"We're still in a good place. I don't know how, but we still are. Everything is still there for us right now."
- Running back Chris Thompson on the Redskins' playoff chances.
Though the Redskins (6-7) have dropped four straight games and slid out of a playoff spot, a tightly-contested race for the last Wild Card spot in the NFC has Washington still within striking range. With three weeks remaining in the season, here are the scenarios that would result in a trip to the playoff for the Redskins.
Washington could win the division at 9-7 if:
The Cowboys lose out
Dallas is one of the hottest teams in the NFL as of now, and it is hard to see the team slipping down the stretch with games against the Colts, Buccaneers and Giants remaining. However, if Dallas were to drop all three and fall to 8-8, a 9-7 Redskins team would take home the NFC East Crown. Washington winning out also means a victory against the Eagles in Week 17, which knocks Philadelphia out of contention for a division title in this scenario.
Due to the numerous tiebreaker situations that the Cowboys hold over the Redskins, this is the only way a division title is possible.
Washington could earn the 5th seed at 9-7 if:
The Seahawks lose out
The Vikings lose at least two games
With a win over Minnesota this past week, many believe Seattle has locked up the top WIld Card spot. However, three loses to end the season would put them at 8-8. The Vikings losing at least two of their final three games would make them at 7-8-1 at best. A 9-7 Redskins team would pass both of them as the top non-division winning team and also hold advantages over all the other teams competing for a spot.
Washington could earn a Wild Card spot at 9-7 if:
The Seahawks lose out
The Vikings lose at least one game
A more plausible route, one loss by Minnesota would give them a finish of 8-7-1. The tie hurts, as the Redskins sneak past them.
Washington could earn a Wild Card spot at 8-8 if:
The Vikings lose at least two
As discussed above, this would leave Minnesota at 7-8-1.
The Panthers lose at least one
Carolina also sits at 6-7 after 14 weeks of the season, but the Redskins Week 6 win over the Panthers is a major key in this scenario. Even if the Panthers finish at 8-8 as well, Washington own the tiebreaker.
The Eagles lose at least two
This would put at Philadelphia at 7-9, giving the Redskins a one game advantage. There's a chance both team's playoff hopes come down to the Week 17 matchup at FedExField.
Even if Washington wins that game, the Eagles can get in by winning their other two games. If the teams were to tie, they would have the same division record of 3-3. This results in the tiebreaker coming down to the team's common opponents records. The Eagles hold that advantage in this scenario as it would mean the Redskins lost a game to Tennessee or Jacksonville while the Eagles beat Houston (all three are common opponents. From this, Philadelphia's final record in the category is 6-6 while Washington's is 5-7.
It is important to remember that this scenario focuses on the Redskins being at 8-8. So, if the Redskins were to lose to the Eagles, the common opponents record goes out the window. Either the Eagles win another game, sit at 8-8 and have a better division record, or Philadelphia loses and we are back at the first sentence of this section.
The Packers lose at least one
You can never count out an Aaron Rodgers-led team down the stretch, but Green Bay has a tough road ahead. Sitting at 5-7-1, one loss in the final three puts them below Washington. Though the Redskins own the tiebreaker as a result of a Week 3 win, the Packers' tie against Minnesota makes it impossible for the two teams to end in a, well, tie.
Washington could earn a Wild Card spot at 7-9 if:
The Vikings lose out
6-9-1 is worse than 7-9. The tie strikes again.
The Panthers lose at least two
With both teams at 7-9, the Redskins hold the tiebreaker.
The Eagles lose out
Much like the last scenario, the Eagles advantage in the team's common opponents plays a key role. No matter how you spin it, if the two teams were to tie, the Eagles come out on top even if the Redskins win in Week 17.
The Packers lose at least two
6-9-1 is enough for Washington to survive for another week.
The Buccaneers lose at least one
Now, more teams come into play. Washington's win over Tampa Bay creates an advantage here though, as both teams finishing at 7-9 works in favor of the Burgundy and Gold.
The Lions lose at least one
The Redskins would own the tiebreaker within the conference records, as the Lions already have seven and Washington can finish with six at most.