The Redskins concluded a disappointing, and at times emotionally draining 7-9 season last week. For Washington, it’s time to look ahead to what is shaping up to be a painfully notable off-season which will likely determine the future of the franchise. But now that the playoffs are here, it’s time to enjoy some pleasant, emotionally detached football without a true horse in the race.
Along with postseason play, we can also get in on everyone’s favorite football pastime: rampant and wild speculation. So based on a season of watching NFL Redzone during Redskins timeouts, and Washington’s six games against five teams still in the running, here are some predictions for how the next few weeks will pan out:
The top-seeded Eagles will lose in the divisional round, regardless of their opponent
Washington went win-less against the Eagles in 2017 in their two NFC East divisional regular season match-ups. In week one, the Redskins were unable to capitalize on a Ryan Kerrigan pick-6 and sloppy play resulted in a 30-17 season-opening loss. In week seven on Monday Night, the Redskins fell in their second contest 34-24 in a game that exposed Washington's inability both to throw the ball deep and rush in short yardage situations.
The common denominator in both of those games was Carson Wentz’s ability to beat the defense by moving around in the pocket going a combined 43 of 64 for 575 passing yards, 6 TD, 2 INT, adding 12 rushes for 69 yards in those two games. An early-season MVP candidate, Wentz has since been hobbled and his backup Nick Foles, though competent, does not provide the same threat to take over the game as his predecessor.
Regardless of who the Eagles face, without their top offensive weapon, Philly will be sent packing without a playoff victory.
Jared Goff’s Rams are too inexperienced to go far, but they’ll be back again next year
The Rams are hosting their first home playoff game in Los Angeles since 1986, and return to the postseason in just their second year since relocating from St. Louis.
In week two, the Redskins went to the west coast and knocked off the Rams 27-20 on the shoulders of Chris Thompson’s 106 total yards with help from Rob Kelley’s 76 yards on the ground.
Whereas Carson Wentz’s ability to elude would-be tacklers in the pocket made the Redskins defenders look like they were hugging a ghost, Washington’s front-seven limited Jared Goff’s mobility in their second contest, sacking him twice and picking him off once.
The Rams turnaround this year was exceptional, and their young stars including Goff, Todd Gurley, Alec Ogletree and Aaron Donald have them in a nice position to return to the playoffs for years to come, but ultimately their inexperience won’t be enough to overcome the veteran Matt Ryan as he looks to excise the demons of last year’s 28-3 Super Bowl collapse.
Andy Reid and Chiefs won’t be able to outrun their own shadow for much longer
Redskins were 6.5-point underdogs against the Chiefs in week four, and lost on Monday Night Football, 29-20 which dropped their record at the time to 2-2. However, they made Kansas City look very human, and raised some eyebrows in the process in a Monday Night tilt.
In that contest, the Redskins posted four or more sacks in consecutive games for the first time since a three-game span in Weeks 15-17 of the 2015 season.
Alex Smith went 27/38 for 239 and one score. Kareem Hunt topped the century mark, with 101 yards on 21 carries. Travis Kelce finished with seven catches and 111 receiving yards, the tenth 100-yard receiving game of his five-year career.
In what had to be SVP’s “Bad Beat” of the week, Washington gave up a garbage time touchdown that simultaneous put the point total from under to over, and beat the spread.
If you took WAS +7 congratulations on the worst beat of all time. pic.twitter.com/KSAy11vNMU— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) October 3, 2017
Kansas City staved off a nearly historic back-slide as they return to the playoffs this season.
The Tennessee Titans showed a tremendous amount of heart, knocking off the Jaguars (who admittedly had little to play for with their playoff fate clinched) in week 17, and are riding high making it to the post-season after being on the outside looking in heading into their final regular season game. Tennessee will continue to ride that momentum and knock off a team that the Redskins brought down to earth early in the season, albeit in a loss.
The Vikings season will end with a crushing defeat
In week 10, the Redskins were 1.5 point underdogs at home against a Vikings squad fresh off their bye week. After mounting a 4th quarter comeback bid, Minnesota downed Washington 38-30.
Maurice Harris gave the Redskins their highlight play of the year on the game’s opening drive, and then was subsequently banished to the Upside Down for the rest of the season.
Case Keenum inexplicably became the first Vikings quarterback since Brett Favre to pass for 300 yards and four touchdowns, and made himself the second favorite answer who the question, “which controversial quarterback is going to make way too much money this off-season?” behind Kirk Cousins.
The Vikings capitalized on Aaron Rodgers’ season-ending injury and go to the postseason as the number two seed, having earned the NFC North crown. With the first round bye, it is unclear how their playoff path will develop, and though we don’t know to whom, in what round, or in what fashion, we all know that the Vikings are going to take another crippling punch to the gut, as is tradition (maybe at home in the Super Bowl!)
Also, while we’re making predictions: one of the quarterbacks (to be determined) on the Vikings roster will suit up for the Redskins next season.
The Patriots will win the Super Bowl
Because the universe is unfair, time is a flat circle, and nothing really matters.
Now it’s your turn to share some predictions for what will happen this year in the playoffs? Chime in with your best guesses in the comments below.