- The Washington Times - Monday, December 12, 2016

Sunday’s win against the Philadelphia Eagles kept the Washington Redskins just outside of a playoff spot in the NFC.

The Redskins have three games to play, two of which are against teams well below .500. First are the Carolina Panthers on Dec. 19 at FedEx Field. It’s a Monday Night Football primetime game pitting Redskins cornerback Josh Norman against his former team. The following week brings a trip to Chicago for a Christmas Eve game against the woeful Chicago Bears (3-10). The regular season ends when the New York Giants — just two games behind the Dallas Cowboys for the NFC East division lead — come to FedEx Field.

As it stands today, here is how the playoffs would shake out in the NFC:

No. 1 — Dallas Cowboys, 11-2 (bye, host throughout)

No. 2 — Detroit Lions 9-4 (bye, host first game)

No. 3 — Seattle Seahawks, 8-4-1 (host the Wild Card game against the lowest seed)


SEE ALSO: Great game? What Redskins were they watching?


No. 4 — Atlanta Falcons, 8-5 (host the Wild Card game against the highest seed)

No. 5 — New York Giants, 9-4 (would play at Atlanta)

No. 6 — Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 8-5 ( would play at Seattle)

Still alive

Washington Redskins, 7-5-1

Minnesota Vikings, 7-6

Green Bay Packers, 7-6

Arizona Cardinals, 5-7-1

New Orleans Saints, 5-8

Carolina Panthers, 5-8

Philadelphia Eagles, 5-8

The playoff simulator at The Upshot gives the Redskins a 41 percent chance to get in. If they win out, their chance goes to 99 percent. If they go 2-1, they basically have a 50-50 shot. If they finish 1-2, their chance plummets to 29 percent. If they lose all three, they are out.

The Redskins need to stay in front of Minnesota and Green Bay. They need to be better than Tampa Bay in the final three games.

Washington owns the tiebreaker against both Minnesota and Green Bay because of head-to-head victories against those two. Since they did not play the Buccaneers this season, the first step in a tiebreaker with Tampa Bay would be conference record. The Redskins are 5-4 against the NFC. The Buccaneers are 6-3. The tiebreaker system becomes more convoluted after that:

3. Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.
4. Strength of victory.
5. Strength of schedule.
6. Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.
7. Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.
8. Best net points in conference games.
9. Best net points in all games.
10. Best net touchdowns in all games.
11. Coin toss (seriously).

Now, the remaining schedules. Washington plays twice at home, where it is 4-2. Its final three games are against teams that are a combined 17-22.

Tampa Bay plays at Dallas, at New Orleans, then hosts Carolina. Its opponents are a combined 21-18. The Bucs are 5-1 on the road, though.

Minnesota plays Indianapolis, at Green Bay and hosts Chicago. Its opponents are 16-23. The game against Green Bay will be massive.

The Packers play at Chicago, against the Vikings and at Detroit. They have the toughest route. Those three opponents are 19-20, but two of those games are on the road, where Green Bay is 2-4 this season.


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