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Enemy Intel: Which teams can help Redskins into playoffs?

Enemy Intel: Which teams can help Redskins into playoffs?

The Redskins are holding onto playoff hopes, but they necessarily will be scoreboard watching as soon as their game in Chicago concludes. As the number of contenders shrinks here is my weekly Redskins-centric look around the NFL.

Let’s pull up the wild card contenders and relevant division leaders and their remaining schedules to get a perspective on what’s going on.

Lions (NFC North leaders, 9-5): (@Cowboys, Packers)
Falcons (NFC South leaders, 9-5): (@Panthers, Saints)

Giants (10-5): @Redskins
Packers (8-6): Vikings, @Lions
Bucs (8-6): @Saints, Panthers
Redskins (7-6-1): @Bears, Giants

  • Taking a look back first, the Giants’ loss came a week too late to help the Redskins. They couldn’t catch the Giants going into the game anyway. The only negative is that the loss means that the Cowboys have clinched everything they can clinch, so they won’t have much incentive to beat the Lions on Monday night. That is a game the Redskins may need Dallas to win. But the fact that Dallas is locked into its playoff position might not matter much as you’ll see when we get to that game.

 

  • One route the Redskins have to the playoffs if the win out involves having the Buccaneers to lose one of their two remaining games. They are three-point underdogs at the Saints. New Orleans has not checked out, despite being out of playoff contention, and they probably are going to want to show that their miserable offensive performance in Tampa a couple of weeks ago was a fluke. That said, the Bucs play some tough defense, and it won’t be easy for Drew Brees and company. This one kicks off at 4:25 p.m., so the Redskins will be monitoring it and pulling for the Saints as they head to the airport.

 

  • If the Bucs don’t lose this week or next, the Redskins need the Falcons to lose twice. That would make Tampa Bay the NFC South champions and leave the Falcons at 9-7, behind a 9-6-1 Redskins team if they win out. Atlanta plays the Panthers, who are facing the same short Monday night-Saturday turnaround that the Redskins are. The Redskins hope that the Panthers put up every bit of the fight at home against the Falcons as they did at FedEx Field. The visiting Falcons are favored by 2.5.

 

  • That takes care of the NFC South contenders. Now let’s turn to the NFC North. If the Packers lose to the Vikings and the Bucs lose, the Redskins will have their playoff fate back in their own hands going into Week 17. Green Bay has been on a roll lately while Minnesota has been struggling. Fortunately the Redskins aren’t relying on a Packers loss entirely; it seems like a long shot with the Pack sitting as 6.5-point favorites.

 

  • The final game with Redskins playoff ramifications comes Monday night when the Lions are at the Cowboys. If the Bucs lose Sunday and the Lions lose Monday, the Redskins will be win and in on the last Sunday of the regular season if they beat the Bears. The Lions host the Packers in Week 17. If Detroit loses and the Packers win, that game will be for the NFC North title. The loser would be 9-7 and would lose out to a 9-6-1 Redskins team for the last wild card. If you don’t want to root for the Cowboys, that’s fine, but a Lions loss helps the Redskins.

 

  • For those of you concerned about the Cowboys having no incentive to win against the Lions, look back two years ago. In 2014 Jason Garrett and the Cowboys came in to Washington in Week 17 with the NFC East and the No. 3-seed locked in. Garrett didn’t rest anyone, and he didn’t let up on the gas. Even though Tony Romo had been banged up during the season, he played the entire game. So did DeMarco Murray, who carried 20 times to add to the heavy workload he had pulled all year. Dez Bryant and Jason Witten played extensively. The Cowboys didn’t let off the gas, posting a 44-17 win over the Redskins. There is no reason to think that Garrett will be resting starters with Week 17 plus a bye week to go before the playoffs start.

To sum it up, the Redskins get into the playoffs with a Bucs loss or two Falcons losses AND a Packers loss or two Lions losses. Redskins fans should be pulling for the Saints, Panthers, Vikings, and, well, you know who.

It is possible that the Redskins will qualify for the playoffs if they split their last two games, but they are very remote and I’m sure you don’t want to hear it.

The good news is that I picked five teams that won last week. Unfortunately, the Patriots were the only team that covered. I’m already down one as I had the Giants -2.5 over the Eagles. My other picks are the Ravens +5 over the Steelers, the Cowboys -7 over the Lions and Atlanta -2.5 over the Panthers.

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Redskins365 Episode 2: This Is Where I Wanted To Be

Redskins365 Episode 2: This Is Where I Wanted To Be

Over the 2019 offseason, the Washington Redskins periodically released episodes to a new series called "Redskins 365". Here, viewers can get an all-access look into all the important moments leading up to the 2019-20 season.

In Episode 2 titled "This Is Where I Wanted To Be" the focus in on the players, both new and old.

When free agency opened up during the 2019 offseason the biggest splash the Redskins made was the acquisition of safety Landon Collins. Heading over from a divisional rival, Collins as well as other members of the organization break down the signing and his fit within the team. The safety also shares his story about receiving a Sean Taylor jersey and what it means to join the team his idol played on.

The episode also touches on other free agent signings Ereck Flowers and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie as well as the trade for quarterback Case Keenum. Head coach Jay Gruden gives his thoughts on the newest member of the QB room and explains how he'll fit in with Colt McCoy.

Speaking of McCoy, the show then takes a detour to Austin, Texas. There, McCoy reflects on his time at the University of Texas as well as his up and down NFL career that included a season-ending injury just a season ago.

From one Big 12 star to another, the episode concludes with a spotlight on Adrian Peterson. After a whirlwind first season in Washington, AP is back for more. The always-dependable runner shares his thoughts on his first season and explains how he deals with expectations.

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    Why the Redskins release of Mason Foster makes sense, and what happens next at ILB

    Why the Redskins release of Mason Foster makes sense, and what happens next at ILB

    The Redskins released Mason Foster just one day before the start of training camp, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Washington, and while the move makes sense on the field the timing seems weird. 

    Let's start with explaining why the move makes sense:

    After Reuben Foster blew out his knee during offseason workouts, the team signed veteran linebacker Jon Bostic. In a few weeks, Bostic proved the ability to call plays in the huddle and looked like a strong fit for Washington in their run defense. 

    With Bostic in the fold, and a slew of younger linebackers on the roster in Shaun Dion Hamilton, Josh Harvey-Clemons and Cole Holcomb, Mason Foster's game became expendable in the eyes of the Redskins front office. After all, Foster had previously been the linebacker to call plays in the huddle and his strength was piling up tackles in the run game.

    Add in the fact that releasing Foster clears $4 million in salary cap space, and Bostic counts less than $2 million, and the business side makes sense, too. 

    Why release Mason Foster now?

    The timing on this seems a little odd. The Redskins surely knew that Foster cost more than Bostic a month ago, and they knew about the other young linebackers on the roster. A release after minicamp might have allowed Foster to sign elsewhere already. The good news for Foster is that he won't have to play through training camp in Richmond, and risk injury, before maybe catching on with another team. He can now sign anywhere else. 

    Looking beyond the immediate impact to Foster, the Redskins could be freeing cap space for a subsequent move. Maybe there's a player available in free agency now that they want to make a run at, or they expect a player to become available.

    It's also entirely possible the money from releasing Foster could be used to get more cash to contract holdout Trent Williams or towards a Brandon Scherff extension. Keep in mind, however, that releasing Foster is only about a 2 percent difference on the overall salary cap. His release is not making or breaking any deal. 

    What's next for Redskins?

    Foster was the team's leading tackler last season and in two of the past three seasons. His absence will be missed, but the Washington brain trust must believe that production can be replaced. Expect Bostic and Hamilton to start when training camp opens, and Harvey-Clemons to work as the nickel linebacker. This also could mean a much greater opportunity for the rookie Holcomb. 

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