Thursday, November 22, 2012

The 2012 Redskins are Streak Busters (Redskins/Cowboys Preview)

(Happy Thanksgiving everybody, enjoy some fun with Tony Romo)

This is not typically a game that the Redskins would win. Matter of fact it's the perfect type of "let down" game you would expect from the Washington Redskins. A prime time equivalent game (the Redskins have generally fared poorly in prime time games over the years) where the Redskins have the floor to show the world what they can do. They just destroyed a bad Eagles team, but nonetheless an Eagles team that has given them many headaches over the last decade plus. They are facing a Cowboys team with some serious issues (3/5ths of their O-line could be out today, same with their starting RB, #3 WR and a few D starters) and have a chance to face the Giants in 10 days for the NFCE lead (of course this means the Redskins need to win today and the Giants lose to the Packers on Sunday). Plus, the Redskins have bad memories when it comes to playing on Thanksgiving against the Cowboys. They have yet to beat Dallas -ever- on Thankgiving (0-6 vs. Cowboys) and Tony Romo is 5-0 when playing on Thanksgiving.

Not looking good is it?

But here's the thing: The Redskins have been notorious at breaking trends and streaks this year with much of it coming in the last two weeks. Let's start three weeks ago against the Panthers. We won't talk about that dreadful game but the streak that has been in DC almost as long as the Redskins. The Redskins Rule happened during an election year and the rule was simple enough- if the Redskins win the game prior to the election the incumbent president (or his party) would win. If they lose, the incumbent loses. With exception to 2004 where GW Bush won the electoral college and was re-elected (however, he did lose the popular vote) after a 'Skins loss to the Packers (BTW the loss to the Packers was controversial. A last second winning TD by the Redskins was called back by an illegal shift penalty THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN!!!!! I don't forgive or forget lousy officiating......). So, after the loss to the Panthers, it looked like Romney was destined to win. Not so, President Obama was re-elected. Move forward two weeks against the Eagles. Yes, the Eagles are a bad team but so are the Panthers so that means little to nothing. There were a ton of streaks/trends in last week's game that were broken. First, was that the Redskins were 0-4 coming off of the BYE week. This includes 2011 and 2010 where they faced the Eagles coming off a BYE and lost. The Redskins had been 0-8 against rookie QBs going back to 2005 and destroyed the future of the Eagles franchise in Nick Foles. Andy Reid had never lost 6 games in a row.....well now he has.

Also worth noting is the RGIII factor. Coming back to Texas for his first time since his Baylor days, you know that he plans to put on a show. This is Griffin's first time against the Cowboys and he could become another Cowboy killer just like Santana Moss and Chris Cooley. This is the type of game that Griffin seems to enjoy.

I'm not going to do my typical X's and O's look at this game or even talk about matchups because when the 'Skins play the Cowboys, all of that seems to go out the window any way. This should be a fun game to watch and hopefully, the 'Skins will be able to pull one out in Big D with a healthy following of Redskin and RGIII fans in attendance.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Here's the Outlook for the Remainder of the Season (Three Scenarios)

(Will 2012 end up like recent years with fans shaking their heads and face palming?)
As the Redskins come off the bye and prepare for their final seven games starting with the Eagles, people are discussing where this team is heading and whether or not the Redskins will ever be able to turn it around under Mike Shanahan and co. The way I see it, there are only three ways this pans out. Only one will make Redskin fans happy and I find it the least likely to happen. The other two seem more likely but you never know......

What you do need to know is that the Redskins play the NFC East a whopping 5 times in these final seven games. Three of those games are at home, which would mean something if FedEx actually provided a home field advantage (it doesn't for multiple reasons). Four of the seven games are at home (again an advantage for most teams, not the Redskins who are 1-3 at home this year). The Redskins will face teams that are currently 22-24 (.478) with 5 of those games against teams with losing records (Cowboys x2, Eagles x2, Browns). The teams with the two winning records (Giants, Ravens) are currently leading their divisions but neither look as dominating as they have in prior years.

After the bye, it looks like the Redskins are as healthy as they are going to be from here out. Nick Sundberg is back, Pierre Garcon is as well (even though he will not be 100% again this season, if ever). Brandon Meriweather will finally make his Redskins debut. Meanwhile, the Eagles and Cowboys seem to be in disarray. The Ravens have injury issues and can't play well on the road and the Browns are the Browns.

So let's look at the scenarios and guess where this team is headed.

WIN (5-2 or better)

The Redskins find a way to take advantage of bad teams and turn around what looked to be a mediocre season at best. I know what you're thinking "if they go 5-2, they only wind up with a 8-8 record, so what?". Well when the last time the Redskins had a winning record was 2007, you cherish any record that is .500 or better. I highly doubt this scenario happens just because the Redskins haven't played well against the NFCE or the Ravens in a while and I'm not fully convinced that a bye week will fix all of the problems that we've seen so far from the Redskins this year.

Positives: Maybe the Redskins are on the right track and are just some adjustments and a few players away from actually becoming a team worth watching. Maybe it is just the injuries that is holding the team back.

Negatives: Some of the players and coaches that the fans would like to see gone will be less likely gone if the 'Skins can win with them.

LOSE (2-5 or worse)

This means that at best the Redskins goes 5-11 or worse. You mean to tell me that the addition of Robert Griffin III dosen't make the Redskins any better than when Rex Grossman/John Beck was at the helm? Really? Yeah, I know the D has reached new levels of suckitude but I just can't see this team as bad as the 2011 squad. While the fans will be calling for Shanahan's head if this happens, he'll be back next year but I'll be convinced that he'll not be able to turn the franchise around. Might give me enough motivation to give up the season tickets.

Positives: There will have to be a sacrificial lamb or lambs to justify the return of this administration so expect a few big cap players to be gone and probably Danny Smith or Jim Haslett in the process.

Negatives: It will be another long, miserable off-season. The draft won't make it better. My advice is to skip the entire first round unless you want to hear ad nauseum about the Redskins trade for RGIII.

Medium (4-3 or 3-4)
This is where I see the team is heading which goes along with my 7-9 prediction. The good news is that the 'Skins at least beat one of the NFCE teams, probably Dallas in the final home game of the season.

Positives: Hopefully, the future is getting brighter. My hope would be that the team will be improved in various areas but there will be glaring weaknesses that can and will be addressed in the off-season.

Negatives: The Redskins still have a lot of work to do and Mike Shanahan will be entering his fourth season on a serious hot seat if he can't get the team turned around quickly in 2013.