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With Cowboys help, Redskins have clear path to playoffs - except for wacky tie scenario

With Cowboys help, Redskins have clear path to playoffs - except for wacky tie scenario

After the Cowboys beat the Lions on Monday night, in turn helping the Redskins, the path to the playoffs for Kirk Cousins and Washington is clear - except for one obscure scenario. 

Dallas has locked up the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC, and beating the Lions drops Detroit's record to 9-6. That means the Redskins will make the playoffs as long as they beat the Giants next week on New Year's Day. 

Unless it doesn't.

Next Sunday, the Lions will play the Packers, and Green Bay also has a 9-6 record. The overwhelming odds say that the victor of the game between Detroit and Green Bay will win the NFC North and the other team will miss the postseason.

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But a sliver of a possibility remains to keep Washington out of the playoffs, even if they beat the Giants: If the Packers and Lions finish in a tie, then the 'Skins are out.

In that scenario, all three teams would finish 9-6-1, and Green Bay would win the NFC North by virtue of a head-to-head win over the Lions in Week 3. And thanks to a Week 7 win over the Redskins, the Lions would get the 6th and final NFC playoff spot instead of Washington. 

The odds of a tie in the NFL are small, but it will be a frequent topic of discussion this week that the Packers and Lions would mutually benefit from the result. It's silly to think either team would play for the tie - both teams obviously would prefer to win the division and get a home playoff game - but should a close game linger into overtime, it would not be a surprise if either coach played conservative, knowing a tie would still result in a playoff game. 

In his Monday press conference, Jay Gruden made clear he would have his Redskins team focused solely on the Giants, as that is all his squad can control. That's the right attitude, regardless of the bizarre tie scenario looming.

 

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If Luke Kuechly wants to coach, would Ron Rivera hire him for the Redskins?

If Luke Kuechly wants to coach, would Ron Rivera hire him for the Redskins?

One of the best linebackers of the last decade, Luke Kuechly retired from football this week in a move that stunned many. For years Kuechly has dealt with injuries, including multiple concussions, and decided his body could not withstand anymore life in the NFL. 

Or at least being on the field. 

A new NFL Network report suggested that Kuechly could be looking to stay in the game in a coaching or consulting role, and that it could happen this season. 

"I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Luke Kuechly in the NFL. As a player we have," Mike Garafolo said on Good Morning Football.

The natural question for Redskins fans becomes if Kuechly could land in Washington. New Redskins coach Ron Rivera was with the Panthers when the team drafted Kuechly ninth overall in 2012, and the duo worked closely together. It's been widely reported that Kuechly and Rivera have a strong relationship too. 

When Kuechly announced his retirement, Rivera took to Twitter to compare the linebacker to Hall of Famers Mike Singletary and Brian Urlacher. Rivera also said he "will remember Luke’s sense of humor, his leadership & 4 being a great teammate."

The Redskins recently announced their assistant coaches and linebackers coach Steve Russ worked with Kuechly for the past two seasons in Carolina. There is no assistant linebackers coach on the staff, but that's a role that could be created. There are few rules about assistant coaches in the NFL; for example, last season the Redskins employed an inside linebackers coach and an outside linebackers coach because they played a 3-4 system. This year the team will play the 4-3. 

It's unclear what role Kuechly would want, and while the connection to Rivera is obvious, so is the connection to Carolina. 

"Certainly the Panthers would love to have him be a part of their organization in some capacity," Garafolo said. 

What happens next for Kuechly remains unknown. He just retired from football a few days ago. He might need time to make his next series of decisions. 

Based on Rivera's actions so far as the new Redskins boss, however, it would not be a surprise at all if the head coach tries to get Kuechly to Washington. Rivera has hired just about everyone else that was with the Panthers in the last decade; why not add one more?

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Jason Garrett reportedly to stay in NFC East, becomes Giants offensive coordinator

Jason Garrett reportedly to stay in NFC East, becomes Giants offensive coordinator

Former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett has agreed to become the new offensive coordinator of the New York Giants, according to a report from ESPN

He will join the staff of first-year head coach Joe Judge.

Garrett was recently let go after a 10-year unimpressive stint with the Dallas Cowboys. In that span, he only led the team to three playoff appearances and with that two playoff wins. 

The team underperformed in 2019 after starting the season with Super Bowl aspirations. Stumbling to an 8-8 record, It became clear that Garrett was the not the answer at head coach. Following the end of the regular season, the team decided to go in another direction replacing him with former Packers coach Mike McCarthy.

The Princeton alum led the Cowboys to an 85-67 overall record during his tenure in Dallas.

As a former backup QB for the Giants (2000-03) and Cowboys (1993-99), he has an extensive background in game-planning against the NFC East.

Judge was named head coach on Jan. 7 after spending eight seasons with the Patriots. He was promoted to special teams coordinator in 2015, and also became the team's wide receiver coach in 2019.

Garrett and Judge will be tasked with developing a young roster with some intriguing options at their disposal, as well as the No. 4 overall pick in April's draft.

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