ASHBURN, Va. -- Against the odds, the Washington Redskins still have something to play for with five games left in the regular season.
With key players left tackle Trent Williams, tight end Jordan Reed, running backs Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson, defensive lineman Jonathan Allen, guard Shawn Lauvao, center Spencer Long and wide receiver Terrelle Pryor all either injured or out for the season, the Redskins are fortunate to still be on the fringe of the NFC playoff race.
That remains a long shot. Washington (5-6) beat the New York Giants in an ugly 20-10 game on Thanksgiving night, but would have to jump four teams to snag the final wild-card spot. The Redskins do play the fading Dallas Cowboys (5-6) next Thursday. And they have a win over the Seattle Seahawks (6-4).
But that leaves the Green Bay Packers (5-5), Detroit Lions (6-5) and Atlanta Falcons (6-4) ahead of them entering play this weekend. That's a tall task. Washington likely won't make it even with a 4-1 finish and a 9-7 record.
"We definitely have something to play for. There is no doubt about it," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said. "We play for a chance to go to the playoffs and win Super Bowls, but obviously we have put ourselves in a position right now where we are in a game-by-game type scenario."
One thing that helps: The schedule. The Cowboys were blown out at home against the Los Angeles Chargers. They have been outscored 92-22 in their last three games and still won't have suspended running back Ezekiel Elliott.
Washington doesn't play a team with a winning record the rest of the season. The Redskins face the Chargers (5-6), Arizona Cardinals (4-6), Denver Broncos (3-7) and have another game with the Giants (2-9). Williams and Reed also could return soon to provide a boost.
The Redskins were without three of their original offensive line starters on Thursday, including left tackle Trent Williams (right knee). Left guard Shawn Lauvao (stinger) and center Spencer Long (torn quadriceps tendon) are on injured reserve. And backup center Chase Roullier (broken hand) was also out.
Williams needs surgery at some point and was in too much pain to play during a short week. The hope is the rest allows him to return against Dallas next Thursday.
"Trent lays it all on the line on Sunday afternoon and for him to come back on a short week with no practice and play on a Thursday is very difficult for him," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said. "Hopefully, with a couple days extra rest, he will be able to play against Dallas, but we will see. He's banged up right now and he's fighting through this season so hopefully we will be able to use him. But it is all on Trent and the trainers."
REPORT CARD VS. GIANTS
--PASSING OFFENSE: B - Kirk Cousins had average numbers again (19-for-31, 242 yards, two touchdowns) but was good enough when it mattered in the second half. That was enough in a 20-10 win over the Giants. Cousins threw touchdown passes to Jamison Crowder and Josh Doctson. His big mistake was a high pass to running back Byron Marshall that bounced into the hands of New York cornerback Janoris Jenkins and was returned for a touchdown.
--RUSHING OFFENSE: B - More encouraging signs for the Redskins, who had rookie Samaje Perine reach 100 rushing yards for the second straight week. Perine had 117 last Sunday against New Orleans. Washington stuck with the run and wore down the New York front seven.
--PASS DEFENSE: A - The Giants don't have the weapons to compete because of injuries at wide receiver and on an already suspect offensive line. Washington allowed just 113 passing yards and cornerback Kendall Fuller intercepted an Eli Manning pass in the final minute to seal the victory.
--RUSH DEFENSE: B - A better effort from a group that is dealing with injuries at linebacker and on the defensive line. Manning was sacked four times. The Redskins allowed just 84 rushing yards and dominated up front.
--SPECIAL TEAMS: B - Punter Tress Way helped the Redskins control field position all game with four punts dropped inside the 20. Byron Marshall took over kickoff return duties, but neither he nor punt returner Jamison Crowder made an impact. Kicker Nick Rose continues to do his job. He hit field-goal attempts from 28 and 33 yards and made both extra points.
--COACHING: B - There is an argument to be made the Redskins shouldn't have had to scrap for a win against New York. And an ugly sequence at 10:54 of the fourth quarter, with the game tied at 10, earned the coaching staff deserved boos. The Redskins were indecisive whether to go for it on fourth-and-1 from the New York 45 and had to burn a timeout. Then a player who was supposed to be on the field lost a shoe coming out of that timeout, which led to a delay-of-game penalty and a punt. Still, given the injuries Washington has on its offensive line, wide receiver and at running back, it's impressive the Redskins are 5-6 and still on the fringe of the NFC wild-card race.