Redskins Must Win vs Giants


Sep 24, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) hands off the ball to Washington Redskins running back Alfred Morris (46) during first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Redskins are 4-6 after losing to the Carolina Panthers. They trail the 5-5 New York Giants and will get a chance to bring themselves into a tie with the Giants for the division lead if they are able to come out with the victory when they face them on Sunday. A loss by the Redskins would essentially give the Giants a three game lead over the Redskins due to the Giants win over them in week three of the 2015 season.

New York faces games versus the Jets, Dolphins, Panthers, Minnesota and the Eagles throughout the remainder of the season. Beating Washington would require the Giants to only have to win two of those five games to get to the magic record of 8-8 that will probably be what it takes to win the NFC East.

Beating the Redskins would actually make the Giants road even easier though since the Eagles are 4-6 and have games versus the Lions, Patriots, Bills, Cardinals, Redskins and Giants. Philadelphia would have to win four of those six games to finish at 8-8 so the Giants could conceivably lose to the Eagles at home in week 17 and still win the division at 8-8 even though they lost to the Eagles twice. So the Eagles have their own must win game in Detroit on Thanksgiving Day.

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The Cowboys are 3-7 and have to face the Panthers, Packers, Jets, Bills and Washington twice. They can afford only one loss if they are to finish at 8-8 and may get that tomorrow in Dallas against Carolina. If the Eagles and Cowboys both lose this week, the picture will be much clearer for the Redskins and Giants match-up.

A Redskins victory over New York would require them to still win three of their final five games versus Bears, Bills, Eagles and Cowboys twice. Only two of those games are at home for Washington, where they are 4-1. A loss to the Giants and the Redskins would need to win all five games and have a 9-7 record to have a realistic chance to take the NFC East.

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Even if the Redskins finish at 9-7 though, the Giants could finish at 9-7 also by winning three of their final five games. Having beaten the Redskins twice in that scenario, they would be in first place by virtue of the head to head tiebreaker. So the Redskins game versus New York on Sunday is definitely a must win game for Washington.

The good news is, I expect the Redskins to win on Sunday and to win three of their final five games to give them an 8-8 record. With a win over the Giants, the Redskins would have a 2-1 division record and a 5-3 conference record which would both lead the division. Those are the second and third tiebreakers after head to head and likely to be the factors that determine who wins the division and gets the NFC East’s only playoff spot.

I see the finish looking like this if the Redskins beat the Giants:

Team                                         Record  Division Conference

Washington                         8-8         3-3        7-5

New York                              7-9         3-3        5-7

Philadelphia                        6-10       3-3        4-8

Dallas                                     6-10       3-3        3-9

A loss to the Giants by the Redskins and I see it like this:

New York                               8-8        4-2        6-6

Washington                           7-9        2-4        6-6

Philadelphia                          6-10      3-3        4-8

Dallas                                       6-10      3-3        3-9

Wins by the Eagles and Cowboys tomorrow could put both teams in much better shape before the Redskins and Giants play. Losses by either team virtually knocks them out of the race, particularly if the Redskins lose and the Giants have a two game lead in the division. Redskins fans will be rooting against both the Eagles and Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day but both Eagles and Cowboy fans will be rooting for a Redskins victory on Sunday.