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#HailMail: 2016 Giants Week

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Redskins.com’s Stephen Czarda answers YOUR questions submitted on Twitter about the Redskins' roster and more as the team prepares for a Week 17 matchup with the Giants at FedExField.


@itshameltime asks: @Redskins if Skins win and Detroit/GB tie, who's in and who's out? #HailMail

This is what makes Sunday’s game against the New York Giants not a 100 percent win and you’re in situation. If the Redskins were to defeat their division rivals only to see the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers tie on Sunday Night Football, then Washington would be on the outside looking in once the playoffs begin next weekend.

How?

Well, it would mean the Packers have won the NFC North based on a head-to-head record of 1-0-1 record against the Lions while Detroit, of course, defeated Washington this season and would have an identical record earning them the No. 6 seed.

The chances of a tie between the two teams is low (there las time three ties were recorded in a single season was 1973), but certainly can’t be discredited.

As for the Redskins, the only way this could even become a potential situation is by defeating the Giants. A loss would eliminate them from postseason contention.

“I’ve tried to preach all along that you can only control what you can control, and that’s how we play against the Giants,” Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said on Monday. “Hopefully things fall in our favor, but regardless, we have to prepare for the New York Giants.”\


@Demarq44 asks: @SCzardaRedskins if the skins make the playoffs who will they play? Good/bad matchup? #hailmail

Just like the Redskins’ playoff chances remain a little unclear entering Sunday’s slate of games (Washington can only get the No. 6 seed), the No. 3 seed has yet to be determined.

The Atlanta Falcons, Seattle Seahawks, Lions and Packers could all finish with the No. 3 seed.

Atlanta currently holds the No. 2 seed and a first round bye with the Seahawks as the No. 3 seed following Sunday’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals. The Packers, meanwhile, are the No. 4 seed as they currently own the head-to-head tiebreaker against the Lions.

Here are the different scenarios for the No. 3 seed from ESPN’s playoff machine:

*Falcons *

  • Atlanta loses to New Orleans, Seattle beats San Francisco and Green Bay beats Detroit

*Seahawks: *

  • Atlanta beats New Orleans, Seattle beats San Francisco

*Lions *

  • Atlanta beats New Orleans, Seattle loses to San Francisco and Detroit beats Green Bay
  • Atlanta loses to New Orleans, Seattle beats San Francisco and Detroit beats Green Bay
  • Atlanta loses to New Orleans, Seattle loses to San Francisco and Detroit beats Green Bay

Packers

  • Atlanta beats New Orleans, Seattle loses to San Francisco and Green Bay beats Detroit
  • Atlanta loses to New Orleans, Seattle loses to San Francisco and Green Bay beats Detroit

So when it comes to matchups, the Redskins, of course, have already faced the Lions and Packers this season.

Washington lost in the final seconds to Detroit in Week 7 when Matthew Stafford responded to Trent Williams’ touchdown run with a quick scoring drive to secure a victory. The offense struggled in the contest, scoring just three points in the first three quarters. But Washington could benefit in a rematch with the Lions having the third worst running game in the NFL right now.

Four weeks later on Sunday Night Football, the Redskins blew past the Packers by a final of 42-24. Running back Rob Kelley had his coming out party that night with three touchdown runs while Cousins was nearly perfect despite windy conditions. Green Bay  has experienced a drastic turnaround since that night, but Washington did to the Packers – particularly in the fourth quarter – could carry over.

In recent playoff history, the Redskins have faced the Seahawks three different times – after the 2005, 2007 and 2012 seasons – all resulting in loses.

Washington and Seattle haven’t shared a field since 2014, though, and both teams are drastically different since that last meeting. Seattle’s strength over the years was the running game behind Marshawn Lynch, but with the Cal product out of the game the ground game is tied for 22nd in yards per game this season.

Thomas Rawls is dealing with a shoulder injury that could sideline him this weekend. C.J. Prosise has been sidelined by a shoulder injury since November, too.

As for Atlanta, they’re No. 2 in total offense behind the tandem of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, but the defense gives up nearly 25 points per game.  


@ZwayZylo asks: @SCzardaRedskins @Redskins How prepared is cravens for safety is he needs to move back for week 17? #HailMail

While Cravens hasn’t played safety since his days at USC, the Redskins could begin his transition to the position as early as this week depending on the rookie’s health and how Donte Whitner Sr. is progressing from a quad issue.

Cravens has missed the last two games with an upper arm injury, but Gruden said the team could put him at safety if Whitner Sr. is unable to play.

“That’s something we’ll have to wait and see,” Gruden said. “We have got to get him healthy first – it’s a moot point if he doesn’t get healthy. We have got to wait and see how he’s doing tomorrow, see if he has got more mobility in that arm. We’ll just take it day-by-day and see how he’s doing and then try to see where he is mentally. We know he can play dime linebacker, which is good, so we have a spot for him there. But we would like to see what he can do at safety – see how much he can learn and see where he is from a mental standpoint.”

While Cravens didn’t participate in any practice sessions last week, the 21-year-old watch the defensive backs go through individual drills instead of the inside linebackers.

The Redskins have tried to challenge Cravens in terms of what he can do on the field and how much he can take on with different positions and situations. So far he’s “handled it extremely well.”

“That’s good to see because the more we can use him, the more we can keep him on the field as opposed to just one spot,” Gruden said last month. “So it’s very, very important for him to expand his role so he can be outside backer, he can be inside, he can maybe eventually become a safety, who knows. But he’s done an excellent job handling it for a young player. He brings a lot of energy to this football team and he’s a much needed commodity out there. So, the more he can do the better.”

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