It's the holiday season, and we're meant to be full of warm hearts, good tidings and cheer.
That is, of course, assuming you're not a Washington Redskins fan.
Because if you are, the hoopla and misery swirling around the franchise is almost too much to bear. But while trying to keep it all together—holding back tears, screams and punches—here's a look at a handful of bold predictions for the Redskins' season finale in New Jersey this Sunday.
As Redskins fans, we all rejoice when Eli Manning struggles. And this season, struggle would be an understatement.
It's not exactly his regular 3,666 passing yards, his lackluster 58.3 percent completion percentage or even his basement-dwelling 69.8 passer rating. But Manning's 26 interceptions this season have made for some of the best comedy of the year.
If there's one thing Eli is doing right this season, it's being the polar opposite quarterback of big brother Peyton, who's setting records in the Rockies at the age of 37.
Considering Manning is throwing an interception on nearly five percent of his pass attempts, maybe predicting an interception this Sunday isn't all that bold. So, instead, let's get all wild and crazy and call for two passes to end up in the waiting hands of the Washington defense.
And here's the kicker helping to assure the prediction for this week: The Redskins defense has forced a turnover in 14 of its 15 games this season. Surprising, right?
Will Sunday be Mike Shanahan's last game as the Redskins' head coach?
Despite the rumors, as noted by Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, no one really knows. The only guys who know whether Shanahan is done after Sunday are team owner Dan Snyder and probably general manager Bruce Allen. But other than that, it's speculation, gut feelings and unnamed sources.
However, for the sake of adding fuel to the fire and stoking the blaze, let's assume the wounds have gone too deep in Washington and the Shanahan regime, as a whole, can't go on.
Glance over at the coaching carousel and you'll see some attractive names.
The guy pictured above middle is Stanford coach David Shaw—the No. 1 seed of coaching candidates who likely isn't leaving Palo Alto and probably wouldn't make Washington his destination even if he did.
The guy pictured above right is Penn State coach Bill O'Brien—the one who contained a proverbial nuclear explosion in State College, who has NFL experience (most recently with the New England Patriots) and who is the guy atop my list (assuming Shanahan is out).
And the guy pictured above left is Baylor coach Art Briles—the guy deserving of the praise, who has his name in rumors (as CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reports) and who, of course, was Robert Griffin III's college coach.
So what's the bold prediction? I don't know. I guess that Shanahan is out after Sunday's loss to the New York Giants and one of the guys pictured above is the next head coach of the Washington Redskins.
The Redskins special teams have been downright awful this season. So bad that they probably shouldn't even be ranked as high as 32nd.
But quietly putting together a good season and doing his best to help polish a turd is kicker Kai Forbath, who has made his last 11 field-goal attempts.
Forbath's best games of the season have come against the Dallas Cowboys, as he put three through the uprights in each game during Weeks 6 and 16. But to finish the season strong, Cobra Kai will match his season high with three field goals against the Giants on Sunday, giving him 19 makes on the year at an 82 percent clip.
When Brian Orakpo collapsed to the ground last week on what appeared to be a normal rush against Dallas left tackle Tyron Smith, Redskins fans held their breath.
Thankfully, according to Tarik El-Bashir of CSN Washington, Orakpo's right groin pull isn't thought to be serious. However, given the stakes—or lack thereof—of Sunday's game in New Jersey, there's a chance he doesn't risk further injury and instead sits out the Redskins' final contest.
Assuming Orakpo plays it smart in a contract year, Rob Jackson should get the start at OLB, and he's a guy who has made plays when given the opportunity.
Eli Manning has been sacked 38 times this season, meaning he's more than susceptible to the wrath of one Rob Jackson. With the Giants working to offset the pass rush of Ryan Kerrigan, Jackson will clean up with at least two sacks on Manning this Sunday.
Not that I'm a proponent of this, but it's possible Brian Orakpo plays his last game in burgundy and gold this Sunday after spending his first five seasons in Washington.
Orakpo is set to become a free agent after this season, and it's fair to assume he'll ask for a nice chunk of change when the time comes to do so. But despite the Redskins having plenty of cash to pay free agents this summer, paying this season's team leader in sacks isn't necessarily a guarantee.
Personally, given Orakpo's comments to John Keim of ESPN a few weeks ago regarding the scheme in Washington and how he's used, I believe there's some untapped potential with the 27-year-old linebacker. And that belief doesn't change—in fact, it may even increase—if the team reverts back to a 4-3 scheme and makes Orakpo a versatile defensive end.
So why wouldn't the Redskins re-sign Orakpo? Price tag and fit with (possible) new staff.
If Shanahan stays, it's safe to say Orakpo is back. But new coaches could mean different outlooks, which could also mean a new jersey for Orakpo come 2014.