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NFC wild card race gets tighter but Redskins still in control

NFC wild card race gets tighter but Redskins still in control

The objects in the Redskins’ rearview mirror really are as close as they appear.

With one relevant game to go in Week 12, the 6-4-1 Redskins are still in the driver’s seat for the sixth and final NFC playoff spot. But they need to keep their foot on the gas as their margin for error is slim.

With a win over the Seahawks on Sunday the Buccaneers moved to 6-5 and the Vikings dropped to 6-5 after they lost to the Lions on Thanksgiving. Both of those teams are a half game behind the Redskins. The Eagles could join that group if they win at home over the Packers on Monday night.

Meanwhile, the Giants won over the Browns to move to 8-3. Nobody has clinched anything but New York is very much in control of the top wild card spot. Their schedule gets considerably tougher in the coming weeks, and they could falter, but for the time being we will put them into fifth seed, the top wild card spot, and look at what’s happening with the race for the sixth seed.

Here are the non-division leading NFC teams who have at least six wins plus the Eagles and their remaining schedules.

Redskins (6-4-1), @Cardinals, @Eagles, Panthers, @Bears, Giants
Bucs (6-5), @Chargers, Saints, @Cowboys, @Saints, Panthers
Vikings (6-5), Cowboys, @Jaguars, Colts, @Packers, Bears
Eagles (5-5), Packers, @Bengals, Redskins, @Ravens, Giants, Cowboys

—Wins in their last five games to move to 11-4-1 would clinch a playoff spot for the Redskins. No other team in the wild card picture can get to more than 10 wins. If the Redskins go 4-1 the rest of the way either the Bucs, Vikings, or Eagles would have to sweep their remaining games to knock the Redskins out of the No. 6 spot.

—While the Redskins are capable of getting hot and winning four or all five of their remaining games a 3-2 finish seems more realistic. If they finish 9-6-1 a team would have to go 10-6 to finish ahead of them. The Bucs or Vikings would need to win four out of five pass Washington and the Eagles would need five wins in their last six starting tonight.

—The only team the Redskins play that currently has a winning record is the Giants in the season finale. The Bucs and Vikings also play just one team over .500 each while the Eagles’ last four games are all against winning teams who are either leading their division or in a wild card position.  

—The Redskins and Bucs has three of their last five games on the road. Both the Vikings and Eagles have three of their final five at home, plus the Eagles are at home tonight.

—The wild cards in the wild card races are the games in Weeks 16 and 17. Will the Giants have their playoff position locked in when they come to FedEx on January 1? Will the Cowboys want Tony Romo to knock off some rust in the season finale in Philly? How badly will the Packers want to play spoiler to the Vikings’ hopes?

MORE: Questions mounting for Dustin Hopkins, but he's not making excuses

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Bashaud Breeland the latest former Redskin to fail a physical; won't be signing with Panthers

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Bashaud Breeland the latest former Redskin to fail a physical; won't be signing with Panthers

The Redskins had to say good bye to several key players as the 2018 NFL free agency period began.

Cornerback Bashaud Breeland was one of those players.

On Tuesday, Breeland reported agreed to a 3-year, $24 million deal with the Carolina Panthers.

But on Friday afternoon it was reported that Breeland failed a physical, which means he won't be signing with the Panthers, per Panthers reporter Bill Voth.


If this sounds familiar, it's because it is familiar.

Redskins wide receiver Ryan Grant intended on signing a four-year, $29 million deal with the Ravens. But a failed physical just a day before his introductory press conference meant a voided contract and back to the drawing board.

According to multiple reports, Breeland's failed physical was due to a recent non-football injury. Breeland and the Panthers could still come to an agreement, but the former Clemson star is now back to being a free agent and will have to pass a physical before officially signing with a new team.

According to ESPN's David Newton, Breeland injured his foot on vacation in the Dominican Republic and will need his skin grafted in order to repair the injury.

The Redskins were one of the NFL's most injured teams in 2017, and that trend appears to have extended to the offseason.


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With Zach Brown back, a look at the Redskins' inside linebackers depth chart

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With Zach Brown back, a look at the Redskins' inside linebackers depth chart

The Redskins went into the offseason with their inside linebacker position very much up in the air. Starters Zach Brown and Mason Foster and top backup Will Compton were all heading into unrestricted free agency. They faced the prospect of needing to start all over.

Things started to look better in late January when Foster re-signed, agreeing to a two-year deal. “I had unfinished business here,” Foster said at the time.

As long as Brown remained unsigned, the Redskins also had unfinished business. They got it done yesterday as Brown inked what is reported to be a three-year deal worth $24 million. We will need to see some details to know just what the contract entails but it looks like a fair deal for both sides.


Compton remains unsigned. With Brown and Foster back he will not be in line for a starting job. We will see how things shake out for him.

Looking at the players under contract, the Redskins have Zach Vigil, who played well as a starter late in the season after injuries struck, Martrell Spaight, and Josh Harvey-Clemons.  

Vigil was released on the final roster cut and returned on November 15 after Compton went to injured reserve. He had 55 total tackles in seven games. If you project that out over a 16-game season that’s 126 tackles, which would have placed him in the top 10 in the NFL. He also plays special teams well. Vigil went from expendable last September to a very valued reserve at this point in time.

Spaight has been a spot starter when starters have been injured. This will be an important year for him as he goes into the final year of the contract he signed after the Redskins made him a fifth-round pick in the 2015 draft.


The Redskins might have been happier if Harvey-Clemons, a 2017 seventh-round pick, didn’t have to play all last year but injuries forced him into a regular role. He was converting from college safety to NFL nickel linebacker and was very much considered to be a project. Harvey-Clemons still needs to add some weight and he has a lot to learn. Still, even if injuries don’t hit this year he should play considerably more than the 93 snaps he logged as a rookie.

The Redskins usually carry nine total linebackers, going with either five inside and four outside or vice versa. So they could be set or perhaps they will bring back Compton or sign another veteran to compete with Spaight for the last roster spot.  

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.