Heading into the bye week, the Redskins are a lowly 1-8. If it wasn't for a botched two-point conversion by the Dolphins, that record could easily be 0-9. Not good. Not good at all.
Teams in this situation will continue to preach that their focus is on the last seven games of the season, and nothing else. That's fair, but for those on the outside, a lost season in November means it's time to start looking ahead to that big event in April that can help shift the franchise in a new direction. Yes, this is an NFL Draft story, and yes, it's being posted before Thanksgiving.
Unlike in past years where Washington has been really good at finishing right around .500, this year potentially offers a chance at one of the top picks, if not the top one. Sure, you probably wish the team wasn't 1-8 right now, but the NFL doesn't listen to fan wishes all that often, especially in D.C.
Being that the Redskins record is so abysmal about halfway through the season, you'd probably be thinking to yourself, "Hey, this first overall pick is going to be awesome!" Well, unfortunately being the worst isn't even that easy to do in the NFL anymore. In 2019, there are a plethora of teams who seem to be allergic to winning. Going into Week 10, there are EIGHT teams with two or fewer wins. Oof.
What this means is that the race for the No. 1 pick is not even close to being over. With eight weeks to go, let's evaluate where the worst of the worst stand and their chances of being on the clock first come April.
1. Cincinnati Bengals (0-8)
Zac Taylor's first year could not have gotten off to a worse start. Winless, no A.J. Green and now the Bengals are opting to go with rookie Ryan Finley over Andy Dalton coming out of the bye. With their remaining games against the Ravens, Raiders, Steelers, Patriots and Browns (2), the Bengals are probably going to have 14 losses if everything plays out the way it should. It's what happens in their other two games that will determine the draft order.
With matchups against the Jets and Dolphins still to come, 0-16 isn't a lock just yet. We'll have to see how Finley looks in his first NFL action. But considering the Dolphins don't have much to work with, and the Jets just lost to the Dolphins, there's a chance to win one or even two games.
Where they stand: It's up in the air. Being the only winless team remaining gives them a slight edge as of now, but beating the Jets and Dolphins seems reasonable. For the Bengals, 2-14 might not get you the first pick this year.
2. Washington Redskins (1-8)
The Redskins have a bye this week, and plenty of roster questions will follow come Week 11. The biggest will be who starts at quarterback, as reports state it will most likely be Dwayne Haskins again.
Either way, Washington's biggest draft-decider game will come next week against the Jets. Otherwise, matchups with the Lions, Panthers, Packers, Eagles and Cowboys are less than favorable. Maybe the Redskins can beat the Giants in Week 16, but their performance in Week 4 doesn't provide a ton of hope.
Where they stand: The Redskins will remain in the race for the first pick throughout the remaining months. 2-14 or 1-15 are the most likely outcomes. 3-13 maybe, but this is the Redskins we're talking about.
3. New York Jets (1-7)
Listen, it's hard to understand how the Jets embarrassed themselves that badly against the Dolphins. How did that team beat the Cowboys just a few weeks ago? It's not crazy to think that the Jets have an easier schedule and some talent to get them a few more wins, but it's hard to know what to believe anymore.
Where they stand: Losing to the Dolphins was insane, but it helped the Jets stay in the conversation for No. 1. However, games with the Giants, Redskins, Bengals and Dolphins again give them chances to pick up some wins. Somehow, they could still be the favorite in a majority of those games and therefore win their way out of contention for the pick. Sports are crazy.
4. Miami Dolphins (1-7)
After watching the Dolphins play about six quarters of football this year, most people would have laughed if you'd told them the first pick wasn't a lock. But, here they are not at No.1.
Games against the Colts, Patriots and Eagles should go as we think. Maybe the Miami magic gets the Bills on the road, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.
As mentioned above, Miami still gets a game with the Bengals as well as a rematch with the Jets and with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm, you never know what magic trick he'll pull off next. In all his years, giving the Dolphins a win was maybe his best feat.
Where they stand: The Dolphins still seem like a favorite to end up at No.1. Playing the Jets in New York should bring a different result, so it will all come down to what happens with Cincinnati.
5. Atlanta Falcons (1-7)
From the cusp of a Super Bowl win to the bottom of the league in just a few seasons. Oh, how the mighty fall.
The Falcons schedule is primarily divisional down the stretch, with two against the Panthers and Buccaneers each and two with the Saints. The Jaguars and 49ers also await. It wouldn't be a surprise if the Falcons took both from Tampa Bay and even added another against the Panthers or Jaguars. But, it also wouldn't surprise anyone at this point if they lost them.
Where they stand: The two games against the Buccaneers give Atlanta chances to win. They shouldn't be ruled out considering they've shown they can lose with the best, but they'll also need the teams above them to run into some wins as well.
6. New York Giants (2-7)
The Giants were once 2-2. They are no longer 2-2. The Daniel Jones experiment is not going that well, but at least their rookie quarterback is getting all of the opportunities. The Redskins, Dolphins and Jets give the Giants good odds to at least have three wins, which is probably too many for No. 1 this year.
Where they stand: Not out of it yet, but right around the mid-top 10 seems about right. Wouldn't it be cool if they took another surprise quarterback again?
7. Cleveland Browns (2-6)
Man, the Redskins may be 1-8, but you could make the case that the Browns season has been as disastrous as anybody. With all the hype coming in, Baker Mayfield's regression, Odell Beckham's disappearance and a lackluster offensive line did not help a team that had a tough first-half schedule.
The wins should come in the second half, however, with the Bengals, Dolphins, Cardinals and Steelers all on the slate.
Where they stand: The Browns won't be getting the first pick, they also probably won't be making the playoffs. At least in year's past fans got to be excited about the high draft pick. Now, it's just all sadness.
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-7)
The Buccaneers pretty much represent Katy Perry's lyrics in "Hot N Cold."
Sometimes Jameis Winston looks good, other times he doesn't look like a quarterback. They dropped 50 on the Rams and hung close with the Seahawks while losing to the Giants and looking like a mess against the Titans.
Where they stand: The Falcons, Saints, Jaguars, Texans, Colts and Lions all remain. While the Texans and Saints are most likely losses, the rest could be closer depending on which team shows up. The first pick doesn't seem likely.
So what did we learn? Well, that plenty of teams are involved in this competition, but by December, there should be a much clearer picture. Now, though, you know who's facing who and where everyone stands as the weather turns cold.
The Redskins are still most definitely in the hunt, and while this is who JP Finlay thinks they could take a No. 3, things could change in the coming weeks. Buckle up, the race to the bottom should be an exciting (?) one.
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