Photo Garrett Campbell, Redskins.com
Redskins Capital Connection’s resident futurologist Mark Phillips has done what he continues to do each year; rubbed his crystal ball, recited the magic words, and cast his eye forward to determine who Redskins fans should be rooting for in all the other games that matter! The Redskins are very much still alive in the playoff hunt, but there’s always a few results that would help Washington inch closer to clinching a spot, and here they are…
Another week, another win. But this isn’t 2015. The rest of the NFC East isn’t folding like a guy with a 2 7 unsuited pocket pair. As well as the Redskins are playing, and they are playing well, they simply don’t have a lot of margin for error. The Redskins are in the 6th spot but the Vikings are a half game back in 7th place. The good news for the Redskins is that they will remain in the 6th spot at a minimum this week win or lose. They can move up to 5th with the right results but we will get into that later. For now the moment you have all been waiting for…..
The Redskins Review Irrelevancy List.
The list sits at two members right now. For those of you that are new to the list the teams on this list are teams that are now irrelevant to the Redskins. Their games don’t matter unless they are playing another team that actually does matter. While not mathematically eliminated from catching the Redskins if you are on this list you are so far behind them I don’t see how you realistically catch them. The two teams currently on the list are….
- The San Francisco 49ers (Magic Number 1)
- The Chicago Bears (Magic Number 2)
There is now a lengthy laundry list of teams that are on the cusp of joining this list. With a loss this week the following teams will be on this list next week.
- The Green Bay Packers (Magic Number 4)
- The New Orleans Saints (Magic Number 4)
- The Carolina Panthers (Magic Number 4)
- The Los Angeles Rams (Magic Number 4)
The Rams and Saints play each other so someone is joining the list next week.
The Arizona Cardinals will also make the list with a loss combined with a Redskins win. If the Redskins do win all the teams above will have a magic number of two if they lose. That would mean they would be mathematically eliminated with any combination of two Redskins wins or losses by that team.
On the bad side of things if Dallas beats the Redskins this week I will consider then irrelevant to the Redskins but in a bad way. They would be three and a half games up with five to play. The Redskins will not catch the Cowboys if they do not win this week. More on that later.
For now let’s talk about the games that matter to the Redskins this week. As always they are ranked from what I consider least important to most important to the Redskins….
I was 8-1 in picking last week’s games. I mean who thought the Bucs would win in Kansas City.
8. Carolina at Oakland
The Panthers avoided the irrelevancy list last week by holding on at home to beat the Saints. This week they step up in weight class by playing the AFC West leaders. Carolina is just off this year. Whatever was working last year just isn’t this year. The main advantage the Panthers have this week is they are playing a team that is playing on a short week after playing in Mexico. Plenty of athletes in the past have commented on what a physical toll playing in the altitude in Mexico takes on you. Carolina has a number of problems but lack of physicality isn’t one of them. They will give the Raiders all they can handle but I don’t like the Panther secondary against then Raiders pass offense. As always root for the AFC over the NFC and I expect the AFC will beat the NFC in this game.
7. Seattle at Tampa Bay
Tampa had the surprise win of the week last week. Winning in Kansas City isn’t easy. Even though they are at home the task is more daunting this week. Seattle has hit their stride and took it to a pretty good Eagles team last week. Upsets occur every week in the NFL but you rarely see teams pulling off big upsets in consecutive weeks unless we have underrated them. I think Tampa will struggle to score on Seattle and I expect the Seahawks to win. We should root for the Seahawks in this game. That’s tough for me because Seattle is the non NFC East team I most dislike. That said the Seahawks are going to win the NFC West so they are almost irrelevant to the Redskins unless the Redskins can win the East. Tampa is a pursuer and at only 1 and a half games back putting a loss on them helps the Redskins.
6. Los Angeles at New Orleans
Hey Rams the 1950s called. They want their offense back. Look I get it. Your defense was killing it against the Dolphins so why take chances. But it was a two score game and you are allowed to throw the ball more than 5 yards past the line of scrimmage. The Rams will need their defense to kill it again this week because even the Saints defense can handle what Jared Goff was throwing out there. The Rams need this game more than the Saints. Yes both are 4-6 but the Saints are closer to the top of their division than the Rams are. It would also be better for the Redskins if the Rams won here. The Saints have the easier schedule going forward as the Rams still have games in New England and Seattle and a home game with Atlanta. That said I expect the Saints to win to get to 5-6 and send the Rams to irrelevancy
5. Arizona at Atlanta
Arizona just has the feel of a team that is done. They have put their head coach in the hospital not once but twice this year. They just lost to a team on a 4 game losing streak. Atlanta comes in off a bye and they lead their division. As I have said before since someone needs to win the NFC South it may as well be Atlanta and while they doing that they can beat some wild card contenders along the way. The Cardinals are only two games behind the Redskins and if things break right for them this week they could be playing the Redskins in week 13 with a chance to tie them in the standings. Look I don’t want Bruce Arians to have to go to the hospital again but the Redskins come first. Root for Atlanta to win this game and I think they will.
4. Minnesota at Detroit
Detroit beat Minnesota in overtime a couple of weeks ago in Minnesota so the Vikings desperately need this one. It would only be a one game lead but Detroit would have the sweep. It would also help the Redskins to have Detroit win the NFC North so they aren’t a factor in the Wild Card since they beat the Redskins. In one way it doesn’t matter who wins this game because whoever loses will stay behind the Redskins in the Wild Card Standings no matter what the Redskins do on Thursday. The other main argument to root for Detroit is they have the tougher remaining schedule so it would help to put a loss on Minnesota. I am going to pick Detroit to win this game as the home team but neither result would shock me.
3. Green Bay at Philadelphia
The Redskins have some breathing room over each of these teams right now. Oddly enough we should probably want Philly to win enough games to remain relevant. The Eagles close the season with the Giants and Cowboys at home and if they are completely out of it at that point they may not be as motivated to win those games and we may need them to. Green Bay is the 2nd straight NFC North team that the Redskins have sent away with a four-game losing streak in tow. Green Bay is two and a half games back of the Redskins with six to play. Not impossible but unlikely. For that reason, I think we as Redskins fans should pull for the Packers this week. We need to care about what is best for the Redskins and creating space with the Eagles is more important right now then worrying about how they will play in week 16 or 17. I feel the Eagles will win this game but Green Bay gets more dangerous with each loss.
2. NY Giants at Cleveland
Times like this make me wonder who the Mara’s have pictures of. Cleveland…. Cleveland…. After playing Chicago. I know the NFL Schedule isn’t rigged but times like this make me feel like it is. Obviously root for Cleveland and them getting their first win over the Giants would be glorious but I can’t see it happening. As easy as the Giants schedule has been lately it becomes that tough after this week. They close out with at Pittsburgh, Dallas, Detroit, at Philadelphia and at Washington. The Giants absolutely HAVE to win this game. If the G-Men lose this game they miss the playoffs… Book it
1. Washington at Dallas
Normally I just say DUH here. Of-course the Redskins game is the biggest one to the Redskins each week but a win here is a borderline playoff clincher. The Redskins will be a game and a half in front of the closest challenger for the 6th spot and play four straight games against teams with a .500 or below record after this game. Also, there is no better feeling than winning an important Thursday game so you can spend Sunday watching your competition lose. They will have 11 days off to face what I feel will be a reeling Cardinals team in front of a crowd that always has a lot of Redskins fans in it for a road game. They would also be assured of being in no worse than the #6 spot going into Week 14. It’s important to the Cowboys too but they don’t have as much to gain or lose as the Redskins do. I shouldn’t need to tell you who to root for here.
Here is how the playoff standings will look with a Redskins win assuming I have picked all games correctly….
- Dallas 9-2
- Seattle 8-2-1
- Detroit 7-4 (Beat out Atlanta on conference record)
- Atlanta 7-4
- N.Y. Giants 8-3
- Washington 7-3-1
The closest challengers will be the Eagles and Vikings at 6-5
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