Well, it all comes down to this. It has not been easy nor has it been tidy, but for the Redskins they have what amounts to an opportunity to control their own destiny and earn a playoff berth with a win over the Giants on Sunday.
Scott Allen at the Washington Post has put together a nice little write-up of the Redskins’ history of playing in week 17 and winning to get in the playoffs. Without being overly repetitive (you should go read it yourself), this is both a situation they’ve found themselves in before, and have had a good measure of success in these games in the past.
In reading through that list though, in an era where playoff success has come few and far between, many of those moments still stand out as rare moments of true joy that being a fan of this team has afforded me. I can recall exactly where I was for each of the last three games on that list (on a sofa with friends in Frederick, at a game watch party in Northwest, and a Chanukkah celebration in Silver Spring.) Each of those games represented special moments that in their own way made you want to remember where you were.
For me, and for many other Redskins fans of my generation, the highpoint in my Redskins fandom was week 17 of the 2012 season, a home win over a division rival to earn a division title and a spot in the playoffs. Let’s take a moment to re-live that game:
Though those good feelings were fleeting (like, less than one week long fleeting) but the Redskins have a chance to recapture some of those warm and fuzzies from four years ago with a win this weekend.
Last week, our staff was rewarded with a victory by picking the Redskins over the Bears in a straight sweep. This week’s game is a little less easy to pick, but with one game left to go, our Hogs Haven writers remain no less steadfast in their convictions:
Bryan H. Stabbe (4-1): 28-24, Redskins
The Giants aren’t going to make this one easy and reports indicate they’re choosing to defy conventional wisdom, and play their starters for the majority of the contest. Washington though, wins a hard-fought victory with a 300-yard day from Kirk Cousins and a game-sealing turnover on defense, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Aaron Lesher (2-1): 19-16, Redskins
The Redskins under Jay Gruden match up well with certain teams, just like they are painfully outclassed by others. The Giants are one of those teams I just think we match up well against right now. Their offense, even with Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard, has really struggled to put up points, and we've proved we're able to score on this "revamped" New York defense.
I think this will be an absolute nail-biter, but it's also a home game with a shot at the playoffs - I'm writing this as of 12/23 and the Redskins will be the 6th seed with a win vs. the Bears + Giants AND at least 1 Packers' and Buccaneers' loss.
Gabe (Cadillactica) (2-2): 24-10, Redskins
Redskins make the playoffs for the second straight year. Taking advantage of a team resting their starters.
Alex Rowsey (1-3): 26-18, Redskins
Tom Garrett (2-3): 28-24, Redskins
If the Giants are smart, they'll rest their starters for at least a half, if not the entire game. New York cannot improve its position with a win. It makes no sense to risk injury. However, I think there will be too many people whispering, "We played everyone at the end of 2007 and then won the Super Bowl" in Ben McAdoo's ear this week.
If that happens, I look forward to what should be a great game. I think it ends with Eli Manning getting a fourth-down pass to Odell Beckham in the end zone knocked away by Josh Norman, followed by multiple personal foul penalties on both sides before the Redskins kneel it down and move on to the playoffs for the second straight year.
Oh, and Joe Barry is coaching for his job at this point, in case that weren't already apparent.
HogHunter (3-2): 24-20, Redskins
The Giants are locked in for the 5th seed in the playoffs and don't have anything to gain from this game, but that doesn't mean they are going to lay down for an L and hand the Redskins a playoff spot. They won't be at full strength, and will rest their most injured players. Kirk Cousins will continue his prove it season with a 2nd win over the Giants this year, and a 2nd consecutive playoff bid with him as the starter.
Now it’s your turn to give us your predictions for the Redskins matchup against the Giants. Submit your prediction in the comment section below, and share who you think will win and why.