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Enemy Intel: Plenty of Redskins' rivals for playoff spots in action today

Enemy Intel: Plenty of Redskins' rivals for playoff spots in action today

Here is my weekly Redskins-centric look around the NFL:

—The only NFC East team in action on Sunday is the Giants, who visit the winless Browns. Everyone says that the Browns will win a game at some point and you might say that this is a classic trap game for the Giants, who have the Steelers and Cowboys in the next two weeks. But it seems likely that the Giants will get the win and move to 8-3, a game and a half ahead of the Redskins.  

—If the Redskins can win three of their last five they would finish at 9-6-1. There are just a few teams that would be able to get to 10 wins, taking that last wild card spot from the Redskins, without running the table over their remaining games. One of those teams is the Bucs, who are 5-5. They have a tough game today against the Seahawks, arguably the best team in the NFC. The game is at Raymond James Stadium but you still have to think that the Seahawks will get it done. The schedule makers did the Seahawks a solid by putting this game at 4:05 for no particular reason. That means that Seattle will not have to start a game at what would be 10 a.m. in their normal time zone.

—Another team the Redskins will have to keep their eye on is the Cardinals. At 4-5-1 they could finish with the same record as the Redskins and their head-to-head meeting coming next week could decide a playoff spot if Arizona gets hot down the stretch. They have a road game in Atlanta, not an easy place to play. Although the Falcons’ defense is highly suspect, they can flat out score on anyone. Should the Cardinals lose, they would no path to 10 wins.

—The Eagles are 5-5 and they face the Packers (4-6) on Monday night. Green Bay is now on a four-game losing streak. We thought they would show that wounded animal fight last Sunday in Washington and to an extent they did—the game was closer than the 42-24 final score indicated. They probably will show the same fight against the Eagles and we’ll see how Carson Wentz and company respond to a desperate Aaron Rodgers.

—To close the loop here, the 6-5 Vikings are the only other team in the NFC that can get to 10 wins without running the table. The played on Thanksgiving and they host the Cowboys this Thursday.

—It’s important to note that all but two teams in the NFC can get to 10 wins and knock a 9-6-1 Redskins team out of the playoffs. In addition to the Cardinals the Panthers, Saints, Rams, and Packers all have four wins with six to play. It would behoove the Redskins to win at least four out of their last five but that will be a difficult task.

—So, to sum up who Redskins fans should be rooting for, it's the Browns, Seahawks, Falcons, Packers, and next Thursday, yes, the Cowboys. 

—Last week I ran the table for the first time, going 3-0 on Sunday with the Cowboys, Redskins, and Seahawks all winning and covering. This week I have three more teams giving points with the Saints -7 over the Rams, the Seahawks -5.5 on the road vs. the Bucs, and the Falcons -4 against Cardinals.

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Alarming appearance shows Colt McCoy on crutches nearly four months after injury (VIDEO)

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USA Today

Alarming appearance shows Colt McCoy on crutches nearly four months after injury (VIDEO)

Colt McCoy broke his leg in December, and a few weeks later was seen in the Redskins locker room moving around without crutches. 

In fact, shortly after his injury, Washington head coach Jay Gruden said that McCoy might have played had the Redskins made the playoffs. 

So it comes at a peculiar moment when McCoy was shown on Sunday moving around with the help of a pair of crutches. 

With Alex Smith expected to miss at least the 2019 season after suffering his own broken leg last fall, some expected McCoy to get a chance at the Redskins top QB spot this fall. 

Then, the team moved to get Case Keenum from Denver in February, which clouded McCoy’s chances. Washington’s top brass explained Keenum and McCoy would battle it out for the QB1 position. 

Now, however, naturally the question comes if the ‘Skins had to acquire Keenum because there was a setback with McCoy’s recovery or another injury popped up. 

Right now, there’s no answer. 

Soon there will be. 

Jay Gruden will talk with the media on Tuesday morning during the NFL League Meetings in Phoenix. While there are plenty of topics to discuss with the Redskins head coach, now McCoy will be high on the list. 

For fans worried by McCoy’s crutches, keep in mind many NFL players get procedures done in the offseason to clean up old injuries or scar tissue. 

It’s March and the Redskins won’t play a game until September. That’s plenty of time. 

Depending on the severity of McCoy’s situation, there could be questions about his availability for offseason workouts or training sessions. 

Another quarterback seems likely to join the Redskins this offseason regardless of McCoy’s availability. 

The team must add a passer on an affordable rookie deal, as neither Keenum or McCoy is under contract beyond this year. Alex Smith is, but it’s not even close to a given he can return by 2020, despite carrying more than $20 million in salary next year. 

Stay tuned. NBC Sports Washington will be on the ground in Phoenix and working to clarify the McCoy situation. 

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2019 Redskins Draft Bracket: DK Metcalf and TJ Hockenson would inject the offense with needed talent

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USA TODAY Sports

2019 Redskins Draft Bracket: DK Metcalf and TJ Hockenson would inject the offense with needed talent

NBC Sports Washington wants Redskins fans to help decide the team's ideal 2019 first-round pick by voting in the Redskins Draft Bracket on Twitter. Before you vote, though, take in this breakdown of the next matchup.

Looking for a stat to describe the rough season the Redskins receivers had in 2018? Well, there's tons to choose from.

The team's wideouts had the second-fewest catches of 20-plus yards in the league. Antonio Brown had more grabs, yards and touchdowns than Washington's top three targets combined. Josh Doctson led the squad in receiving yards — with a measly 532.

You could easily find plenty more, but those three are all you need to realize that DK Metcalf should absolutely be on the franchise's mind when it comes to their first-round pick this April.

While Metcalf's numbers at Ole Miss won't overly impress you, his athleticism and potential explosiveness as a pro absolutely does. That's why it's no surprise the WR met with the Redskins while at the Combine, as Jay Gruden and Co. are well aware that they must become more dangerous on the outside.

As with any prospect, there are questions with Metcalf. He only had 67 catches in 21 games in school, and while he shredded most of the drills in Indianapolis, his short area agility numbers were worse than Tom Brady. That's not great.

Regardless, he'd instantly become the offense's scariest athlete, and you have to like his chances of at least contributing splash plays early while he learns the nuances of the NFL.

The 'Skins don't just need improvement out wide, however. Jordan Reed was largely ineffective despite playing for much of 2018, Vernon Davis is 35 years old and Jeremy Sprinkle isn't much of a threat in the air at tight end.

Perhaps TJ Hockenson could be their answer. NFL.com says the Iowa product "is an ascending talent with a chance to become one of the best all-around tight ends in the game." 

One problem the Burgundy and Gold have encountered in recent years is Reed and Davis don't help much as blockers, while Sprinkle won't worry a defense with his hands. Taking Hockenson at pick No. 15 would mean Gruden could finally have a guy who excels in both areas.

It remains to be seen whether Metcalf or Hockenson will last until the Redskins' choice, as they could continue to rise up boards as the draft draws closer. If both or either is there, however, they need to be heavily considered. 

While the offense may have to be run-oriented again in 2019, it still needs more weapons for whoever is under center. They won't be able to grind out 13-play scoring drives every time they need a TD, and grabbing Metcalf or Hockenson would go a long way in introducing a new element to the group.

You've heard the case for both players. Now, retweet or like depending on whom you'd prefer to see move on in the bracket.

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