Even with win, Red­skins wait for fate

Make play­offs by beat­ing Gi­ants and Green Bay, Detroit don’t tie

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - BY TOMMY CHALK

Wash­ing­ton’s first or­der of busi­ness Sun­day af­ter­noon is beat­ing the New York Gi­ants.

But a win over Eli Man­ning and Co. isn’t enough to start cel­e­brat­ing a sec­ond-con­sec­u­tive year in the play­offs.

For that, the team and its fans will have to wait for the out­come of the Green Bay-Detroit game later that night — and hope against hope the Red­skins aren’t bumped from the post­sea­son by the one-in-a-mil­lion pos­si­bil­ity of a tie be­tween the two NFC North ri­vals.

If 9-6 Detroit wins, the Red­skins, with a win, are in the play­offs. If

9-6 Green Bay wins, the Red­skins, with a win, are in the play­offs.

But if the Pack­ers and the Lions tie (the odds, by the way, are likely much shorter than that afore­men­tioned 1-1,000,000. One lo­cal sports an­a­lyt­ics ex­pert has it at 1-36) the Red­skins, even with a win to fin­ish 9-7-1, are out.

The Red­skins say they’re just fo­cused on things they can con­trol: That means Sun­day af­ter­noon’s date at FedEx Field with the Gi­ants.

“We just got to fo­cus on win­ning,” run­ning back Chris Thomp­son said. “We know we can’t con­trol what­ever hap­pens with that (green game. Ties don’t come a whole lot, so we’re just hop­ing and pray­ing that doesn’t hap­pen.”

“Fo­cus” is the catch­phrase for the Red­skins this week. It was ev­i­dent Wed­nes­day when quar­ter­back Kirk Cousins took the podium. Gen­er­ally a bit jovial, Cousins was more re­served and se­ri­ous, an­swer­ing ques­tions di­rectly. He said he and his team­mates are ap­proach­ing prepa­ra­tion this week as they would any other week, and the team’s morale is ex­actly what you’d ex­pect and want.

“I think it’s been as it should be,” Cousins said of the mood in the locker room. “I think it’s a good bal­ance of guys who have a sense of ur­gency, but are also

en­joy­ing the process. I think we’re right where we need to be in our prepa­ra­tion.”

Should Wash­ing­ton beat the Gi­ants, fo­cus will im­me­di­ately shift to the Pack­ers-Lions game.

Don’t ex­pect cham­paign show­ers in the locker room Sun­day, Thomp­son said. In­stead, ev­ery­one will likely go home and watch the Sun­day night game with their fam­i­lies.

“We’ve tried not to put a whole lot of time into wor­ry­ing about what else hap­pens,” coach Jay Gru­den said Wed­nes­day. “But I’m sure af­ter the game come Sun­day, if we are for­tu­nate enough to win the game, we’ll keep a close eye on that one. But, right now, it’s about the Gi­ants.”

Cor­ner­back Josh Nor­man said the ef­fort the Red­skins have put into prac­tice this week has him con­vinced the team is en­tirely fo­cused on ex­tend­ing the sea­son. The 10-5 Gi­ants have se­cured the 5th seed in the NFC play­off pic­ture. A win or a loss won’t make any dif­fer­ence in their po­si­tion­ing, and that means the Red­skins may not see a full game with New York’s starters. Nor­man said he re­ally doesn’t care who’s on the field for the Gi­ants. They’re pre­pared for any­one, and Nor­man isn’t wor­ried about a fluke tie knock­ing the Red­skins out of the play­offs.

“I’ll be hon­est with you, I’ve been asked that ques­tion a thou­sand times,” Nor­man said. “I don’t care. It doesn’t have noth­ing to do with me. Only thing that has to do with me is win­ning [our] ball game. Noth­ing more, noth­ing less.”

As Nor­man spoke, safety Will Black­mon in­ter­rupted, jok­ingly say­ing that a po­ten­tial tie should con­cern him and it does have ev­ery­thing to do with him

per­son­ally.

“No it doesn’t,” Nor­man said to Black­mon. “It doesn’t have noth­ing to do with

me. Just say­ing ... This is my in­ter­view, Will.”

Nor­man chuck­led, then im­me­di­ately

turned se­ri­ous.

“I’m go­ing out there and try­ing to win. Get it done. Noth­ing more, noth­ing less.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Red­skins cor­ner­back Josh Nor­man said he’s fo­cused on beat­ing the Gi­ants Sun­day and not a pos­si­ble tie be­tween the Lions and Pack­ers.

GI­ANTS AT RED­SKINS Sun­day: 4:25 p.m. TV: Fox

Ra­dio: 980 AM wash­ing­ton­times.com /sports

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