Here is what you need to on this Sunday, December 16, the day the Redskins take on the Browns in Cleveland.
Cousins to start
If you don’t already, you do need to know that Kirk Cousins will start at quarterback for the Redskins today. Mike Shanahan announced the decision to the team on Saturday. More to come on this.
Chat at 12:30
Tarik will be in Cleveland to report on the NFL starting debut of Cousins while I will be doing the same from in front of the 55-inch class Vizio in Ashburn. Jen will be hard at work in the Bethesda studios and will pipe in to the conversation when she can.
We’ll get things going at around 12:30. We might get it cranking early due to the RG3 news so keep an eye on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.
See you then.
Who to root for
Adding to the drama of Cousins getting his first start is the fact that if they beat the Browns the Redskins could end up tied for first place in the NFC East with tiebreaker advantages over the Giants and Cowboys. They also could wind up tied for a wild card spot and holding tiebreakers there. In either case they would have their playoff fate in their own hands and would be in a “win and in” scenario.
Here is your scoreboard-watching guide for today.
Falcons (11-2) over Giants (8-5)—This is the big one and it will be going on at the same time as the Redskins game. A Redskins win in Cleveland and a Giants loss in Atlanta will tie them for the division lead (possibly in a three-way tie with Dallas, see scenarios involving the Cowboys below). The Redskins would have the advantage over New York based on a better division record. Washington is 3-1 in the NFC East while the Giants are 3-3. That would set up a possible Redskins clinching of the division next week. A Washington win and a New York loss would eliminate the Giants from the division race.
Steelers (7-6) over Cowboys (7-6)—With a win, Dallas could join the Redskins and Giants in that three-way tie atop the NFC East. The Redskins would have the tiebreaker edge over Dallas due to their head-to-head win over the Cowboys and a better division record (Dallas is 3-2 in the NFC East). If the Steelers win, the Cowboys will have to hope for losses by both Washington and New York in the last two weekends.
Packers (9-4) over Bears (8-5)—This is a similar situation to the Giants. If Chicago loses and the Redskins win the teams will be tied at 8-6 with the Redskins holding the tiebreaker. Washington is 6-4 in the NFC while a Bears loss today would drop them to 5-5. If the Redskins get into that situation and win their last two games, they could be no worse than the second wild card.
Bills (5-8) over Seahawks (8-5)—If the Redskins win and the Seahawks lose, the two teams would be in wild card position with 8-6 records, no head-to-head meeting and 6-4 conference records. As of right now, Seattle holds an edge in the next tiebreaker, record in common games. But it still would be better to be tied with Seattle with two to go.
Vikings (7-6) over Rams (6-6-1)—Yes, the Vikings are tied with the Redskins while the Rams are half a game back. But Washington holds tiebreakers over Minnesota with both a head-to-head win and a better conference record. It would be better for the Redskins to get a game and a half clear of the Rams, who could sneak in to a wild card.
Saints (5-8) over Bucs (6-7)—It’s better for the Bucs to be knocked further behind the Redskins.
There is a slight possibility that the strength of victory tiebreaker will come into play so you want the teams the Redskins beat earlier this year to win. So, go for Ravens over the Broncos.
12:00—Redskins Kickoff on Comcast SportsNet
1:00—Redskins @ Browns FOX
Immediately after end of game—Redskins Post Game Live
Days until: Redskins @ Eagles 7; Cowboys vs. Redskins @ FedEx Field 14; 1st round of NFL playoffs 20