- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Washington Redskins don’t need quite the Christmas miracle to make the playoffs. But they do need some help from others. With Christmas right around the corner, here are some last-minute gifts for the Redskins that would boost their postseason chances even further.

Lions upset Vikings

For so long, Redskins fans rooted for Kirk Cousins to take them to the playoffs. On Sunday, they’ll do so again — but this time they’ll cheer for the quarterback to lay an egg in Detroit. Down half-a-game in the wildcard race to the Vikings, the Redskins need Minnesota to lose at least one of its last two.

Nick Foles loses his magic

It’s deja vu all over again for the Eagles and Nick Foles. The backup quarterback played well in last week’s win over the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia’s chances of a repeat depend on Foles for a second straight year. But this week, the Eagles face the Houston Texans, who already dealt the Redskins a serious blow earlier in the season when breaking Alex Smith’s leg. If the Texans beat the Eagles, will that be enough to call it even?

Dallas get shut out again?

The NFC East is still technically in play for the Redskins, as well. It won’t be if the Cowboys win this week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Last Sunday, however, Dallas was shutout against the Indianapolis Colts with a chance to clinch. Maybe Tampa Bay can do the same? OK, don’t get your hopes up.

Let’s get whacky (Chiefs beat Seahawks)

The best thing about ESPN’s playoff machine is that it lets a person figure out possible postseason matchups based on the remaining games. Here’s one: if Dallas, Seattle and Minnesota lose all of their remaining games and the Redskins lose this week but beat the Eagles in Week 17, then Washington (8-8) would be the fifth seed and face the Cowboys (8-8). The Seahawks would also be 8-8. It’d be hilarious if three .500 teams got into the playoffs.

Josh Johnson keeps coming through

All right, the Redskins’ playoff hopes are at their highest if they finish 9-7 and win their last two games. That starts this week when they play Saturday at Tennessee, and quarterback Josh Johnson will need to play well again. Coach Jay Gruden said Thursday that Johnson has made “huge progress” with another week of practice reps. “He’s been great,” Gruden said.

As a side note, the Redskins could have a mini quarterback controversy on their hands if Colt McCoy is ready to return next week. If Johnson plays well and McCoy is healthy, Gruden would have an interesting choice to make with a playoff spot on the line.

• Matthew Paras can be reached at mparas@washingtontimes.com.

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