The Redskins snapped a four-game losing streak and kept their playoff hopes alive with a 16-13 win over the Jaguars on Sunday, as quarterback Josh Johnson orchestrated a second-half comeback on the road. Imagining a postseason field featuring Washington would’ve been laughable after the Redskins were embarrassed at home by the Giants last week, but with two games remaining in the regular season, a playoff berth is still within reach. In fact, thanks to Dallas’s shutout loss to the Colts, Washington (7-7) could still win the NFC East.
The odds are still stacked against Coach Jay Gruden’s injury-ravaged team, which started its fourth quarterback of the season Sunday. The New York Times' playoff simulator gives the Redskins a 20 percent chance to reach the postseason, while FiveThirtyEight gives Washington an 11 percent chance to make the playoffs.
If the season ended today
The Redskins, who occupy the No. 8 spot in the NFC pecking order, would miss the playoffs if the season ended today. The Saints (11-2 heading into Monday night), Rams (11-3) and Bears (10-4) have all clinched their divisions and will jockey for the conference’s top three seeds over the season’s final two weeks. The Cowboys (8-6) continue to lead the NFC East by one game over the Eagles and Redskins and hold the No. 4 seed. The Seahawks (8-6) are the No. 5 seed, followed by the Vikings (7-6-1), who have a half-game lead over the Eagles and Redskins for the second wild-card spot.
The Eagles upset the Rams on Sunday night to move up to the seventh position. Philadelphia and Washington have identical 7-7 records, but the Eagles own the head-to-head tiebreaker by virtue of their win over the Redskins in Week 13. The Panthers (6-7) could further muddy the race for the NFC’s two wild-card spots with a win over the Saints on Monday night.
Redskins' path to the playoffs...
Win the NFC East
The Redskins would win the NFC East and clinch the No. 4 seed in the NFC if they win their final two games (at Tennessee, vs. Philadelphia) and the Cowboys lose their final two games (vs. Tampa Bay, at N.Y. Giants). The New York Times and FiveThirtyEight put Washington’s chances of winning the division at 4 percent and 1 percent, respectively. The Eagles would win the NFC East if they win their final two games (vs. Houston, at Washington) and Dallas loses its final two games. Both the New York Times and FiveThirtyEight give the Eagles a 5 percent chance of repeating as division champs. The Cowboys can clinch the division and the No. 4 seed with a win in either of their final two games, no matter how the Redskins and Eagles fare.
Secure a wild card berth
The Redskins’ more likely path is by winning one of the NFC’s two wild-card spots. Washington doesn’t control its own destiny, but ending the season with wins over Tennessee and Philadelphia would give the Redskins an 80 percent chance of making the postseason, according to The Post’s Neil Greenberg.
The simplest scenario involves Washington winning out and Kirk Cousins’s Vikings losing at least one of their final two games (at Detroit, vs. Chicago). The Redskins would also clinch a playoff spot if they win their final two games, Seattle loses its final two games (vs. Kansas City, vs. Arizona) and Carolina loses at least one of its remaining three games (vs. New Orleans, vs. Atlanta, at New Orleans). Washington could clinch the No. 5 seed with two wins, at least one Vikings loss and two losses by the Seahawks.
Believe it or not, there are also scenarios in which the Redskins could make the playoffs as a wild card if they lose to the Titans on Saturday and defeat the Eagles in Week 17 to finish 8-8. One such scenario would involve the Vikings and Eagles both losing their remaining two games, and Carolina losing at least one of its remaining three games. There is no scenario in which the Redskins make the playoffs if they lose to the Eagles in Week 17. A Redskins loss to the Titans coupled with an Eagles win over the Texans this week would eliminate Washington from playoff contention.
A note on tiebreakers
There’s a chance that the NFL’s tie-breaking procedures will come into play to determine the final wild-card spot. The Redskins own the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Panthers, but there’s a more complicated formula for breaking a tie between three or more teams. The tiebreakers to consider will become more clear after next week’s games.
This week’s matchup
The Redskins travel to Nashville on Saturday to face the Titans (8-6), who are coming off a 17-0 win over the Giants and are in a similar position in the AFC playoff race. Winners of three straight, Tennessee is eighth in the AFC but has a 95 percent chance of making the playoffs if it closes the season with wins over the Redskins and Colts.
Other matchups to watch
The Redskins should be rooting for the Chiefs against the Seahawks, the Lions against the Vikings, the Texans against the Eagles and the Falcons against the Panthers on Sunday. Washington should also pull for New Orleans against Carolina on Monday night.
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