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Who We Want To Win – Week 14

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…

Well this sucks. It’s always better when in a playoff chase to be fending off challengers than chasing them. In three of the last four playoff runs for the Redskins they have needed long winning streaks to make it in. They have been the pursuer. The Redskins needed five wins to close 2005 to make the playoffs. Four would not have been enough. In 2007 they needed four wins to make it. Three would not have been enough. In 2012 the Redskins ran off a whopping seven straight to close the season. Six would not have been enough. They did run off four straight to end 2015 but in truth didn’t need to. They would have been in without that last win.

So, while 2016 is an improvement in that the team doesn’t need that long run to be in contention they are now the team that gave playoff position away. They can get it back. Four wins to end the year would be a lock to make the playoffs in my opinion. Even three of four, provided one of the three are against the Giants, will give them a good chance to make it. We do need to address a couple of things first.

Never Dallas crowd you’re just wrong. Look I get it. I hate the Cowboys to. But you need to be in favor of what is good for the Redskins before you are in favor of what is bad for Dallas. The term I believe is you are cutting off your nose to spite your face. Dallas winning the next two games is good for the Redskins. I’m not telling you to let go of your hatred for Dallas and it’s a free country so root for the Giants and Bucs over them if you want. It’s stupid but go ahead. If you want Dallas in the playoffs at 12-4 instead of 15-1 good for you. The Redskins can watch them play.

Very little change to the Redskins Review Irrelevancy list this week. As a recap, here is who is on the list prior to last week’s games…

  1. The San Francisco 49ers (eliminated from catching the Redskins)
  2. The Chicago Bears (Magic Number – 1)
  3. The Los Angeles Rams (Magic Number – 2)
  4. The Carolina Panthers (Magic Number – 2)
  5. The Dallas Cowboys (We can’t realistically catch them)

I am adding Seattle and Detroit to the list this week. Both teams have multiple game leads in their division and are probably going to the playoffs as division champs. As Redskins fans, you should probably root for them in any NFC game they play. Both teams are in position to help the Redskins down the stretch.

Candidates to join the list this week….

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (will be on if the Redskins beat them)
  2. New Orleans Saints (will be on with a loss and a Redskins win)
  3. Arizona Cardinals (will be on with a loss and a Redskins win)

I had a terrible week picking games last week. My first bad week since starting this column. I was 3-4 picking the non-Redskins games. As the season goes on there will be fewer and fewer games on this list. We are down to seven games of relevance this week. As always from least important to most important to the Redskins….

7. Seattle at Green Bay

Don’t look now but the Packers are a half game behind the Redskins in the standings. The win the Skins hold over Green Bay is meaningless because of the tie. We are unlikely to be in a tie-breaker with Green Bay. Then Packers are also in a mini roll with two straight wins. This is a home game for them which will make this tough on the Seahawks. The Redskins would really be helped with a Seattle win here so that is who you should root for. This is a tough game to call but Seattle is usually a tough out in December and they are fighting for a 1st round bye so I expect Seattle to win

6. Atlanta at Los Angeles

Atlanta is a candidate for collapse. Part of this is recency bias because I saw them collapse last year but they have lost two of three this year. Also, Jeff Fisher needs to get moving to make his annual run for 7-9. In all seriousness though the Falcons have played their way into missing the playoffs consideration. That said the Falcons have the easiest remaining schedule of all the playoff contenders. The remaining teams Atlanta plays have a combined 14-34 record. San Francisco hosts Atlanta next week. The Redskins could really use an inexplicable loss by Atlanta here. Root for Los Angeles but don’t expect it to happen.

5. Minnesota at Jacksonville

Minnesota is like Green Bay in that the Redskins beat them but that is unlikely to matter from a tie-breaker point of view. They are also a half game back of the Redskins in the standings so some breathing room would be nice. On the surface this seems like a sure-fire Vikings win and even though you should root for them to lose I do expect Minnesota to win. However, Jacksonville’s strength, defense, plays right into the Vikings weakness, offense, so the Jags could keep this game close and possibly pull it out late. It’s unlikely the Jags win this but they do have a punchers chance.

4. Arizona at Miami

The Redskins had their chance to bury Arizona and blew it. Now, instead of a three-game lead with four to play with the tie-breaker they now have a one game lead and would lose the tie-breaker. Obviously, root for Miami to win this game and I think they will. This is a bounce back game to the Dolphins and I am sorry but the Cardinals simply aren’t that good and it reflects poorly on the Redskins that they lost to them. The Cardinals have some nice pieces but the Dolphins DL will do what the Redskins DL couldn’t. Dominate that terrible Arizona OL.

3. New Orleans at Tampa Bay

OK Tampa you finally won me over. I keep expecting you to be the team I thought you were and drop these games I expect you to lose but you keep refusing to do it. Winning at Kansas City, home to Seattle and at San Diego is impressive for anyone. I will be rooting against you for the rest of the year most likely but I expect you to defend home field and win this weekend. This is bad for Washington and you should root for the Saints as Redskins fans but Tampa Bay is playing as well as anyone in the NFC right now. Drew Brees might have a vintage Drew Brees game but I don’t see it.

2. Dallas at New York Giants

I am not going to analyze this game at all. I’m going to take this opportunity to address the “never Dallas” crowd. I understood your position last week. The Redskins controlled their own fate so it really didn’t have to matter what anyone else did. Plus, they were playing a non-NFC East team. This week the Redskins now need help. With a Dallas win on Sunday night the Redskins again control their own fate if they would have beaten Philly earlier in the day. I hate to talk to fellow Redskins fans in terms this strong because we all love the Redskins but if the Skins win Sunday at 1 and you aren’t rooting for the Cowboys on SNF you’re an idiot. You aren’t a Redskins fan first you are a not-Dallas fan first. Plus, the Giants are a divisional foe as well. In fact, the Giants have inflicted more pain on the Redskins historically than the Cowboys ever have. Yes, Giants fans aren’t morons at anything close to the level of Cowboys fans and listening to those annoying little bastard middle children of America fans of the star pisses me off too but it is in the Redskins best interest if Dallas wins…. The….. Redskins….. best….. interest. Get over your hatred and root for what is good for your team. Oh and I expect Dallas to win.

1. Washington at Philadelphia

If the Redskins lose this week they aren’t realistically making the playoffs.

Redskins Wild Card Threat Power Rankings

  1. New York Giants
  2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  3. Arizona Cardinals
  4. Minnesota Vikings
  5. Green Bay Packers
  6. Philadelphia Eagles
  7. New Orleans Saints

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