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Division games hold the key for the Redskins

Dec 7, 2015, 11:56 AM EDT


You hear it from coaches and players all the time—of the 16 games on the schedule the most important are the six games against the teams in your division.

The Redskins are about to demonstrate the truth of that adage over their last five games.

They have three division games left with tonight’s game against the Cowboys and their last two games of the regular season at Philadelphia and at Dallas. Those are three very important games.

How important? If the Redskins sweep those games they will be virtually assured of winning the division no matter what they do in their other two games at Chicago and against the Bills at home. Going 3-0 in those division games would give the Redskins the division title unless the Giants, who are 5-7 and a half game behind Washington, run the table in their remaining four games.

The reason the division games are so big for the Redskins is the tiebreaker system. The first tiebreaker is head-to-head record. So far the Redskins have split with the Giants and have beaten the Eagles, who like the Giants are 5-7, once. If the Redskins beat the Eagles in Week 16 they would hold that tiebreaker over them. That would essentially eliminate the Eagles if the Redskins can take care of business against Dallas twice.

Here are the current NFC East records:

Redskins: 2-1
Eagles: 2-2
Giants: 2-3
Cowboys 2-2

If the Redskins run the table in the division they would have only one division loss and at least eight wins overall. Should the Giants and/or Eagles get to eight wins the Redskins would hold the tiebreaker in this scenario, division record over New York and head-to-head against the Eagles.

If the Redskins finish 8-8 and the Giants run the table, New York would be 9-7 and then, of course, tiebreakers don’t matter.

Even two division wins could get the job done for the Redskins as long as one of them is against the Eagles, giving Washington the head-to-head sweep. That would mean that the Redskins would have two division losses Giants would have at least three.

Of course, the best way for the Redskins to get this done would be to win all of their remaining games and not have to get involved in tiebreakers. But it is good to have some margin for error and the Redskins likely have that if they can beat some familiar foes.

  1. bangkokben - Dec 7, 2015 at 12:09 PM

    Worse case scenario. Ending tied with Eagles if the Eagles win their last two games against the Redskins then Giants. What happened to Tom “Terrific?” He was supposed to assure that that scenario wasn’t on the board.

    • ajbus1 - Dec 7, 2015 at 1:35 PM

      Have you looked at the way the Eagles scored their points? A win is a win but the Eagles had more than their share of luck yesterday.

    • captblood3000 - Dec 7, 2015 at 1:53 PM

      Brady can’t run his receivers’ routes. Except for that trick play. He looked pretty nifty on that.

      • sidepull - Dec 7, 2015 at 4:51 PM

        Yup he had em within a TD despite all the uncharacteristic Patriot play. Eagles got out of there with a win was nothing short of miraculous. Thats not going to happen again anytime soon.

      • bangkokben - Dec 7, 2015 at 6:19 PM

        No, i jest just a little. Had Kirk Cousins thrown those picks yesterday, we know how THIS fan base would’ve reacted. Brady is arguably THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME, yet “we” are so quick to run to his defense – three crazy flukey TDs, the injuries, the unreliable hands of his receivers. I just think if any one shouldn’t get these “excuses,” it’s the GREATEST OF ALL TIME. But, seriously those were all factors in the game.

        I dare not type because I might jinx it but I will, Kirk Cousins – and probably a handful of other starters – has yet to throw a Red Zone interception this year – let alone a Red Zone pick six. (Knocking on wood.)

    • JOHNNY B - Dec 7, 2015 at 4:54 PM

      If we end up tied with the Eagles they hold the tie breaker unless we beat them again.

  2. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Dec 7, 2015 at 12:28 PM

    We have to win tonight to show that we can handle the pressure of a prime time game.

    It’s at home and the Cowboys are without Romo…no excuses.

    • ajbus1 - Dec 7, 2015 at 1:36 PM

      Absolutely. No excuses. Win tonight and then get some wins on the damn road!

  3. captblood3000 - Dec 7, 2015 at 1:50 PM

    The Gints won’t “run the table”. They have the Panthers at home and they go to Minnesota. I see them finishing 7-9.

    I watched the Gints play the Jets and neither team looked good.

    • goback2rfk - Dec 7, 2015 at 3:11 PM

      If the Panthers win next week they might sit the starters for the rest of the regular season. They can lock up home field and 1st round bye next week. Cant see them letting Cam take shots for meaningless regular season games towards the end of the season.

      • JOHNNY B - Dec 7, 2015 at 4:51 PM

        Cam wants a perfect season

      • sidepull - Dec 7, 2015 at 4:54 PM

        Dunno. Never know what they might be thinking if an “undefeated season” is in play. Doesn’t mean they are going to make the right decision.

  4. metalman5150 - Dec 7, 2015 at 1:54 PM

    This is what the season comes down to. Hopefully our Skin’s will shine in Prime Time!!!!
    A man can hope, right?!

  5. kenlinkins - Dec 7, 2015 at 3:21 PM

    I listed my concerns for this games as 1. A developing head coach 2. Tackling 3. Blocking. It is clear to me that these three things have as much to do with “mindset” as “talent”. Rich posted that he would not be shocked if the Redskins struggle tonight due to over confidence (i.e. mindset”). Rich has been pretty good at knowing when the Redskins are a bit off before a game. I find it crazy that a team that has yet to win two games back to back and have not yet hit the 500% mark this season could be over confident after a game where they were one big mistake away from being 4-7 and fighting to stay out of last place in the NFC East. Still I have to give Rich credit for making that statement. It would be much easier to just say the “Redskins will win” like most of the beat reporters and act dumb founded on Tuesday morning. I do wonder just what Rich has seen that would cause him to point out that he feels the Redskins may not be 100% mentally ready. If Rich is correct and the Redskins should show up with less than 100% effort I hope he explains just how he figured it out (as I just can not seem to get a handle on this teams self ID). I figure the Redskins should win by 10, but after reading Rich this week I would settle for any kind of win and will avoid my bookie until after kick off! PS: it is me, or does it just not feel like “Dallas Week”? I hope the home fans can push the Redskins to a win but I am just not sure the home field advantage is in full force yet and that is the biggest shocker of all! HTTR (with my finger crossed).

    • brucefan1 - Dec 7, 2015 at 5:04 PM

      “I find it crazy that a team that has yet to win two games back to back and have not yet hit the 500% mark this season could be over confident”

      I do too, ken … but unfortunately it’s what teams that are, deep in their hearts, still a bit unsure, that haven’t quite learned how to properly focus for :60 in the biggest games frequently do.

      Not saying that describes this Redskins team — but I’m also not saying it doesn’t. That jury is still out. That’s something were gonna hafta find out tonite.

      This team seems to be improving in increments — step by baby step. They’ve taken a few important strides over the course of the season; this would be a BIG one — under national klieg lights against an ancient division arch rival with sole possession of first place on the line — if they can take it!

  6. murphsman - Dec 7, 2015 at 3:52 PM

    I don’t think Rich has seen anything. I think he made that comment based on past behavior, as we have seen that type of thing happen with this team as recently as last year. Plus, the Giants overlooked us last week (forget which player said that) and Rich was saying that was an easy thing to do. As for your comment about not being “Dallas week”, I’m not from the dc area, so i don’t if you mean locally or what.

  7. skinsgame - Dec 7, 2015 at 4:26 PM

    The Redskins should have matchup advantages all over the place. This is a game where execution will be tested. Run clean routes, block the man in front of you, avoid penalties, win the game.

  8. baugh33 - Dec 7, 2015 at 4:58 PM

    I am a fan of changing the scheduling. Yes, it is nice when the games work out so division games count but the truth is, you could win your division at 10-6 and never win a division game.

    I am in favor of changing it to this:

    You play each team in your division three times – rotating the last home game year to year.
    Then you play each team that finished in the same place you did the previous year.

    This takes care of parity and makes the division games so much more important. Not to say you can’t win your division at 7-9 but it is a lot less likely to do so.

    • bangkokben - Dec 7, 2015 at 6:52 PM

      When they first changed the schedule in 2002, I felt the same way. Now, I see the parity. There has been no team in the approximate 14 seasons that have done exactly what you stated. So (14 x 8) 112 teams have tried and failed to win only the ten non-division games – eight of which are common opponents. The 2010 Oakland Raiders became the first team to go 6-0 within the division but not make the playoffs. They were 8-8 and 3rd place in the division. You might see the injustice in that but since 2002, each team within each division has played 14 identical games of the 16 game schedule with the other division opponents. So the Raiders did not do well in the other eight games. This allows for parity within the divisions. Therefore, it is completely unnecessary to add division games. Your suggestion is fixing what isn’t broken.

      Having said that, there are some imbalances to this schedule. Atlanta’s first four games of the season were against each of the NFC East teams, for instance. Atlanta got off to a great 5-0 start with that schedule anomaly but the NFC East was perhaps more of a slow starter than a push over. Both the Saints and Buccaneers are just 2-2 against the NFC East and Tampa swept the season series with Atlanta. The Panthers are 3-0 against the NFC East and still have to play the Giants but haven’t lost to any team. Moreover, when the season began, the thought was that the NFC East would be more dominant than the NFC South as the Panthers won the division last year with a 7-8-1 record.

  9. JOHNNY B - Dec 7, 2015 at 6:05 PM

    I just realized that the disfunction that plagued the Redskins for the past 20 years is starting to leave our great team. When you have that much disfunction leaving one place it has to go somewhere. That can explain what is happening in the NFC East and the NFL. A little bit to this team a little bit to that team. We definitely had enough to spread around. Now maybe we can get on with the Second coming of the great days of the hogs. HTTR

  10. colmac69 - Dec 7, 2015 at 6:12 PM

    One thing we nd to remember it not end of world if we lose…we still in first place

    Disappointing for sure but still in our hands

    Hope yous enjoy game…..I won’t see it till bout 6am due to game being played middle of night UK time

    Here to victory Httr

    • brucefan1 - Dec 7, 2015 at 6:27 PM

      Haha! Looks like its getting close to bedtime in Jolly Ol’ right about now colmac! Pleasant dreams … of a Redskins victory.

      (Fwiw, 69, I have very fond memories of a couple visits to the UK! Both my sons spent time studying in London, and we all visited twice — in ’07 and in 2012 for the London Olympics (including a trip to Edinburgh). Can’t wait to go back; so much more to see and do!)

      • colmac69 - Dec 7, 2015 at 6:41 PM

        Yeh definitely lot to see and do my friend……hoping to get dwn to London to watch skins play bengals nxt yr

        Could stay up and watch it live but don’t think I b able to get up for work lol…..

        • bangkokben - Dec 7, 2015 at 7:00 PM

          Work? What’s that? I for years showed up Monday an hour or two after games – more losses than victories – like a coked up new mother of quintuplets. I remember getting Tuesday morning off ten years ago thinking what a waste of time as I sat on my friend’s coach getting verbally abused by “friends” as we watched the Redskins hopeless offense trail the Cowboys 13-0 only for Santana Moss to catch back to back bombs in the closing minutes. Worth it!

  11. goback2rfk - Dec 7, 2015 at 6:21 PM

    I hope Desean Jackson goes off. I want to see one of those big 2 TD games, with 9 catches, and 165 yards.
    Can’t wait to see if Jackson proves he is worth the big salary cap numbers. Would be cool if they let him return a couple punts while they are at it. At one point in time, Jackson was considered a punt return specialist. Lets put his skills to use here at the end of the reg season.
    Really want that big victory tonight, Got a New Redskins flag and installed a 25 foot flag pole in the front yard. I hope I am hoisting that flag in the morning! HTTR!

    • brucefan1 - Dec 7, 2015 at 6:41 PM

      I been thinking about DJax all day too; should/will they turn him loose for a big strike right outta the chute — or would that be too predictable?? LOL

      It would be a nice way to take the last of the fight out of a team that may be undecided about just how hard they want to fight for rest of its season right about now … perhaps feeling a little sorry for itself.

      But you know the old story … it’s been repeated in these comments already; do NOT let a guy who is down up off the mat and give him hope that he still has a puncher’s chance.

      Avoiding THAT mistake is just another step the Skins can take tonite on the path to true respectability.

  12. goback2rfk - Dec 7, 2015 at 6:26 PM

    LETS GET THIS SKINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • goback2rfk - Dec 7, 2015 at 6:27 PM


  13. brucefan1 - Dec 7, 2015 at 8:17 PM

    Game time!

    While I’m confident in what the Skins can do, something sticks in my craw; a loss will KILL the Pukes season dead, and send them into oblivion — but a Skins loss will only drop them into a tie for first. Bad but not fatal.

    In a close match-up, which I consider this to be, that little extra bit of motivation (desperation?) can be crucial.

    • bangkokben - Dec 8, 2015 at 7:48 AM

      Spot on. I felt the same way. Let’s see how our team responds. Desperate Bears next.Agr

  14. skinsgame - Dec 7, 2015 at 9:54 PM

    Twice the refs squashed drives, at least. It’s just going to be like that every week. The refs taint nearly every game in the league. Horrible.

    • bangkokben - Dec 8, 2015 at 7:49 AM

      Agreed. The refs are like the Umpires in baseball – inconsistent and arbitrary and now the decisive factor in games. Horse sHt!

  15. goback2rfk - Dec 7, 2015 at 10:05 PM

    Rod Marinelli where the Skins out

  16. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Dec 7, 2015 at 10:47 PM

    Come on guys, 1 quarter left!

    Yes, you need to beat both the Cowboys and Walt Anderson’s zebras.

  17. goback2rfk - Dec 7, 2015 at 11:27 PM

    Oh Wow. Desean on the 25 Yard Loss Punt Return. Oh Dear.

  18. ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Dec 7, 2015 at 11:27 PM

    Dammit DeSean. What the hell was in your frickin’ brain???

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Dec 7, 2015 at 11:38 PM


      • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Dec 7, 2015 at 11:45 PM

        Or not.

        • goback2rfk - Dec 8, 2015 at 12:19 AM

          He almost took the ball all the way back into the end-zone for a safety. Was certainly one of top worst plays the Skins have made this decade. 25 Yard Punt Return Loss and Fumble for Loss. ha!

        • bangkokben - Dec 8, 2015 at 7:52 AM

          DeSean scoring with 44 seconds left is the equivalent of him not reversing field and fumbling and the Redskins drive that begins on 25 with two minutes to go stalling with 44 seconds left.

  19. skinsgame - Dec 7, 2015 at 11:56 PM

    Wild finish and in the end, couldn’t get it done in prime time again.

    • goback2rfk - Dec 8, 2015 at 12:17 AM

      OuCH! Big disappointment for the Skins who are clearly still trying to find their way. What a loss. What a loss.
      Congrats to the Girlz.

  20. goback2rfk - Dec 7, 2015 at 11:56 PM

    3 Way Tie Up Top of the NFC East with 4 to Play. Cowboys defense dominated the line of scrimmage. Horrible mistakes all over the damn place. Deasean’s punt return was one of the worst plays i have seen in a very very long time.

  21. colmac69 - Dec 8, 2015 at 2:53 AM

    Missed opportunity……offense one step forward three back….pens hurting again…..pts off turnovers big problem as it’s bn all yr….

    Big miss by kicker changed game imo….hard to put too much on him tho as he bn great since he signed

    Defense xcellent again…..

    7-9 could win this div….looking at games left all four could lose least 2,3 games….going dwn to last 2wks for sure……..

    We can’t string 2 wins together….dallas offense is horrible…philly offense just as bad and giants kp giving games away….

    One thing for sure there few twist and turns left over last few wks…..defeat last night ended any chance of qualifying as wildcard

    • JOHNNY B - Dec 8, 2015 at 4:09 AM

      It was the Cowboys defense that had Cousins flustered. No confidence in his eyes all night until 4th quarter. That is why we lost.

      • skinsgame - Dec 8, 2015 at 6:07 AM

        He never seemed to look downfield after the early sacks. Penalties were impactful in the loss as well though. Hard to pinpoint one aspect when there were several things wrong.

  22. metalman5150 - Dec 8, 2015 at 9:04 AM

    Well there were many head scratchers. Like the penalties against Garcon for OPI – BUT none of the penalties in this game were the reason for our defeat. D-JAx returning and fumbling that kick off was brutal and the single most impactful reason for our loss. What a stupid play – no matter how well DJax recovered or redeemed himself, that was up there with the play when he was an Eagle and dropped the football before crossing the end zone, for a would-have-been-td.
    I don’t envy your job, Rich. This team makes my hair turn grey, they ruin my Mondays / Tuesdays.They ruin my Fall & Winter seasonal. Want to root for the team but people call me a racist for supporting them.
    At least now, I can begin to look at 2016 nil mock drafts and begin speculating as to who & what will be available for the Skins. Thinking about next year’s draft is more appealing to me, now, than watching the games. Archives

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