Need to Know: Redskins in a definitive must-win game vs. Giants


Here is what you need to know on this Monday, December 26, six days before the Washington Redskins host the New York Giants.


Today's schedule: Jay Gruden news conference 3:00

Days until: Giants @ Redskins, New Year’s Day 6; Wild card playoff round starts 12

Injuries of note:
RB Kelley (knee), CB Breeland (ankle), S Whitner (quad), WR Jackson (jaw)
Postgame injury report

The definitive must-win game on tap this week for Redskins

—The one thing that we know for sure right now is that the Redskins have to beat the Giants. Going into the weekend there were some scenarios where they could finish 1-1 and still make it in. Those scenarios have evaporated. If they lose, they’re out. That is the definitive must-win situation. 

—It’s hard to figure out what to take away from the win over Chicago. The Bears rolled up 458 yards of offense and converted 70 percent of their third downs. The only time Bears running back Jordan Howard wasn’t ripping through the Washington defense was when he was when he was briefly sidelined after taking a hit. Had Matt Barkley thrown just, say, three interceptions that game might have become one of the white-knuckle affair that we have become accustomed to this year.

—The defense is not going to magically get better, not with the major holes at safety and on the defensive line. The Redskins are going to have to score in the 30’s if they are going to win against the Giants to get in and if they are going to advance when they get there. If Jordan Reed is something close to 80 percent health and if Rob Kelley is good to go after spraining his knee they will have a shot at putting up some points. But they must break out of their season-long inability to get touchdowns consistently in the red zone and after getting in goal to go.


—A lot of the burden to get it done will be on Cousins. In their biggest regular-season game last year he torched the Eagles for 365 yards and four touchdowns in Week 16. He didn’t rack up a ton of yards against the Bears but the offense was balanced and he only threw 29 times. The Giants are challenged offensively; they average 19.4 points per game and have been under 20 every game in the last month. On second thought, perhaps scoring in the mid-twenties will be good enough on Sunday. If they make the playoffs it will be a different story.

—No matter what happens tonight when the Cowboys host the Lions the Redskins will remain in playoff contention going into their game against the Giants at FedEx Field. If Dallas wins tonight, the Redskins are win and in, barring a tie in the Packers-Lions game on Sunday night. If the Lions win tonight it will be win and wait. They will need the Lions to beat the Packers to make the playoffs.

Tandler on Twitter

In case you missed it