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Are the Redskins favored in the division? Depends on who you ask

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Are the Redskins favored in the division? Depends on who you ask

The Redskins are tied for first place in the NFC East with an edge over the Giants in the tiebreaking system. According to one group of numbers crunchers, Washington is now a solid favorite to win the division and the home playoff game that comes with it. But another well-known group of stats nerds is not quite as bullish on their chances.

Prior to their Week 12 game against the Giants, Football Outsiders gave the Redskins a 22 percent chance of winning the NFC East title. New York was the favorite with a 53 percent chance. Washington’s 20-14 win completely flipped the script.

Now it’s the Redskins with a 54 percent chance of taking the division, according to FO. They have the Giants still in the hunt with a 26 percent chance of grabbing the division. Even the Eagles (16 percent) have some life while the Cowboys (2.2 percent) are only mathematically alive.

The guys at FO arrive at the odds by playing out the rest of the season 25,000 times. “A random draw assigns each team a win or loss for each game,” they explain. “The probability that a team will be given a win is based on an equation which considers the current Weighted DVOA ratings of the two teams as well as home-field advantage.”

DVOA is FO’s main measure of team strength. The Redskins have a better weighted DVOA than the other three teams in the NFC East and four of the five teams left on their schedule. Only the Bills, who the Redskins play at home, have performed better.

Before you cancel your January plans, however, let’s look at one stats site that is not as bullish on the Redskins’ playoff chances. FiveThirtyEight.com, a site owned by ESPN, uses a metric called Elo to predict game outcomes and playoff chances. They have the Redskins holding just a 33 percent chance of making the playoffs. Those are better odds than those assigned to the Eagles (15 percent) and Cowboys (7 percent) but they have a considerably worse chance than the Giants (45 percent).

I’m certainly not going to challenge validity of their methods here. But it is puzzling to look at the rankings and see that the Redskins are the bottom team in the division per the Elo metric. Whether you look at how the teams are playing right now or the body of work over the course of the season, it’s hard to rationalize the Redskins being ranked as worse than the Eagles and Cowboys.

There are many other calculators and simulators out there and you can Google them and take your pick. The picture will get clearer as time goes on and if the Redskins should live up to their status as a favorite against the Cowboys and win on Monday night things start to take care of themselves. 

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Is Adrian Peterson a good fit with the Redskins?

Is Adrian Peterson a good fit with the Redskins?

Adrian Peterson is one of the best running backs in NFL history.

But is he the best running back for the Redskins right now?

The Redskins signed Peterson, 33 years old and a 12-year NFL veteran, to a one-year contract. They have been hit with injuries at the running back position, most notably the loss of second-round pick Derrius Guice for the season with a torn ACL. They didn’t make any moves when that diagnosis was announced a week and a half ago. But they lost two more backs to short-term injuries last Thursday and they decided that now is the time to go out and get somebody.

Is the need for a running back really there? Rob Kelley was the starter for the last half of the 2016 season and for seven games last year before a variety of ailments sent him to injured reserve. Samaje Perine became the starter after that and while he struggled at time he also showed growth potential.

Kelley is 25 and Perine is 22. In the absence of Guice, they could develop and when Guice returns next year the team would have a good stable of young running backs.

But now, Peterson is in the picture. We don’t yet know what his role will be, but they did not sign him to be the back who is inactive on game days. He will get some carries and that will take work away from Perine and Kelley.

Now, if Peterson is more productive than either of the two younger backs then that is a worthwhile swap. But what does he have left in the tank at age 33?

Last year, playing for the Saints and Cardinals he gained 529 yards on 156 carries, a very pedestrian average of 3.4 years per carry. That is very similar to the production of Perine, who had 175 carries for 603 yards, a 3.4 average. In his two years in the NFL, Kelley has averaged 3.9 yards per carry.

By signing Peterson, however, the Redskins are hoping that Peterson has one more big year, or at least a medium year by his standards, left in him. After all, it was just in 2015 that he led the NFL in rushing for the third time in his career as he ran for 1,485 yards and averaged 4.5 yards per carry. The Redskins would be delighted if he could get half of that total.

Any free agent signing can only be evaluated when the contract details are available. We only know that it’s a one-year deal and according to some reports he did not get any money guaranteed at signing. That seems to be a team friendly deal, but we will have to see what might kick in if he is on the Week 1 roster.

As with everything else, time will tell if this move works out. If the money is right, it’s a low risk transaction with some possible upside for Washington.

Back during minicamp while talking about how quickly Alex Smith would have to get up to speed with the offense, Jay Gruden said that the Redskins are not in a rebuilding mode and that they need to win now. After the trade for Smith, the Peterson signing is another indication that patience may be wearing thin.

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Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler

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Former MVP Adrian Peterson signing with Redskins amid mounting RB injuries

Former MVP Adrian Peterson signing with Redskins amid mounting RB injuries


The Redskins agreed to terms with free agent running back Adrian Peterson, per multiple reports and confirmed by NBC Sports Washington.

Washington added Peterson as their running back group took a number of hits this preseason. Rookie Derrius Guice was lost for the year in the preseason opener, while Byron Marshall, Martez Carter and Samaje Perine got hurt in the second preseason game against the Jets.

Peterson is a huge name. He’s likely headed for the Hall of Fame when his career ends, and he’s one of only a handful of rushers to gain more than 2,000 yards in a season.

His best seasons came with the Vikings, but Peterson hasn’t delivered top flight results since 2015.

If he’s healthy and ready to go, Peterson could be a tremendous steal for the Redskins. There is no way to know until he suits up in the preseason, which could happen as soon as this Friday night against Denver.

On the roster, Washington has Rob Kelley, Kapri Bibbs and Chris Thompson available at running back. At his best, Peterson is significantly better than that group.

Will the Redskins get Peterson at his best?

That’s the big question. And with two preseason games remaining, he will get the chance to prove it.

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