It’s difficult enough to win games with your starting quarterback, but few teams have success with their third. The foundation built from a 5-2 start has crumbled, and while the Redskins are still in the playoff hunt from a mathematical perspective, the state of the team (the Redskins have also lost three starting guards for the year to injury) makes it unlikely Coach Jay Gruden will reach the postseason for the second time in his five-year tenure.
The New York Times playoff simulator has Washington with a 31 percent chance to make the postseason, and a 9 percent chance of winning the NFC East. The Post’s Neil Greenberg had those odds at 44 percent and 28 percent last week.
If the season ended today
The loss to the Eagles combined with the Seahawks' victory over the 49ers put Seattle in the playoff field and left Washington out.
The Rams (11-1), who have already clinched the NFC West, and Saints (10-2) remain the top two seeds in the NFC, on pace for first-round byes. The Bears (8-4) continue to hold the top spot in the NFC North and would be the No. 3 seed, hosting the division-rival, sixth-seeded Vikings (6-5-1) in the wild-card round. The NFC East champions would be the fourth-seeded Dallas Cowboys (7-5), who would host the No. 5 Seahawks (7-5). The Panthers, Eagles and Redskins would be the first three teams out, with identical 6-6 records.
This week’s matchup
The Redskins need every victory they can get after losing four of five, and a home game versus the struggling New York Giants presents an opportunity. However, beating New York wouldn’t help make up playoff ground like toppling an opponent in the hunt would.
A win plus an Eagles victory over the Cowboys would leave those three teams tied atop the division, and provide a glimmer of hope for Washington’s playoff chances entering the final three games.
Other matchups to watch
The Redskins need teams in front of them in the wild-card race to start dropping games.
Washington could be simultaneously hurt and helped from the meeting between the Eagles and Cowboys. A Philadelphia victory coupled with a Redskins win would create a three-way tie in the NFC East at 7-6, but also make the wild-card picture more crowded. The Monday night matchup between the 7-5 Seahawks and 6-5-1 Vikings has major wild-card implications, while the 6-6 Panthers, losers of four straight, face the Browns on the road.
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