- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 12, 2012

At 7-6, the Redskins are favorably positioned in the NFC playoff race, but they don’t yet control their own postseason fate. It’s not far off; a win Sunday at the Cleveland Browns and either a loss by the New York Giants to the Atlanta Falcons or a loss by the Chicago Bears against the Green Bay Packers gives Washington control.

Here’s a look at the scenarios that get the Redskins into January:

THE EASY ONE

Win out, finish 10-6 and get at least one loss by either the Bears or New York Giants. If the Giants lose and the Redskins don’t in the final three games, Washington would win the NFC East and earn a home playoff game at FedEx Field.

A LITTLE HELP

Even if the Bears and Giants win out, the Redskins could win out and make the playoffs at 10-6. That would require a loss by the Seattle Seahawks in either Week 16 (vs. San Francisco) or Week 17 (vs. St. Louis). That would give the Redskins the NFC record tiebreaker advantage over Seattle; a Seahawks loss Sunday at Buffalo doesn’t do the Redskins any good in this scenario.

MISTAKE BY LAKE

If the Redskins lose at Cleveland on Sunday but win their last two (at Philadelphia, home vs. Dallas) to finish 9-7, they still would win the NFC East if the Giants lose twice in their final three games. If Chicago loses any two of its final three games, or if Seattle loses both of its last two games, the Redskins would qualify for the playoffs at 9-7 as long as they beat Philly and Dallas.

.500 AND IN

The Redskins could get in at 8-8 as long as they beat Dallas in Week 17 and got a lot of help. To win the division, they would need the Giants to lose out and the Cowboys also be 8-8; the Redskins would be NFC East champions because they’d win the three-way division tiebreaker. To get in as a wild card at 8-8, it’s more complicated: They still would have to beat Dallas, and they’d also need the Bears, Seahawks, Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings to finish 8-8.