Alex Smith suffers “non-serious” calf injury vs. 49ers
The Washington Football Team moved into first place in the NFC East with their win over the San Francisco 49ers, but they were forced to play the second half without starting quarterback Alex Smith. He suffered a calf injury before the end of the first half, and Dwayne Haskins took over at quarterback after halftime. Haskins was able to secure the victory, but he represents a downgrade at the position if Smith is forced to miss any time.
Luckily, it sounds like Smith’s injury isn’t particularly serious. Head coach Ron Rivera said they held Smith out of the second half “out of an abundance of caution,” which bodes well for his return next week vs. the Seahawks.
Washington needs Smith under center as they try to hold on to the lead in the NFC East. They currently own a one-game advantage over the New York Giants, but the Giants own the tiebreaker over Washington, thanks to their two head-to-head wins this season.
That said, Washington’s closing schedule isn’t particularly daunting. They take on the Seahawks at home in Week 15, followed by matchups vs. the Panthers and at the Eagles. On the other hand, the Giants have home matchups vs. the Browns and Cowboys and a road matchup vs. the Ravens to close out the year. That gives Washington a clear edge in that department, and when combined with their current lead in the division, Football Outsiders gives them a 68.3% chance of qualifying for the postseason. The Giants are well behind at just 22.8%, and the Eagles improved to 7.9% following their upset win over the Saints.
Nothing is a formality in the NFC East, but Washington fans have to be feeling pretty good about their chances.