For the Washington Redskins, a field goal by the Chicago Bears made the difference between playing at home and traveling in the upcoming National Football League playoffs.
When the Bears beat the Los Angeles Raiders, 6-3, yesterday, the National Football Conference East champion Redskins were relegated to playing their first playoff game Jan. 9 or 10 at either Chicago or NFC West champion San Francisco. The 49ers beat New Orleans out of the West title with a 48-0 rout of the Los Angeles Rams last night for the NFL's best record, 13-2.
The Bears and Redskins finished 11-4, but the Bears gained the home field off a better record against conference opponents.
The Redskins' playoff destination will be determined by who wins the NFC wild-card game between New Orleans and Minnesota this Sunday. If the West runner-up Saints win, they will play at Central Division titlist Chicago and the Redskins will travel to San Francisco. If the Vikings are the wild-card survivor, they will play at San Francisco and the Redskins will visit Soldier Field, where they upset Chicago, 27-13, in the playoffs a year ago.
The wild-card winner determines the playoff pairings because teams from the same division cannot play each other until the conference championship game. As with the Redskins and New York Giants last season, the 49ers and Saints, or Bears and Vikings, cannot meet until the NFC final. The Redskins still could host the conference championship game if they and the wild-card team advance that far.