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November 21, 2017

NFC Hierarchy/Obituary: Redskins dead; Eagles still No. 1

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Heading into Week 11 of the NFL season, we had only killed off five teams -- the Giants, 49ers, Bears, Buccaneers, and Cardinals. Today we'll kill off a second NFC East team, the Washington Redskins.

Obituary: Redskins

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With their front office a mess, the Redskins came into 2017 with the potential to be a complete and total dumpster fire. As it turned out, they really weren't bad. Instead, they were victims of a brutal schedule and a laundry list of injuries.

Through their first 10 games, the Redskins have faced teams with a combined record of 63-37 (.630).

 OpponentWins Losses 
 Eagles9
 Rams
 Raiders
 Chiefs
 49ers
 Eagles
 Cowboys
 Seahawks
 Vikings
 Saints
 TOTAL63 37 


They have faced five division leaders, the best team in the NFL twice, and have played just one game against a team with a losing record. Still, they managed to beat the Rams and Seahawks on the road, and almost pulled off a road upset of the Saints. It was that Saints game that ultimately did them in, as they held a 15-point lead with six minutes to go, then choked it away.

At points during this season, the Redskins were missing four out of five offensive line starters. You simply don't have much of a chance of winning football games when you're handicapped to that degree, and still, they ended up winning four games.

Typically, when you have a team that has been able to win a handful of games and stay in a lot of others against really good teams despite heavy adversity, that can be a sign that they'll be good next year. Unfortunately for the Redskins, there's a pretty good chance they'll either be starting over with a new quarterback in 2018 or wildly overpaying their current one.

A look at the NFC standings:

Team Record Div record Conf record 
 Eagles9-1 4-0 7-0 
 Vikings8-2 2-1 6-1 
 Saints8-2 2-0 6-1 
 Rams7-3 2-1 4-3 
 Panthers7-3 2-1 4-3 
 Falcons6-4 0-1 5-1 
 Lions6-4 3-0 5-3 
 Seahawks6-4 3-0 4-3 
 Packers5-5 2-2 4-4 
 Cowboys5-5 2-1 4-4 
 Redskins (dead)4-6 0-3 3-5 
 Cardinals (dead)4-6 2-2 3-5 
 Buccaneers (dead)4-6 0-2 2-4 
 Bears (dead)3-7 0-4 1-7 
 Giants (dead)2-8 0-2 0-7 
 49ers (dead)1-9 0-4 1-8 


Graveyard

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Hierarchy

10) Packers (5-5): The Packers have won four playoff games against NFC East teams (Cowboys twice, Giants and Redskins) in the last three years. They'll be dead after they lose in Pittsburgh next week. 

9) Cowboys (5-5): I can't state the Cowboys' current offense any simpler than this:

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8) Lions (6-4): The Lions have a home game this week against the Vikings, and then they don't play another opponent the rest of the way that currently has a winning record. The Lions could very well get into the playoff on the strength of a very weak schedule.

7) Seahawks (6-4): The Seahawks are now a very flawed team with the losses of Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor for the season. However, watching their game last night against the Falcons was a reminder that Russell Wilson is still really freaking good. This is a team that could play the part of the Packers this season, in that they have a quarterback that makes plays and can mask an otherwise shaky roster.

6) Panthers (7-3): This is a hot and cold team that is presently hot and on a three-game winning streak. After a road game this weekend against the Jets, they'll play the Vikings and Saints. If they can win one of those two games against the Vikings or Saints, they should be in good shape to get into the playoffs.

5) Rams (7-3): The Rams had a chance to really make a statement on the road against a good Vikings team, and then they put just 7 points on the board.

4) Falcons (6-4): Atlanta has an underrated defense, a quarterback who was the 2016 MVP, a star wide receiver, and great complementary skill position players. This is the team you do not want to have to face in your first playoff game coming off a first-round bye if you're the Eagles.

3) Vikings (8-2): No matter how good they look from week to week, I still can't shake the idea that their quarterback is Case Keenum.

2) Saints (8-2): New Orleans looked vulnerable at times on Sunday, but they gutted out a big comeback win over Washington that'll help them build character. That offense is a handful.

1) Eagles (9-1): The entire roster has elevated their game, and this is the most complete team in the NFL.


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