Skip to content

Need to Know: Assessing the Redskins’ playoff chances

Nov 26, 2015, 5:17 AM EDT


Here is what you need to know on this Thursday, November 26, three days before the Redskins host the New York Giants.

Happy Thanksgiving, folks!

Five thoughts on the Redskins and the playoffs

—The Redskins are not a playoff team but that doesn’t mean they can’t make the playoffs. They are flawed in many ways but so are the other teams in the NFC East and per NFL rules one of the teams has to represent the division in the playoffs. It may not be ideal to be a mediocre playoff team but it’s better than being a mediocre non-playoff team. The experience of participating in a playoff game would be invaluable for younger players.

—A playoff trip can be a springboard to future success. The Panthers made the postseason going 7-8-1 last year. They won their first-round game and you see where they are now. The Seahawks took the NFC West in 2010 with a 7-9 record and upset the Saints in the first round. Two years later they were on their way to being a powerhouse. That may or may not happen but nothing bad can result from playing an extra game or two.

— “If we have any desire to play 17, 18 or 19 games, we’ve got to win Sunday,” Jay Gruden said on Wednesday. That’s not mathematically true but being two games back with the Giants having the head-to-head tiebreaker in hand would be a very steep mountain to climb.

—Although this is a big game, the team’s approach shouldn’t really change. “If our attitude or preparation suddenly changes this week, I would be scratching my head wondering what guys were doing previous week,” said Kirk Cousins. “I feel like all of the games are important.”

—Like most, I think the odds are against the Redskins winning the division. It is hard for me to see them getting past the Giants; it’s just a bad matchup for them. But just like I can say that the Giants have the Redskins’ number, you can say Washington is due for a win over New York. If the home team can pull it off and get into a first-place tie with an edge in the division record tiebreaker I will start to take the playoff scenarios a lot more seriously.


Today’s schedule: Practice 10:35; Jay Gruden and Joe Barry news conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 12:30

Days until: Giants @ Redskins 3; Monday night Cowboys @ Redskins 121; Redskins @ Bears 17

In case you missed it

  1. sidepull - Nov 26, 2015 at 6:41 AM

    As of late all I say is stop the other team from running the ball and then the Redskins need to run the ball down their throats. This week though, the must find a way to get into Eli’s face as well. They cannot just let him stand back there, untouched, and wing it. The Giants are certainly due a loss at the hands of the Redskins. Now the Redskins just have to make it happen, at home. HTTR and happy turkey day. Lots of football to watch!

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Nov 26, 2015 at 7:26 AM

      Here’s an interesting segment from Hogs Haven:
      You have to blitz sometimes to mix things up and keep offenses off balance, but it’s just not working out for Joe Barry’s bunch this season. The defense sent extra rushers 12 times and Newton roasted them by completing 11 passes for 100 yards and five touchdowns on those plays. His QB rating of 141 was 73.4 points higher than it was when the Redskins didn’t blitz (67.6).

      That is the biggest differential for Washington’s defense all season. The defense has allowed ten touchdowns and has only recorded eight sacks on 76 blitzes this year.

      • bangkokben - Nov 26, 2015 at 11:08 AM

        Great. Not only do we suck at a standard pass rush we don’t get there when we send extra. Tennessee got home on five blitzes against Carolina – none on standard four man rushes, so when try the same tactic but have such soft coverage that it backfires. No wonder Hall sees himself as a corner playing safety. He looks at his teammates and thinks I’m better than this cat.

        • berniebernard666 - Nov 26, 2015 at 11:28 AM

          Joe Barry has a Prevent Defense philosophy and you don’t see blitzes until the game is already out of hand. Barry does not blitz in the first half at all. He continues to line up 4 men at the line of scrimmage and drop 7 in a Predictable manner every single time. The coverage is a soft zone and it is truly frustrating for us fans to watch the Redskins being picked apart while we are calling for a pass rush. And yes Tennessee as well as all the other teams sent 5 and 6 men on every pass rush against Cam Newton. ONLY the Redskins decided to send 3 and 4 and drop 7 and 8….and we see the largest point total of the year for Carolina.

          You might think that Joe Barry would get a CLUE from that…….BUT DON’T COUNT ON IT.

      • berniebernard666 - Nov 26, 2015 at 11:32 AM

        We must have been watching a different game. I didn ‘t see the blitzes, at least not in the FIRST HALF. I saw a 4 man pass rush and 7 man zone coverage the entire first half.

        Yes Joe Barry will blitz in the 2nd half once the Redskins are behind and out of desperation, but its always too late. Its kind of like the Redksins always try to run the ball on first down at the beginning of the game and FAIL, and then later when they get behind, they start throwing on first down and gain more success.

        The Redskins always are predicable. The do exactly what I predict from my couch…and do exactly what the other teams Def and OFF coordinators predict. If Scott M ever reads any of these site, I hope he reads this.

        HEY SCOTT….your Coaches are PREDICTABLE in their play calling. (not to mention have no sense of urgency)

      • tonywhitehead67 - Nov 26, 2015 at 12:36 PM

        Great analysis with supporting statistics. The one critical analysis that is missing is WHEN the blitzes are called. That is my biggest issue and why I say Joe Barry and Jay Gruden continue to get out coached by the leagues upper echelon of coaches.

        WHEN will Joe Barry call a corner blitz on the first play of the game or second half like Carolina did? ANSWER: NEVER

        Until this coaching staff not only design good plays and call the plays at the right time, it doesn’t matter.

        McVeigh doesn’t get it either. Everyone is putting 8 in the box, so why not come out in shotgun and run the west coast offense short passing game?

      • Skulb - Nov 26, 2015 at 10:19 PM

        The way I see it you mainly have to blitz so you’ll be able to sell the blitz. It keeps QBs guessing a little and you can trick them into throwing the ball away when responding to a fake blitz. But if you never do it you can’t sell it. And that’s basically what the Redskins have been doing this season.
        It’s the defensive equivalent of running read options or throwing deep balls. If you do it successfully once or twice per game the threat remains credible. If you never do it you make it too easy on the opposing team. But blitzing in itself isn’t the solution to anything. It just helps make you unpredictable and more difficult to play against.
        When it comes to sacks I feel as if we rank pretty high in missed sacks. They get penetration, and Francois in particular, and then fail at tackling and getting sacks once they’ve done the hard part.
        Bad luck fluke or lacking technique I’m not sure. But they are a handful of completed plays away from looking a lot more competitive than they do right now. Not great probably but also not bottom five.

    • John - Nov 26, 2015 at 7:31 AM

      Much as I would like to see the Skins win and somehow make it to the playoffs, I’d hate to see them get their and have their butts handed to them by the Packers or Cardinals 51 – 7.

      If they win 3 or 4 more and are competitive at least they will have taken some steps forward in the rebuild. They just need more talent. Its sad that they are only in it because the other teams in the division have played so poorly. For comparison, it would be like playing in a division with New Orleans, Detroit and Cleveland.

      • bangkokben - Nov 26, 2015 at 8:39 AM

        We can cross that bridge IF we get there. You wouldn’t want a home playoff game against Minnesota or Atlanta? Hell, I take my chances there. Carolina won its home playoff game – against the Cardinals with a 3rd string QB. Anything can happen between now and then. Just continue to be competitive against like competition win the home games and let’s see if we can experience realistic playoff scenarios in December.

  2. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Nov 26, 2015 at 7:24 AM

    Redskins playoff chances: Beat the Giants Sunday, or fuhgeddabout it!

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Nov 26, 2015 at 8:35 AM

      P.S. Happy Thanksgiving, Rich, everybody!

  3. hitmeimopen - Nov 26, 2015 at 10:00 AM

    My suggestion to the team – be afraid. That’s right, be afraid of Sunday’s game because it occurs to me that when your spokespeople say things like, “We had a good week of practice, full of focus on our opponent”, the team plays horribly. Try something different. All I care about is passionate play, attention to detail, limited mistakes.

  4. hitmeimopen - Nov 26, 2015 at 10:12 AM

    Oh, one more thing. WTH does it mean when I hear that “The Giants are a bad matchup”? Someone put that in more detail, please. Is their O-line impenetrable? Is Eli un-sackable by our guys – and why? Is there some element to their D that our O can’t solve? And then, why? I’ve heard that the G-Men are a bad matchup so many times that I think it’s simply because they kick our asses and nobody knows why. Can we try to do one thing – just one thing really well against them – like maybe field position, or turnovers, or screen passes. I think field position is something we actually could hang our hat on. We have the kickoff guy who can help and the punter who can help. C’mon man! Let’s get this NY BS off our back! I have too many friends who are G fans who don’t even bother to yak about our rivalry – it’s beneath them, or something. And they look prescient doing it because the rivalry doesn’t exist! You must show up every once in a while to have a rivalry.

    • timwillhide - Nov 26, 2015 at 11:21 AM

      The Giants are a bad match up because they have 3 Great WRs Randle, Odell, and Cruz, not sure Cruz’s status but they alsohave Hicks. They also have Prince, DCR, Collins, and Merriweather in their secondary. Their rush defense isn’t bad either. Plus each game Cousins has played the Giants he has thrown 2 or more interceptions per game. I hope this answers your question. I’m sure others on here may offer up other reasons too. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

      • colmac69 - Nov 26, 2015 at 2:44 PM

        Cruz is done for season…..their starting tight end Larry odonnell is out…..possibly their left guard pugh missing

    • bangkokben - Nov 26, 2015 at 11:23 AM

      It’s a bad match up because:

      1) We can’t apply pressure on Eli, he throws the ball away too quickly.
      2) Our coverage is so soft that when he throws the ball in less than two seconds there is already a wide open target.
      3) We can’t stop the run.
      4) The Giants defense comes up with turnovers – which we have a problem with.
      5) The Giants offense has been stingy with ball this year not turning it over.

      Other than that, the game is at home and our team has played very well at home despite the covered seats and 15-20% wearing the opposition’s colors.

  5. kenlinkins - Nov 26, 2015 at 10:27 AM

    IMO HITMEIMOPEN has hit the nail on the head. The $64 question this week is “Did Carolina push the Redskins over the cliff”? What we saw in the second half last week was not the Redskins we have seen most of the year. They gave up, packed it in and were waiting for the game to end. We have seen this before in 2014 and 2013, it is not pretty. If you are looking for a clue as to what frame of mind the Redskins are in vs. 2014 and 2013, may I suggest that if we fans do not see / hear any locker room drama this week (or leaks to the press) then the Redskins have a pretty good shot to come out and play well. They know that beating the Giants would be a big step to winning the NFC East and while we fans have not read much about leadership this year, maybe there are a few “Locker room rangers” keeping any “out of line” talking to the press in check. If that stays the same until game time on Sunday, I figure that the Redskins can beat the Giants and Cowboys to reach 500% (6-6). If not, then it is just a question on how many wins the Redskins can gain by being a little bit better in 2015 (say 5-11 or 6-10). So keep and ear to the ground and let’s hope that we do not hear anything other than ” I am just trying to help this team win” or “we are playing one game at a time” from the Redskins locker room. Rich: I know this drives reports nuts but this week I hope that the “drama free” zone stays in place. HAPPY THANKSGIVING and HTTR!

  6. berniebernard666 - Nov 26, 2015 at 11:21 AM

    The Redskins have no chance at the playoffs. Period.

    I am reading all these articles on comcast and redskins sites and I see where Trent Williams is talking about his weight, and how losing weight has helped him. I am seeing Bruce Allen talking about playing in London next year, and watching other video and reading other articles on various comments by Redskins on “things”…

    But what I am not seeing is any sense of urgency. I am not hearing the Skins talk about PAYBACK to the Giants. I am not hearing anybody talk about the Giants 5 game win streak vs the Skins. I am not hearing any of the Skins players comment on how they have a MUST WIN/CODE RED game this Sunday. It’s what I am NOT hearing that disturbs me and tells me that this organization has no clear focus and has no real leadership.

    I have been a Redskins Fanatic for 50 years now but facing the facts that this team has INTERNAL problems as well as talent problems……I will still cheer for the team this weekend. AND after the game Sunday….I am sure that I will look forward to a very high draft pick in the Spring as well as winning the OFF season Superbowl.

    • hk2000 - Nov 26, 2015 at 12:31 PM

      Good comment! I bet you speak for thousands of fans- me included. We need a mean, tough, vigorous, coach who puts his stamp on the team and keeps the players on the straight and narrow, a coach who accepts no excuses and takes no crap from no one, a coach whose LEAST concerned with pleasing the players or the media. Teams almost always take on the attitude of their coaches, until that happens, this team will continue its muddling ways!!

    • bangkokben - Nov 26, 2015 at 1:41 PM

      Festivus for the rest of us. Not likely to get a high draft pick.

      Team Top Pick Top 3 Pick
      WAS 0.2% 2.5%

      Team Conf App Conf Win SB Win 16-0
      CAR 76.5% 48.5% 25.7% 13.6%
      NE 70.7% 43.6% 23.2% 10.5%
      WAS 2.1% 0.6% 0.2% 0.0%

      So the Redskins currently have the same chance as WINNING THE Super Bowl as they do getting the top pick in the draft. Furthermore, if the draft was held today, the Redskins would have the fifteenth pick if the season ended today. So the other 14 teams or a majority of them would have to win some games for our ‘skins to get a high pick. Might as well be positive and enjoy the wins – however many there are.

      • hk2000 - Nov 26, 2015 at 4:53 PM

        You’re always criticizing me for ‘assuming’ and yet you’re guilty of what you blame me for- this is not about Cousins, I don’t think he’s gonna be great, but I don’t mind if he ends up the new coach’s choice- I just don’t want the fat idiot back, that’s all.

      • hk2000 - Nov 26, 2015 at 5:04 PM


  7. JOHNNY B - Nov 26, 2015 at 1:38 PM

    The news just in we might have just lost Culiver again. Left practice on crutches so his knee and shoulder are injured. Unless Hall can be good at #2 our secondary will be lit up. Not going to say that we are done but not look good. So it will come down to a shoot out and I am worried about that.

    • bangkokben - Nov 26, 2015 at 1:46 PM

      Culliver has not been good the last two weeks. I hope heals fully and fast but until then Will Blackmon, DeAngelo Hall, and whoever else.

      • colmac69 - Nov 26, 2015 at 2:42 PM

        Looks like eagles have given up

        Just nd panthers to complete nice day now

        • bangkokben - Nov 26, 2015 at 3:02 PM

          Giants fans are rooting for the same thing.

      • JOHNNY B - Nov 26, 2015 at 2:55 PM

        No possible acl tear

        • bangkokben - Nov 26, 2015 at 3:02 PM

          That bites.

      • goback2rfk - Nov 26, 2015 at 8:50 PM

        Culliver has been horrible for us this year anyways. Certainly a loss but not exactly a huge won. In 6 games he has played this year he has 16 tackles and 1 pass deflection. Wow great season for a 4 year 32 million dollar guy.

  8. abanig - Nov 26, 2015 at 3:32 PM

    Golden opportunity

    • colmac69 - Nov 26, 2015 at 5:45 PM

      Tony romo playing great tonight lol

      Two ints ret for td….

  9. hail74 - Nov 26, 2015 at 5:43 PM

    Hated that Carolina D last week. Love em today!

    • colmac69 - Nov 26, 2015 at 5:47 PM

      Yeh…..hopefully he leaves some for us nxt wk

  10. JOHNNY B - Nov 26, 2015 at 7:02 PM

    Even more help Romo goes down

  11. Skulb - Nov 26, 2015 at 10:30 PM

    The Giants game is the decider for me. This team is not good enough to dig itself out of a two game hole this late and need to draw even on Sunday to keep hope alive. Having said that we do have two games against a defeated and now Romo-less Dallas and an away game against a decomposing Eagles team. All those games now look a lot more winnable to me than they did yesterday. So that leaves Buffalo and Chicago. If the Skins lose those two and clean the division that’s 8-8 and a playoff which is what it would take.
    New York have the Jets, Vikings and Panthers remaining and only one game against Philly to close the season. And they could easily lose all three of those games. They might even lose to the Dolphins who seem to have a knack for humiliating NFC East teams.
    I could see 8-8 Skins and 7-8 Giants. But only if the Skins win on Sunday. So that’s what I’m gonna cheer for I guess. It’d be nice with a playoff game, even if it is a one and out.

    • Skulb - Nov 26, 2015 at 10:32 PM

      7-9 Giants. Wouldn’t want to give them an extra bye week here.

    • goback2rfk - Nov 26, 2015 at 10:37 PM

      Playoffs? Playoffs?? Playoffs?! Sounds good to me, I do not care if we are 7 – 9 and make the playoffs still works for me. All the games are important but this game is HUGE. Gigantic. Wow fock this game is big.
      Code Fuking Red Fellas! Time to put your big boy pants on. It is going to come down to the weak Redskins secondary. Can they pull it together enough to stop Eli and ODB and company. I dont think they will, and honestly I am expecting a loss, but I am really wanting that W bad. Good luck Skins!

    • bangkokben - Nov 27, 2015 at 8:40 AM

      That fact that we’re even considering the “P” word this late in the year is progress. Win the division and “we” host a playoff game. That should mean something to us. Win Sunday and running the table is possible, lose Sunday and we’re striving for seven wins – considered a successful season at the beginning of the year but only a consolation prize.

  12. hk2000 - Nov 27, 2015 at 1:07 AM

    Happy Thanksgiving to all, Rich and everyone- even those who hate my guts!!!

  13. simon - Dec 1, 2015 at 6:15 PM

    Man I could’nt agree with most, if not all of the comments on the handling of the defence. Joe Barry’s reluctance to be agressive cost the skins dearly in the Falcon’s game, as well as the embarrassment in the game against the Panthers. The run production has got to pick up; especially with 2 quality backs on the roster. The Eagles & Cowboys are decimated. Call it (3) wins under our belts. With the Bills at home, and only the Bears left, the Skins look good for a 9_7 record; enough to take the East. The Giants remaining teams are a lot tougher…GO SKINS Archives

Follow Us On Twitter