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Rich Tandler is the author of Gut Check, The Complete History of Coach Joe Gibbs' Washington Redskins. Get details and order at http://GutCheckBook.com
Redskins Player of the Year
I have been emailed my ballot for The Quarterback Club's Redskins Player of the Year Award. This is not necessarily the "official" team MVP, but it's fairly significant. Before I fill my ballot out, I'd like to get your opinions.
First of all, if I was the kind of person who didn't vote as a sign of protest, I would be inclined to do so here. Clinton Portis is not on the ballot and he should be. When he gains over 100 yards on the ground, the Redskins win. And this is not one of those deals like it was with Riggins where the Redskins had a big lead and Riggo got over 100 running out the clock in the fourth quarter. Portis getting 100 yards is not the result of the Redskins having the lead, the Skins having the lead is the result of Portis' running. I'm not necessarily saying that I would vote for him, but he should be on the ballot.
But I'm not the type of person to vote for "none of the above" and I'll respect the organization that works hard to put all of this together. Besides, the four Redskins nominated are all outstanding players and good Redskins as well. The nominated players are:
- Antonio Pierce
- Fred Smoot
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Just to make it clear, I'm not necessarily going to vote according to the wishes of those of you who respond, but I'd certainly like to get your input before I fill out the ballot.
The ballot is due on Monday at noon EST, so get your views in before then!
Arrington Might Play on Sunday
I wouldn't be so quick to believe those who are saying that Lavar Arrington won't play on Sunday. From my Redskins Park sources:
''He moved very well,'' Redskins assistant head coach for defense Gregg Williams said. ''If he's not tremendously sore from what he did today he does have a chance. I never would have thought it. A lot of it is just attitude.'' The big test likely will come for Arrington today, based on how his surgically-repaired knee responds. It's uncertain how much he would play, if at all. He was still listed as questionable on the injury report.Dallas: It Doesn't Matter
OK, I promise to stop with any and all playoff scenario talk until after Sunday, at which point it either will cease because the Redskins will have lost and will be out of it or it will explode because it will have become significantly more realistic. Until then, one point:
It really doesn't matter what Dallas does in any of their games besides their Dec. 26 contest against the Redskins. If they win that game, the Redskins are out of it. If the Redskins win it, Dallas can finish no better than 8-8 and an 8-8 Redskins team would have them eliminated on tiebreakers. So, there's really nothing at stake in the Dallas-New Orleans game on Sunday because of that and the fact that New Orleans already has 8 losses and, again, Washington wins all tiebreakers against them if they're both 8-8.
December 7, 2004
You come here to get the skinny on what needs to happen for the Redskins to make the playoffs. You get it.
I was ready to write a long complicated article here, but it's really, really simple. Even though there are literally thousands of possible combinations of how the 11 teams with from six to eight losses could finish up, it boils down to this:
If the Redskins win out to finish at 8-8, they will be in the playoffs for certain unless one of three things happens:
Two other non-division winners finish with nine or more wins. Obviously, this would bump the Redskins out on the basis of record.
The Packers or a Ram team that lost to the Jets are one of the teams that finish 8-8. That would not necessarily eliminate the Redskins, but if they should emerge from the tiebreakers in the NFC North (I'll explain this little-noted NFL tiebreaker feature in a moment), the Pack would beat the Redskins out on the basis of their Halloween day win in FedEx and the Rams could get in ahead of Washington on the basis of other tiebreakers.
If you've made it this far through this blog, you are probably familiar with the NFL tiebreaking procedures, which you can find here: http://www.nfl.com/standings/tiebreakers Here are the procedures for a Wild Card tie among three or more teams. Pay particular attention to the first one on the list:
Three or More Clubs (for Wild Card) 1. Apply division tie breaker to eliminate all but the highest ranked club in each division prior to proceeding to step 2.So, only one team will "represent" each division in the Wild Card tiebreaker. If the Redskins win out, they will be the NFC East team in the mix if the Cowboys and/or Giants also finish at 8-8. Head to head wouldn't matter as the Redskins would have split with both. The Redskins would be 3-3 in the division and that is the best either Dallas or New York could be.
2. Head-to-head sweep. (Applicable only if one club has defeated each of the others or if one club has lost to each of the others.)
3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.
4. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.
5. Strength of victory.
6. Strength of schedule.
7. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
8. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
9. Best net points in conference games.
10. Best net points in all games.
11. Best net touchdowns in all games.
12. Coin toss
It would then come down to conference record. And here's the thing that makes it so simple for the Redskins. If they win out, they will be 8-4 in the conference. Except for Philadelphia, and they're not in the discussion here, no other NFC team except the Rams that finishes 8-8 can finish with any better than a 7-5 NFC record.
That would give the Redskins the tiebreaker within the division. They would then advance on to matching up against any representatives from the other three divisions. From the West, that could be the Rams, Seahawks, or Cardinals. The Redskins will not have played any of those teams so it will come down to conference record. Seattle's and Arizona's would be worse that theirs, so the Skins would prevail there. St. Louis could also finish at 8-4 in the NFC, so it would go down the list. There aren't four common games, so it would come down to strength of victory and it's way too early to judge that (although a Redskin win over Philly would certainly boost that).
Atlanta needs just one more win to clinch the South, but if they collapse to 8-8 the Redskins would beat them out. Washington beat Tampa Bay head to head and 8-8 New Orleans and Carolina teams would be 7-5 in the conference at best.
And, in the North, an 8-8 Redskins team would have beaten Detroit, Chicago, and Minnesota and would have lost to Green Bay. Now the Packers are 7-5 and it would take a 1-3 finish for them to finish at 8-8, so it's best just to pull for them to win a couple more. If they do end up in that mix, it would depend on who they beat to determine if they emerge from the North for that win over Washington to do them any good.
So who do you root for this Sunday before settling in at 8:30 to watch the Redskins? Pull for:
- Jacksonville to beat Chicago
- New Orleans to beat Dallas
- Green Bay to beat Detroit
- St. Louis to beat Carolina (this one is borderline, but Carolina needs to be cooled off lest they keep rolling and end up with 9 wins)
- Baltimore to beat the Giants
- San Diego to beat Tampa Bay
Should the Redskins still be alive after this Sunday I'll produce another "root for" list next week.
I'm doing this mostly for fun. It will take 7 teams to lose a combined 15 out of 28 games for the Redskins to make the playoffs (that's Dallas, New York, Detroit, Chicago, Carolina, and Tampa Bay losing two each and Seattle finishing out 1-3). And, oh by the way, the Redskins going 4-0.
I'm not betting the ranch on the chances of making the playoffs—I wouldn't even bet the dog house at this point. But if they can beat the Eagles and a good number of the "root fors" come through on Sunday, it gets into the "stranger things have happened" category.