With only four weeks of regular season play, THN will begin examining the playoff picture each week as it pertains to the Washington Redskins. Three NFC teams have been eliminated: New Orleans, Green Bay and San Francisco. Here is the lowdown on the teams still in contention going into week 14, bearing in mind that with a lot of football left to play, there is much speculation included here.
Seattle is currently the top seed in the NFC, and has only one real daunting game the rest of the season, as they host Indianapolis in week 16. This week, they host the San Francisco 49ers; a team they beat 27-25 in week 11. A victory this weekend will give the Seahawks an 11-2 record overall, a 10-1 conference record and a 6-0 record in the division. This will clinch the NFC – West, leaving only St. Louis and Arizona alive in the playoff race, and keeping the Seahawks from deciding the playoff hopes for Washington.
The Bears boast the second seed in the NFC due to a better conference record than the Carolina Panthers. Ironically, the Seahawks and Bears only have one conference loss each, both of which are at the hands of the Washington Redskins. The Bears travel to Pittsburgh this weekend leading the NFC – North by 2 games over Minnesota, a team they have already beaten once this season. The Bears will likely win this embattled division, leaving Minnesota as the Redskins main concern in the chase for the playoffs.
Should the Vikings overtake them, the Redskins would win the tiebreaker based on their head-to-head victory in week 1.
Carolina is battling it out for the NFC – South division crown. Tampa Bay is one game back and Atlanta only two. The Panthers face all three division opponents in the last four weeks, making it a toss-up.
For these two teams to tie the Panthers would have to lose three of their last four and the Redskins would have to win out. The Redskins and Panthers both face four conference opponents in the last four weeks and both have a conference mark of 6-2. That means in the event of a tie, the Redskins would win with a conference record of 10-2 versus a conference record of 7-5 for the Panthers.
These two teams face each other for the second time on Christmas Eve at FedEx Field. The Giants are 3-1 in the division, while the Redskins are 2-1, so the last 4 weeks are crucial in determining tiebreakers between these two teams. Currently the Giants win the tiebreak based on the 36-0 trouncing handed to the Redskins in week 8.
With the Buccaneers last second victory over the Redskins in week 8, the Bucs gain the upper hand in any ties between the two teams. The Redskins best bet is to hope Tampa Bay wins the NFC – South, as Washington holds the edge over the Panthers should they tie.
The Redskins currently hold all the cards in this match-up. If the Redskins win their remaining games and the Cowboys win all but their match-up with the Skins, they will both be 10-6, giving Washington the nod with the regular season sweep.
The Falcons currently have a 4-4 conference record with four conference games remaining, while the Redskins hold a 6-2 NFC mark with four to go. For these teams to tie, the Redskins must win one more game than the Falcons for the remainder of the season, which will give the Redskins the better conference record.
The Vikings have a 7-5 record, which means the Redskins must only win one more game than the Vikings for the remainder of the season in order to reach a tie. The Vikings are 6-4 in the NFC, with St. Louis and Chicago making up their remaining NFC opponents. Should they win both, they will boast an 8-4 conference mark. Assuming the Vikings will also beat Baltimore and lose to Pittsburgh, the Redskins will need to win out to tie, giving them an NFC record of 10-2.
The Eagles have lost their best three offensive players over the course of the season and start week 14 one game behind the Redskins. Should the Eagles beat the Redskins in the final game of the season, the two teams would be 1-1 head-to-head, which would cause the tiebreak to go to the team with the best division record. Assuming the Redskins win the next three and the Eagles win out, the Redskins would have a 4-2 record in the NFC – East, while the Eagles would finish at 2-4.
St. Louis Rams
The Rams are still alive at 5-7, but the Redskins own the tiebreaker with last week’s decisive victory over the “Greatest Show on Turf”.
Arizona Cardinals The Cardinals, though still mathematically alive at 4-8, are fading fast. The Washington Redskins travel to Arizona this weekend, and that match-up will determine the tiebreaker.
The Lions find themselves in the same boat as the Cardinals at 4-8. With a conference record of 2-8 and only two conference opponents remaining on the schedule, the Redskins hold the upper hand.
Editor’s Note: As each week progresses, the playoff picture will become clearer and the number of teams in contention will continue to decrease. This shrinking picture will make future playoff picture articles much more definitive. Be sure to check in next week to keep track of the Redskins’ playoff aspirations.