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Nine Wins and In?

Nine Wins and In?

Nine Wins and In?

You can reach Rich Tandler by email at WarpathInsiders@comcast.net
There is a belief floating around out there that the Redskins will have to win out in order to achieve their goal of making the playoffs in 2005. This began to be uttered following the Redskins’ overtime loss to the Chargers and it persists even after the Redskins gained their sixth win of the season in St. Louis.

It’s not true. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, that a nine-win team will make the NFC playoffs. If the Redskins can get to that level it’s very likely that they would win the tiebreaker against any other nine-win NFC team and snag the final wild card slot.

First, let’s take a quick look at the Redskins chances of winning the NFC East. It’s pretty simple. The Redskins would have to win out, beating Arizona, Dallas, the Giants, and Philadelphia and the Giants would have to lose one of their other three remaining games. That would put Washington, New York and possibly Dallas at 10-6. The Redskins would take that 3-way tie because of a better division record, would beat the Giants head to head because of the 5-1 division record and would have the head to head sweep over Dallas.

A sweep of their remaining games is unlikely, however, if only because winning four in a row is tough to do for even a very good team in the NFL and the Redskins don’t meet anyone’s definition of “very good”. Even three of four is a tall order, but certainly not impossible so the nine-win scenarios are worth exploring even though they’re somewhat complex.

What’s not complex is why the Redskins are likely to win a tiebreaker with any other nine-win team. The reason is their 0-4 record against AFC teams this year. Huh? How do losses help you make the playoffs?

Of course, they don’t but since all of the other teams who would be in that nine-win mix have at least one of their wins vs. an AFC team it means that the Redskins will have accomplished all nine of their wins vs. the NFC. As no other team in the Wild Card hunt can gain more than eight NFC wins, that will give Washington the better conference record, the second tiebreaker (the first is head to head) over every other nine-win team.

With four games to go and about a half a dozen other teams involved there are countless scenarios, so we’re going to make a couple of assumptions to clarify things. Let’s award the NFC South crown to 9-3 Carolina Panthers and the first Wild Card to the 8-4 Tampa Bay Bucs. That leaves the Redskins chasing three 7-5 teams, Dallas, Atlanta, and Minnesota, for the final playoff spot.

Let’s also assume that one of the Redskins’ three wins to get to nine is over Dallas. It’s possible for Washington to make it if their one loss is to the Cowboys, but that makes the picture a whole lot cleaner because it pulls the Redskins into a tie with Dallas with a head to head sweep in hand. And we’ll also figure that the Eagles, 5-6 entering Monday night’s game against Seattle, won’t be able to ride Mike McMahon to the nine wins necessary to be in this mix.

The math is simple, really. Washington needs three wins to get to nine. The other three teams have to win three in order to stay ahead of a Washington team that would beat them in the tiebreakers. A 2-2 finish will not do for Atlanta, Minnesota and Dallas. Here is who they play:

Atlanta:
Mon 12/12 New Orleans 9:00 pm Sun 12/18 at Chicago 8:30 pm Sat 12/24 at Tampa Bay 1:00 pm Sun 1/1 Carolina 1:00 pm

Minnesota:
Sun 12/11 St. Louis 1:00 pm Sun 12/18 Pittsburgh 1:00 pm Sun 12/25 at Baltimore 8:30 pm Sun 1/1 Chicago 1:00 pm

Dallas:
Sun 12/11 Kansas City 4:15 pm Sun 12/18 at Washington 4:15 pm Sat 12/24 at Carolina 1:00 pm Sun 1/1 St. Louis 8:30 pm

It’s not hard to see the Falcons lose to Chicago and Carolina, Minnesota losing to Pittsburgh and Chicago and the Cowboys falling in Carolina after losing to the Redskins.

By the same token, seeing how things have gone this year, it’s not hard to see the Redskins losing two of their last four either, making this whole discussion moot. But that’s why they play the games and why it is a virtual certainty that there will be games with playoff implications at FedEx Field in December.

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The best players on the Redskins according to their Madden 19 ratings

trent_williams.jpg
USA Today Sports

The best players on the Redskins according to their Madden 19 ratings

Madden 19 won't be released to the public until August 10, but the player ratings for the top players on each NFL team have been released.

The video reaches the Redskins a little after four minutes in. The top nine players on the Redskins, according to their Madden 19 overall ratings are as follows:

  1. LT Trent Williams, 91
  2. RG Brandon Scherff, 88
  3. FS D.J. Swearinger, 86
  4. MLB Zach Brown, 85
  5. CB Josh Norman, 84
  6. RB Chris Thompson, 83
  7. WR Paul Richardson, 83
  8. QB Alex Smith, 81
  9. WR Jamison Crowder, 81

The list has Washington's two best linemen up top followed by its best skill position players and Zach Brown. Beyond Williams and Sherff, there's some debate to be had. Both Richardson and Crowder can make a serious case to be the team's best receiver. Crowder had 22 more receptions and 86 more yards than Richardson in 2017, but Richardson had six touchdowns to Crowder's three.

Smith is coming off arguably the best season of his career with Kansas City. He put up over 4,000 passing yards for the first time in his career, posted career bests in quarterback rating, touchdown passes, interception percentage and completions. His rating as the fifth-best offensive player behind two other skill position players seems off.

These rankings will change throughout the season as more updates become available, but this is what there is to work with right now.

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Redskins schedule preview: Week 15 vs. Jaguars

Redskins schedule preview: Week 15 vs. Jaguars

We’re previewing every game of the 2018 season with a look forward and a look back. Up today, it’s the game against the Jaguars. 

Week 15 December 16, TIAA Bank Field

2017 Jaguars: 10-6, First in AFC South, lost AFC championship game 

Projected 2018 wins per Westgate SuperBook: 9

Early line: Redskins +8

Key additions: G Andrew Norwell, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, WR Donte Moncrief, 

Key losses:WR Allen Hurns, WR Allen Robinson

Biggest questions: 

  • QB Blake Bortles was very inconsistent during the season and there was talk of the team looking for a replacement for him prior to their run in the playoffs. Does he have what it takes to get the team back into serious contention. 
  • The team also got an inconsistent season out of RB Leonard Fournette, the No. 4 pick in the draft. Can he put together the monster season that would justify his draft status and help elevate the Jaguars to elite status. 
  • The Jaguars went from 25thin scoring defense in 2016 to second last year. Will they fall back to the pack this year?

Series history

The Redskins lead the all-time series 5-1. The Jaguars only win against them came in 2002.

Series notables

The first time: September 28, 1997, Jack Kent Cooke Stadium—In the second game ever played at the Redskins’ new stadium, Jacksonville took a 9-0 lead in the second quarter, but then-Jags QB Mark Brunell threw a pair of interceptions that set up two Washington touchdowns and the Redskins won 24-12. Gus Frerotte threw for 244 yards and two touchdowns and Terry Allen gained 122 yards on 36 carries. 

The last time: November 14, 2012, FedEx Field—Jay Gruden got his first win as the Redskins’ head coach in this one. Robert Griffin III went out of this game early with an injury and Kirk Cousins passed for 250 yards and two touchdowns in his place. It was the defense that dominated this game, racking up 10 sacks, tying the team record set in 1977. Ryan Kerrigan got four of those sacks, tying the team individual record for sacks in a game. The Redskins won 41-10.

The best time: October 1, 2006, FedEx Field—A taught, exciting game came to an explosive end when Santana Moss snared a pass that Mark Brunell perhaps should not have thrown and streaked to the end zone, giving the Redskins a 36-30 overtime win over Jacksonville.

The reason the throw was risky was that two defenders were near Moss as Brunell fired it to the speedy receiver. Somehow both of them missed it. Moss grabbed it, spun around and bolted the rest of the way to complete the 68-yard game winner.

It was Moss’ third touchdown reception of the day. In the first quarter, he caught a long pass from Brunell and executed a nifty spin move near the goal line to complete the 55-yard touchdown play. An eight-yard Moss TD catch early in the third quarter put the Redskins up by 10 but the Jags battled back to tie it with six seconds left. That set up Moss’ overtime heroics. 

The worst time: November 10, 2002, Alltel Stadium—The Redskins came into the game riding a two-game winning streak and at 4-4 they were squarely in playoff contention. A strong running game had been their best asset during their surge to .500 and, with the Jaguars sporting the worst run defense in the NFL, there was every reason to believe that the Redskins would take the land route to another win.

But coach Steve Spurrier had different ideas. "I was dumb enough to think we could throw it up and down the field," Spurrier said. "We ran a little bit here and there. We had a little success there early, and I got away from it too much. The second quarter, I kept thinking at midfield, we could throw the ball from there. But we didn't do it very well. So, looking back, I called a lousy game."

His defense didn’t play very well either. The Redskins scored first but the Jaguars scored 26 unanswered points and came out with a 26-7 win.

Redskins schedule series

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