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The Redskins' season has hit a tipping point, and which direction is unknown

The Redskins' season has hit a tipping point, and which direction is unknown

For the Washington Redskins, Monday night's game in Philadelphia presents a tipping point.

Win, and the Redskins are still on track for an NFC East title and a home playoff game. 

Lose, and the Redskins are on a much different track that would mark the team's third loss in a row. Washington already lost starting quarterback Alex Smith for the season, and last week had to deal with defensive captain D.J. Swearinger calling out his fellow players after a poor effort in a Thanksgiving loss in Dallas. 

Add it all up, and the stakes are quite high in Philly.

"There should be a sense of urgency without a doubt, where we are in the season, what our record is," Washington coach Jay Gruden said Thursday. 

The Eagles need the win too. They're sitting at 5-6, but they have the luxury of coming off their first ever Super Bowl win last season. The Redskins haven't won a single playoff game in the last decade. And the Cowboys are now 7-5, on a four-game win streak after beating the Saints

Should Washington drop the game to the Eagles, they will have squandered a 6-3 start into a 6-6 record. The pressure will mount on Jay Gruden, Bruce Allen and the entire front office. This collection of coaches and personnel executives can point to just one playoff game in their tenure, and that was a loss, as their only postseason "success."

None of this even addresses the recent acquisition of Reuben Foster, something that will drive a large percentage of the fan base even further from the team. 

It's reasonable to believe Gruden and Redskins players when they say that adding Foster - twice accused of domestic violence - will not be a distraction. Signing Foster will have no impact on the blocking or tackling Monday night against the Eagles.

At the same time, adding Foster to a three-game losing streak will only add to the tornado of negativity currently engulfing Redskins Park. 

Players understand the severity of the upcoming game.

"This is the playoffs for us," linebacker Mason Foster said

In every sense of the word, the entire Redskins organization is desperate for win. A loss could bring questions that nobody in Ashburn wants to answer.

The good news, if there is any right now, is that this Washington team has typically responded when their backs are against the wall. That spirit needs to show up in Philadelphia. 

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Somehow, the Redskins still have a fairly straightforward playoff path. Somehow

Somehow, the Redskins still have a fairly straightforward playoff path. Somehow

You're going to feel absurd for reading the following sentence, but probably not as absurd as it felt to type the following sentence.

The Redskins, who are on their fourth option at QB, who made the '18 Giants look like the '72 Dolphins and who are large underdogs this weekend to the 4-9 Jaguars, actually still have a straightforward path to the playoffs.

Now, the word "straightforward" only applies to the path on paper, because realistically, there's nothing straightforward about fixing the litany of issues that are plaguing Washington at the moment.

Regardless, by losing on Monday night to the Seahawks, the Vikings blew a chance to separate themselves from a pack of NFC teams chasing(?) them and their final wild card spot. The Redskins are one of those teams, and here's how they could pass Minnesota to qualify for the postseason:

With the way the season is unfolding, you'd expect the Burgundy and Gold's playoff scenario to involve a bunch of teams losing a bunch of times in these final three weeks. The tweet above illustrates that's clearly not the case. They only need Minnesota to drop one more to go along with the Redskins winning out.

Of course, the Redskins stringing three straight plays together without committing a holding penalty feels like too much to ask for, so anyone expecting a three-game winning streak is either a bit crazy or a relative of Josh Johnson. But still, they're not out of the hunt quite yet. Somehow.

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Jay Gruden not considering changes to his coaching staff

Jay Gruden not considering changes to his coaching staff

The Redskins gave up 40 points and more than 400 yards in a loss to the Giants last Sunday, and that was without Odell Beckham suited up for New York. 

The Redskins have lost four straight games, and five of six, while giving up more than 30 points three times. 

The Redskins surrendered more than 200 rushing yards to the Giants, and have not held an opponent under 100 yards rushing in their last six games. 

You get the idea. 

After the Washington defense got out to an impressive start to the season, things have fallen apart down the stretch.

Despite the struggles, Redskins head coach Jay Gruden has no intention of shaking up his coaching staff.

"No. Not really," Gruden said on the Redskins Talk podcast when asked about any coaching changes. 

As the Redskins struggle and lose their grip on a playoff spot, it's not unheard of to think some staff changes might be coming. The Panthers fired two defensive assistants last weekend, and as the NFL season approaches the finish line, more coaches will lose their jobs. 

In Washington though, it seems the staff is safe. Still, the Giants loss stings. 

The Redskins' offense has been decimated by injuries, particularly at quarterback and along the offensive line. There was some leeway for a loss to New York, but not when the home team got down 40-0 to a 4-8 Giants team. 

That type of deficit brings questions. Questions about the coaches, questions about effort.

On Sunday, Gruden made clear he understands his future is week to week.

"We have a game to win next week in Jacksonville," the coach said. "We have to go about trying to find a way to do it."

On Monday, he made clear his assistants are safe. As far as he is concerned anyway. 

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