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Illegal Notion: Sunday...Funday...?

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The Best Sunday of the Year

Redskins fans have been blessed with Redskins-less Sundays two out of the last three weeks. Two weeks ago, the team got the ugliness out of the way on Thursday against their old buddy Kurt’s Vikings, and last week was a decent showing from the rookie Dwayne Haskins Jr. that still resulted in a loss (best of both worlds). But this past weekend...this past weekend...was a verifiable miracle. Not only did the team fans hate to love not exist an even marginal level, but the Redskins’ 2020 NFL Draft pick gained a major boost with the Dolphins, Falcons, and Jets all doing the unthinkable, as they each emerged victorious on that glorious day of November 10th, 2019. The Redskins’ draft stock actually remains just where it was last week, at second overall, but the team has now secured a one-game lead for that second overall pick over the Falcons, Dolphins, and Jets, as well as maintaining a one-game lead over their fierce NFC East rival Giants. The Redskins are, for now, the only one-win team in the league, and currently trail only the winless Bengals in draft order. While many of you still don’t see how losing every remaining game is inarguably the best scenario for this organization, let’s make it more clear…

Every game the Redskins lose…

  1. Increases the likelihood of a Bruce Allen ‘retirement’ therefore increasing the likelihood of any form of happiness-for any of us-in the future.
  2. Increases the likelihood of an organizational overhaul, hopefully including the appointment of a real-life GM who can pick a coach...and maybe finally resembling a real NFL franchise?
  3. Increases the likelihood that the Redskins will maintain a top-two pick in April’s quarterback-heavy draft
  4. Increases the chances that the Redskins will either:
  • Land an elite, possibly game-changing, pass-rusher in Chase Young
  • Trade out of the 2nd overall pick with the quarterback-needy and draft pick-rich Miami Dolphins, possibly resulting in amassing an extra four selections in the top 100 picks, including at least two first-rounders, in return

Every game the Redskins win…

  1. Increases the likelihood of Bruce Allen maintaining his over-powered, poisonous role in the Redskins organization, therefore decreasing the likelihood of happiness-for any of us-in the future
  2. Decreases the likelihood of an organizational overhaul in an organization that clearly, by all accounts-including fans, media, other executives, and even their own employees, whether it be players or otherwise-needs a massive culture overhaul
  3. Decreases the likelihood that the Redskins will maintain a top-two pick in April’s quarterback-heavy draft
  4. Decreases the chances that the Redskins will either:
  • Land an elite, possibly game-changing, pass-rusher in Chase Young
  • Trade out of the 2nd overall pick with the quarterback-needy and draft pick-rich Miami Dolphins, possibly resulting in amassing an extra four selections in the top 100 picks, including at least two first-rounders, in return

OK...now that I’ve laid out the facts, let me ask you the following questions;

  1. Is it better to have more change or less change in an organization with a loser mentality and a substandard—hah...I’m sorry...pathetic—culture?
  2. Is it better to have a higher draft pick or lower draft pick?
  3. Is it better to have more draft picks or less draft picks?
  4. Is it better to have more impact players or less impact players?
  5. Is it better to have more brain cells or less brain cells?

If your answer isn’t ‘more _____’ to all of those questions, you lack the cognitive capacity to comprehend my impeccable locution. The clear and obvious answer to all of the above queries is that more is better, and landing a top-two pick in April may be the only glimmer of hope-the only light at the end of this perpetual labyrinthine tunnel-for this fanbase. The Redskins must lose, and they must lose in embarrassing fashion, if the organization’s supposed desire for success is going to be fulfilled. Now, the question you should be asking me is...how do we get there?

The Way Out

Let’s start with some good news...first off, the Redskins control their own destiny. If they lose the rest of their games, they cannot have a pick worse than 2nd overall. Additionally, the Redskins’ remaining strength of schedule ranks 20th in the league, which is second-hardest out of the bottom-six teams in the NFL, trailing only the 7th-ranked Falcons. The Bengals (26th), Giants (24th), Dolphins (29th), Jets (28th), all have easier remaining schedules and, therefore, are projected to be have a better chance to win game(s). Each team has at least two games against an opponent that currently has three or fewer wins, however, meaning this list could change dramatically in the coming weeks.

Now for the bad news; the Redskins’ total strength of schedule, accounting for both games played and future projections, is stronger (15.1) than the Giants (25.0), Dolphins (21.7), and Jets (24.8). So, if the Giants, Dolphins, and Jets each lose the rest of their games and the Redskins win a single game, they would drop from 2nd to 5th place simply because of their stronger strength of schedule. Now, this of course becomes more complicated, as the Redskins play both the Giants and Jets before the end of the season.

The first step for the Redskins is losing to the New York Jets this week. If the Redskins lose, dropping to 1-9, the Jets will have a 2-game lead in the standings, which basically eliminates them from the group of credible threats, even if the Redskins were to win another game. The other worrisome game is against the New York Giants in Week 16. Again, the key here is that the Redskins lose. If they do, the Giants will pick behind the Redskins even if the Redskins end up going 2-14. Aside from those two matchups, the Redskins could conceivably lose the rest of their games. However, their 23rd-overall defense as ranked by Football Outsiders’ DVOA is a bit worrisome, as it could be worth a win in the final seven games. The hope is that the Redskins’ putrid, low-scoring, 30th-ranked offense won’t score enough points to win-no matter how good the defense is. For the remainder of the season, the Redskins are not favored in any game, with their only ‘PUSH’ game coming this weekend against the Jets.

What about everybody else?

The Bengals are the clubhouse leader for the first overall pick, as they don’t have a unit on their team that ranks above 29th in DVOA. The team’s weighted DVOA, which adjusts for recent game performance, places the Bengals at 32nd overall. Cincinnati is not favored in any games for the remainder of the season, but has one ‘PUSH’ game remaining against the Dolphins. The Giants, who currently hold the third pick, remain a looming threat to the Redskins’ draft stock mostly because the teams meet one more time in December, as previously mentioned. The ‘loser’ of that game could end up with the second-overall pick. The Giants rank 27th in weighted DVOA, but their 24th-ranked offense and 25th-ranked defense give the team two of the most competent units on this list. The Giants are favored against both the Redskins and Dolphins moving forward.

The Dolphins are currently picking fourth, but are the top threat to the Redskins as of right now. Though the team is on a two-game win-streak, they rank 31st in weighted DVOA, meaning both wins have come with the second-worst-performing roster in the league. The chances of Miami winning another game are low, but they have two ‘PUSH’ games remaining in the Jets and Bengals. Next up, at fifth overall, the Jets looked much more competent on offense against the aforementioned Giants, and with three games remaining against teams with three or less wins, look for the Jets to win at least one more game. Even if that game isn’t against the Redskins, the Jets are looking like a team headed downward on the draft board, as the team’s defensive DVOA ranks 19th in the league, tied for the best unit on this list, and the defense’s numbers (30th) should improve as the turnovers decrease on offense. The Jets are favored against the Bengals and currently have two ‘PUSH’ games against the Redskins and Dolphins.

Lastly, at sixth overall, the Falcons are not much of a threat to the Redskins moving forward. They have the 7th-toughest schedule in the league, but they also only play two more teams with three or less wins. A healthy Matt Ryan clearly makes a massive difference for Atlanta, and I just don’t see this team, who already boasted the 19th best offense in the league without their MVP healthy, finishing with anything less than 5 wins. Atlanta is currently favored in two games in addition to a ‘PUSH’ game against the Jaguars.

If we want to look at predictive analysis of the draft order in the 2020 Draft, the Redskins are projected to pick third, with the Bengals and Dolphins picking ahead of them and the Giants and Jets picking just after. If I had to make my best educated guess, based on the numbers I’ve combed through, I think the Redskins will end up picking second. I do believe they somehow will win another game, but I also believe the Dolphins and Giants win one more game and the Jets win two, putting each team at 3+ wins. But seriously...predicting the future of the NFL may seem to be is a foolish, and sometimes always futile, task, I just spent a couple hours doing it, so...yay?

Note: Though the game will not likely have a meaningful impact on the above numbers, DVOA stats are not including the results of Monday Night Football on November 11th.