What's the point of having our local heroes in the playoff hunt if not to engage in what-if games?
Washington Redskins fans and sports writers alike are figuring the team's path to the division. The idea seemed oh so improbable after the inexcusable loss to the Panthers.
Now that the Redskins beat two beatable division rivals, 'Skins fans can have fun with playoff scenarios. Winning games you are supposed to win is the first step to a trophy.
Rick Snider asks if the Redskins are poised for a playoff run in a story posted Friday on washingtonexaminer.com. Snider focuses on the New York Giants, the Super Bowl champion that Washington swept last season.
The Giants won, more like "escaped," game one, and face perennial contender Green Bay this evening. Every time I read one of these things, there's an air of presumption the Packers will win tonight. Hmm, the Giants didn't win the Super Bowl for nothing and they are coming off a Bye. The Giants are a team with questions. They are not a team in trouble.
Sportsbook Bovada.lv set New York as three-point favorites at home.
Snider thinks it possible the Redskins could run the table on their seven games after the Bye. Seven wins would assure a division title with a 10-6 record. Hog Heaven has said since September that no Beast team will win 10 games this year. Even Snider doesn't think that is likely.
My blogging friend Rich Tandler (I met him once. In the Blogosphere, that's friendship.) points out that the Redskins have wildcard possibilities. The 'Skins trail the Vikes, Bucs and Seahawks by 1½ games for the second wildcard slot as we go into Sunday's game. Rich tells who to root for today looking at all the games of all the wildcard contenders.
The Al Davis playoff formula – just win, baby
Fodder for fans. Hog Heaven won't have it. The only way for the Redskins to assure a playoff spot is to win the next game. Then, go win the next game. You can't have players looking at the scoreboard, worried about what other teams are doing. Win, and let other teams worry about you.
Just beat the Giants, then the next game
The Redskins cannot afford to let the Giants sweep them. The 'Skins are in that position because they failed to finish the Giants in New York. Lose to the Giants next week and this discussion becomes moot. That's true whatever the outcome of Giants-Packers.
Washington has to take one of the two remaining games against AFC North teams. The Ravens will be watching Giants at Redskins.
The Giants are the first team to face Robert Griffin III for a second time. You can bet the farm they game planned him during their Bye. Baltimore will see Giants at Redskins as a clinic for managing the RG3skins offense. The Ravens defense can do anything the Giants defense can do.
Don't sleep on Cleveland, either. They took the Cowboys to the edge in week 11. The Browns defense is AFC North-worthy. Worrisome fact: Cleveland allowed fewer third-down conversions on more attempts than the Redskins have.
Washington's best skill players played either in warm weather colleges (RGIII, Alfred Morris) or in indoor stadiums (Pierre Garçon). This game will be in Cleveland in December at an outdoor stadium by the lake. Take if from one who lived in the upper Midwest. They only think they know what cold feels like.
If you are a Redskins fan, look no further than the Panthers and Rams to know that wins are not to be presumed against teams like the Browns.
If the Redskins must lose to a division rival, Philadelphia is the choice. That 25-point margin of victory two weeks ago is a fat, tiebreaker cushion. If the Redskins lose to the Cowboys, it must be by fewer than seven points to hold the tiebreaker advantage. DeAngelo Hall's slide at the Dallas one-yard line could come back to bite the team.
Thus, if Washington wins two of its remaining division games and one of the AFC North games, they finish 8-8, and 4-2 inside the division. If one of those division wins is over the Giants, the Redskins will hold real tiebreaker advantage.
With one more win over that, say by sweeping the Beast, or sweeping the two AFC North teams, Washington is sure to take the division. Other teams become irrelevant. Better yet, Washington will have the look of a division champion with 9-7 record, maybe 5-1 inside the Beast.
Washington doesn't have to win every game. (Please, coach Mike, no more "must win games.") They don't have to watch scores of other games. They just have to win the next game, and then go win the next game....
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