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Who We Want to Win – Week 16

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…

Sports is cruel.

In fact, if my personal relationships worked in the same one sided manner as my sports relationships I would make Elizabeth Taylor look like an amateur when it comes to number of marriages. Think about how one sided it is. You care, sports doesn’t. Sure, sports does nice things for you from time to time. You get the occasional nationally televised blowout, the occasional playoff game but it the end it almost always does not deliver for you. Each sport typically has one champion. The rest of us are left standing at the altar. This is, of course, a bad thing. We need to learn to enjoy the ride. Carolina fans don’t get to enjoy 15-1 and a Super Bowl appearance because they didn’t show up that last Sunday. The 1998 Minnesota Vikings don’t remember 15-1 of the fact that Gary Anderson didn’t miss a kick all year….. until the NFC Championship game. The Vikings lost to a 14-2 team that day which is what the remember of that season. New England was one win away from moving into Mercury Morris “neighborhood” but they didn’t get that win. That’s what we remember.

Take our own Washington Redskins. In my opinion the 1986 team would have wiped the field with the 1987 team. The 1986 team couldn’t beat the 1986 New York Giants. The Redskins lost five times that year. Three of those five were to the Giants. 1986 Jay Schroeder was light years better than 1987 Jay Schroeder or 1987 Doug Williams. Williams is beloved in Washington because he played a fantastic Super Bowl 22. He wasn’t really that good in the other playoff games but when it mattered most he was great. Jay Schroeder left the Meadowlands at the end of the 1986 NFC Championship as a lesser QB that he was going into it. He was never the same again. Schroeder 86 was clearly a better QB that Williams 87. Williams delivered, Schroeder didn’t. The 1983 Washington Redskins was a better football team than the 1982 Washington Redskins. The 1983 Redskins set a single season record for points scored that stood until the 1998 Vikings came along. The 1982 Redskins got 70 Chip and the 1983 Redskins had Rocket Screen. 70 Chip is the most famous play in Redskins history and Rocket Screen is one of the most famous plays in Raider history. We remember the 1982 team more fondly because Riggins scored on 4th and 1. The 1983 team failed because Joe Theismann threw a TD pass to Jack Squirek who played for the Raiders. Sports makes it difficult to enjoy the ride.

But hey there is something to be excited about. We have additions to the Redskins Review Irrelevancy list. For those of you that need a refresher on what the list is the teams on this list don’t matter to the Redskins anymore. Their games don’t matter unless they are playing a team that does matter to the Redskins.

Last Week’s list included….

  1. The San Francisco 49ers (eliminated from catching the Redskins)
  2. The Chicago Bears (eliminated from catching the Redskins)
  3. The Los Angeles Rams (eliminated from catching the Redskins)
  4. The Carolina Panthers (Magic Number – 1)
  5. The Dallas Cowboys (We cannot catch them)
  6. The Seattle Seahawks (They will be NFC West Champs)
  7. The Philadelphia Eagles (eliminated from catching the Redskins)
  8. The New Orleans Saints (Magic Number – 1)

Additions to the list this week are…

  1. The Arizona Cardinals (Magic Number – 1)
  2. The New York Giants (We cannot catch them)

The only candidate for entry to the list this week is…..

  1. The Minnesota Vikings (Need to win to stay off the list)

 

I’m going to go thru the games a little differently this week. Typically, I list them from least important to most important to the Redskins chances. This week I am going to go through the pertinent games in chronological order. This is because results from earlier games can impact what we want to happen. Only five games that matter on the list this week and the Giants-Eagles TNF game isn’t one of them. However, you probably should pull for the Giants in that game because that makes it more likely they won’t have anything to play for in Week 17.

Let’s do this….

1. Atlanta @ Carolina (Saturday 1:00PM)

Atlanta is a team the Redskins could catch if they lose both games. It is the least likely avenue the Redskins have to catch a team for playoff positioning but it is an avenue. This is a home division game for Carolina and I have to believe they will be motivated to play Atlanta after the 300-yard performance Julio Jones put on them earlier this year. There is actually a lot of strong arguments in Carolina’s favor in this game. Root for Carolina because you never know but I still expect Atlanta to win.

 

2. Minnesota @ Green Bay (Saturday 1:00PM)

Minnesota has basically cratered. I give them next to no chance to win this game. That said this is an elimination game for them. Win and they are still in it, lose and they are eliminated from playoff contention. Green Bay would basically be eliminated with a loss because of their poor tie-breaker positioning but they would not be mathematically eliminated. The Packers haven’t lost since the Redskins game. I expect them to continue the winning streak here. Root for Minnesota but don’t expect it to happen.

3. Washington at Chicago (Saturday 1:00PM)

Obviously don’t need to tell you who to root for here. Simply put lose and the Redskins are done. No not mathematically but we are getting to lottery level odds if they lose. Chicago is still playing hard and it won’t be easy but the Redskins have done well in recent years in bouncing back from losses. They are 8-3-1 in the last two years in games played after a loss. I think they win here and make the next game on the list of vital importance to us.

4. Tampa Bay @ New Orleans (Saturday 4:25PM)

There are several different avenues the Redskins have to catch an NFC North team before seasons end. There is only one realistic avenue to catch an NFC South team. Tampa needs to lose at some point. Tampa won a tight one against the Saints two weeks ago and we need to home Drew Brees still has some of that Superdome magic left in him. I know I have been down on Tampa and for the most part have been wrong about them. That said I think they peaked early. I don’t see them beating New Orleans in New Orleans unless the Saints have already checked out. While the Saints will likely have been eliminated from playoff contention earlier in the day but I expect them to help the Redskins out and win here.

5. Detroit @ Dallas (Monday 8:30PM)

If the games play out as I have predicted them to here Dallas can do us a huge favor here. If Green Bay, Washington and New Orleans have won a Dallas win in this game makes the Giants game in Week 17 essentially a win and in game for the Redskins. Get over yourself never Dallas crowd and pull for the Cowboys to win here. I think Dallas pulls it out since Matthew Stafford isn’t 100%.

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