The Redskins’ path to the playoffs is clear as we enter the final day of the season. By now, you know the scenarios:
- Washington would win the NFC East championship by beating the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night at FedEx Field. They would host a wild card-round playoff game next Saturday or Sunday.
- The Redskins would secure a wild card berth if the Chicago Bears lost at 1 p.m. and the Minnesota Vikings lost at 4:25 p.m.
Let’s take a look at whom the Redskins should root for.
(Home teams are displayed IN CAPS, and TV listings are for the D.C. area.)
DETROIT LIONS (4-11) over Chicago Bears (9-6), 1 p.m., DirecTV 705
This is the first of two results the Redskins need in order to secure a wild card berth before their game against Dallas kicks off at 8:20 p.m.
If the Redskins and Bears both lose to finish 9-7, the Redskins would win any tiebreaker with Chicago because of their superior record against NFC opponents.
Chicago is favored by 3. The Bears beat Detroit, 13-7, at home on Oct. 22.
Why FOX5 isn’t televising this game I’ll never understand. Whoever decided to televise Giants-Eagles instead of the tremendously-important Chicago game has some explaining to do. FOX5 is letting Redskins fans down.
Green Bay Packers (11-4) over MINNESOTA VIKINGS (9-6), 4:25 p.m., FOX5
This is the second of two results the Redskins need in order to secure a wild card berth before their game against Dallas kicks off.
If the Redskins and Vikings both lose to finish 9-7, the Redskins would win any tiebreaker with Minnesota because of their 38-26 head-to-head victory on Oct. 14.
Green Bay would clinch a first-round bye with a victory, so it has something to play for.
Green Bay is favored by 3. The Vikings lost to Green Bay, 23-14, in Green Bay on Dec. 2. Minnesota hasn’t lost in three games since.
Besides the Chicago and Minnesota games, other results involving NFC playoff teams impact whom the Redskins would play next weekend if they make the playoffs.
The Redskins would play either the Seattle Seahawks or the San Francisco 49ers in the wild card round. This is locked in entering Sunday.
Where those games would be played depends on whether the Redskins win the NFC East division and whether Seattle or San Francisco wins the NFC West.
The Redskins hope to win the NFC East and host a wild card-round game next week. They would host whichever NFC West playoff team does not win the division. Neither San Francisco nor Seattle is an easy matchup, but none of them are during the postseason. Choose your preference, then, from the following NFC West playoff scenarios:
- San Francisco would clinch the NFC West championship by winning or tying at home against Arizona.
- Seattle would clinch the NFC West championship by winning at home against St. Louis AND if San Francisco loses at home to Arizona.
Arizona Cardinals (5-10) at SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (10-4-1), 4:25 p.m., DirecTV 718
The 49ers are favored by 16.5. San Francisco defeated the Cardinals, 24-3, in Arizona on Oct. 29.
Arizona fourth-string quarterback Brian Hoyer is making his first-career start, so, um, the champagne is on ice in San Francisco.
St. Louis Rams (7-8-1) at SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (10-5), 4:25 p.m., DirecTV 717
The Seahawks are favored by 11. However, St. Louis defeated the Seahawks, 19-13, in St. Louis on Sept. 30.
And since it’s probably fair to assume Redskins fans prefer the division-rival New York Giants to miss the playoffs, the last game in the rooting guide is:
Philadelphia Eagles (4-11) over NEW YORK GIANTS (8-7), 1 p.m., FOX5
The Giants would be eliminated if they lost to Philly. In order to make the playoffs, the Giants must win AND they need Minnesota to lose AND Chicago to lose AND Dallas to lose or tie against the Redskins.
It has been a while since the Redskins have had the privilege of meaningful scoreboard watching in Week 17. Enjoy the day.