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Ranking the possible Wild Card round playoff opponents for the Redskins

Ranking the possible Wild Card round playoff opponents for the Redskins

Playoff pairings dominate the conversation surrounding the Redskins right now, and though Washington is currently still outside the NFC postseason, a win on Sunday against the Giants will put the 'Skins back in the playoffs for the second-straight year. For conversation's sake, assume Jay Gruden's team wins on Sunday, and take a look at the best possible playoff opponents for the Burgundy and Gold.

What makes for the best opponent? A beatable team.

The NFL in January is all about advancing to the next game, and that's what Redskins fans should want more than anything else. These rankings might not reflect results from this season. In fact, they won't. Take into account how a team is playing now, not how they played in October, and injuries. For ranking purposes, the Cowboys and Giants won't be listed. Dallas has locked up the No. 1 overall seed, so the Redskins cannot meet their rival until the Divisional Round of the playoffs. The Giants are locked into the No. 5 seed, which means the 'Skins could only face New York in an NFC Championship Game.

Here we go:

  1. Detroit Lions - Sure, the Lions beat the Redskins way back in Week 7, but Washington mostly dominated that game. A red zone fumble from Matt Jones likely cost the 'Skins the win, or a missed field goal from Dustin Hopkins. Either way, it's hard to think Kirk Cousins and company could not beat a Lions team with a negative point differential on the season and a banged up QB in Matt Stafford. Oh yeah, the Lions might not even make the playoffs if they lose to Green Bay Sunday night. 
  2. Green Bay Packers - The Redskins thrashed the Packers in late November, winning 42-24 and avenging a playoff loss to Green Bay last season. Since that game, however, the Packers haven't lost. Aaron Rodgers has his team on a five-game win streak, and they've scored at least 30 points in each of the last three victories. Traveling to Lambeau Field for a playoff game would be a daunting task, especially considering how hot the Packers appear to be, but dig a little deeper and cracks emerge. In back to back weeks, the Packers defense has given up a combined 52 points to the Bears and Vikings. It's well known that the Redskins defense has struggled this year, but they held those common opponents to 11 points less, and frankly, the Bears game was never close. Green Bay is a good team and deserves respect for contending nearly every season, but 'Skins fans should not fear the Pack.
  3. Atlanta Falcons - This game could be fun. Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Kyle Shanahan against Kirk Cousins, DeSean Jackson and Sean McVay. It's likely the Falcons end up with a first-round bye, and if Washington is going to face Atlanta, it would have to come later in the playoffs. In their past three games, the explosive Falcons offense has scored at least 33 points with two other 40-point games. The Redskins defense would probably be ill-equipped to keep up with ATL.
  4. Seattle Seahawks - Somehow, this seems the most likely destination for the Redskins, and in a twisted way, it's obvious. Three of the Redskins last four playoff runs have been ended at the hands of the Seahawks, including the surreal scene at FedEx Field in 2012 when Robert Griffin III fell in a heap with an injured knee. The Seahawks have been in the Super Bowl in two of the last three years, and playing in Seattle is arguably the most distinct home field advantage in the NFL. There are fans on Twitter excited by the prospect of the 'Skins finally beating the Seahawks in the playoffs, but that challenge would be great. It could happen, however, as the 'Hawks have actually suffered a home loss this season, and the Seattle offense has scored seven less TDs than the 'Skins this season. 

MORE REDSKINS: Every relevant NFL playoff scenario for Week 17

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Colt McCoy not with Redskins for OTAs as he recovers from another leg procedure, per source

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Colt McCoy not with Redskins for OTAs as he recovers from another leg procedure, per source

In more than four seasons with the Redskins, Colt McCoy hasn't missed a single offseason workout or training session. Until now. 

McCoy is not in Ashburn as the Redskins currently work through phase one of offseason workouts. Instead, per doctor's orders the quarterback is back in Texas recovering from another procedure on his leg, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

How things got to this point between the Redskins and their quarterbacks is almost hard to believe.

Alex Smith broke his tibia and fibula last November, and then shockingly, McCoy broke his fibula two weeks later in an early December game in Philadelphia. 

Despite the broken leg, the Redskins hoped to get McCoy back for a possible late season playoff game. Washington head coach Jay Gruden explained that McCoy and the team pushed too hard to get back in 2018, and that's what caused the quarterback's setback this spring. 

"What happened was when he had the injury we were aggressive trying to get him back on the field so fast we didn’t give it time enough to heal the right way so they went back in and did a small procedure to make sure that thing is on track to be full strength by the season," Gruden explained at the NFL League Meetings in Arizona last month.

Now, McCoy has undergone another minor procedure on his leg, his third since the December injury, though the source maintains he could be back in Ashburn as soon as next week.

McCoy and Case Keenum will enter training camp competing for the top quarterback job, and the former University of Texas star is expected to be fully healthy when the team heads to Richmond. 

Of course, it's also possible the Redskins add another passer in this week's NFL Draft. Whether that happens in the first round or the late rounds, with Keenum and McCoy in the last year of their contracts, adding a rookie makes sense. 

Smith is due more than $40 million from the Redskins over the next two seasons, and Washington can only add an affordable contract on the books at the QB position. The way to do that is via the draft. 

MORE REDSKINS NEWS: 

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    If the Redskins want to trade back in the NFL Draft, one team makes a lot of sense

    If the Redskins want to trade back in the NFL Draft, one team makes a lot of sense

    The Redskins want to trade back in the 2019 NFL Draft. 

    Says who? Says Washington Senior Vice President of Player Personnel Doug Williams, that's who. 

    "I’m going to go on the record and say that’s a possibility that we won’t trade up, but there’s a great possibility we’ll trade back if that opportunity came," Williams said on Monday during the team's pre-draft media session.

    While trading up seems unlikely, trading back could certainly happen. The Redskins have needs - quarterback, wide receiver and edge rusher stand out - but the team isn't exactly desperate at any position. In turn, more picks could help in more areas. And more picks come from trading down. 

    "I'm not going to sit here and say we got to get better at any position, which we know we have to get better overall as a football team," Williams said.

    Rotoworld's Josh Norris explained one exact trade down scenario that could work for Washington (see above video).

    The Houston Texans must add help at offensive tackle, and the consensus has most of the best tackles taken by the 18th or 20th spot. If Houston wants to get their tackle, like Florida's Jawaan Taylor for example, the Texans might need to move up. In turn, the Redskins can offer their 15th pick to Houston in exchange for the 23rd spot and an additional pick later in the draft, perhaps as high as a third. 

    At 23, the Redskins can get their pick of a number of need positions, like left guard, wide receiver or cornerback. 

    "That's where those talents match up with the value," Norris said. 

    That makes sense, as there isn't a wideout or guard that demands to be taken at 15, but could match the Redskins' draft board eight picks later. Maybe a guy like Oklahoma WR Marquise Brown or Boston College OL Chris Lindstrom specifically.

    There's also the quarterback spot. 

    There are four rookie passers projected to be first round picks: Kyler Murray, Drew Lock, Dwayne Haskins and Daniel Jones. It seems possible Jones would be there at 23.

    Two other names to watch, particularly if a trade down scenario emerges for the Redskins. 

    Norris suggested the Redskins like Maryland safety Darnell Savage, and he is gaining momentum as a possible late first-round selection. 

    Additionally, one NFC scout told NBC Sports that he would not be shocked if West Virginia QB Will Grier sneaks into the end of the first round. Remember, first-round contracts automatically carry a team fifth-year option, an incredibly lucrative bonus considering the money some quarterbacks are making around the league. 

    Stay alert out there - it's almost draft day.

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