This is a silly question and I know I’m just welcoming vitriol from the legions of burgundy and gold faithful, not to mention the purists of every sport, but … should Redskins fans be rooting to lose today against the Giants?
Sure, you always want to see your team win. And sure, rooting for a loss is a twisted sort of pleasure to take on a Sunday afternoon, and a bizarre way to end 2017.
But what does a win actually get the Redskins? Pride? A non-losing season? A sense of superiority over the division-rival Giants? Alright. That’s fine, I guess.
A loss, on the other hand, moves you up the draft board. It remains to be seen exactly what would change; entering Sunday, the Redskins (7-8) are slated to draft 14th. There are two other teams with 7-8 records, three teams with 6-9 records and four teams with 8-7 records, which means the potential for movement around the middle of the rounds is significant.
I’m not going to go into all the tiebreakers and possible scenarios for what could benefit the Redskins’ draft position and what could hurt it, but a lot could change today.
On the other side of things is the Giants’ standing near the top of the draft. At 2-13, the Giants are currently slated to pick second. If the Redskins beat them today, they’ll seal the second overall pick. However, if New York pulls out the win, and the Colts (3-12) lose to the Texans (4-11), the Giants will fall back to the third pick.
The likely top two picks in the 2018 draft are Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold, a pair of quarterbacks. The Giants, as you may have heard, will probably be in the market for a new quarterback soon; Eli Manning is about to turn 37 and is wrapping up one the worst seasons of his career, and with a new GM and a new head coach in town, there could be plenty of turnover for the Giants.
After Rosen and Darnold, in some order, there isn’t much in the way of consensus for picks 3-32. Josh Allen, a quarterback from Wyoming, is considered by many the third-best quarterback in the draft, and Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson are also contenders to go in the first round, but Rosen and Darnold are generally viewed as the top two signal-callers.
So ignore the Redskins angle to this, the idea of playing for pride, the short-term glory of beating a division rival in a season where everybody is beating them, etc. If the Redskins lose this game, and the Colts lose to the Texans, Washington could push the Giants out of contention for their next quarterback of the future.
The Eagles have Carson Wentz, who was in MVP contention before his season-ending injury. The Cowboys have Dak Prescott, who has proven to be a star when Ezekiel Elliott is playing and is at least above-average without Elliott. The Redskins’ quarterback situation is its own mess.
But if the Giants secure the second overall pick, they’re likely drafting their quarterback of the future. Maybe he’s a bust, but maybe he’s the next Carson Wentz or Eli Manning. And then the Redskins suddenly have three young star quarterbacks in their division.
So, are you still rooting for the Redskins to win today? (Yeah, probably.)