shaken up in an effort to be able to stop the decline that has seen the unit go from being ranked in the top 10 earlier this season into the 21st ranked in terms of yards per game. Will Compton will start at inside linebacker. If Keenan Robinson is healthy, Compton will start in place of Perry Riley. If Robinson is inactive it will be Compton in his place. And Trenton Robinson, who has been playing almost 100 percent of the plays at strong safety, will yield many of his snaps to some combination of Jeron Johnson and Kyshoen Jarrett. Those aren’t huge upgrades but they re improvements.

—Here’s a not-so-bold prediction—the Redskins’ status as one of three NFL teams that has not allowed an opposing quarterback to throw for over 300 yards this year will come to an end. Drew Brees will throw for something around 325. The key to slowing him down will be getting him on the ground (he has taken 22 sacks, a rate of 5.5 percent, 19th in the NFL) and making tackles to limit yards after the catch.

—For yet another game the No. 1 question going in from the standpoint of the Redskins offense is can they get their running game going. They are in the worst four-game rushing stretch in team history, with just 172 yards. Can they break out of it in a big way? Just about any way you want to measure it, the Saints have one of the worst rushing defenses in the NFL. Look for Matt Jones to possibly start at running back and for the Redskins to get things rolling, at least to a respectable extent.

—The Redskins are 3-1 at home and the Saints are 1-3 on the road. New Orleans’ only road win came in the retractable dome in Indianapolis. As I noted in a post earlier this week, Brees does not play as well outdoors as he does in a dome. If Kirk Cousins can protect the ball—in the last nine quarters he has one interception and that pass that bounced out of Pierre Garçon’s hands—the Redskins should put up enough points to win this one and go into the last seven games of the season with four wins under their belts for the first time since 2010.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins vs. Saints 1 p.m., FOX

Days until: Redskins @ Panthers 7; Giants @ Redskins 14; Monday night Cowboys @ Redskins 22

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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.)