“Dwayne Haskins’s squad was officially eliminated from the playoffs on Sunday,” read the display text above the site’s story Nov. 17, the same day the Redskins suffered a loss to the Jets that, while humiliating, did not eliminate them from the playoffs.
“After a loss to the Browns on Sunday, the Dolphins were eliminated from the postseason,” read the display text above the site’s piece this week, which, again, isn’t yet true.
Neither the Redskins nor the Dolphins have been eliminated — officially or otherwise — from the postseason. In fact, every team except the 0-11 Cincinnati Bengals is still “in the hunt” for a playoff berth with five weeks remaining.
Washington can’t win one of the NFC’s two wild-card spots, because five NFC teams outside of the NFC East already have at least eight wins, and the best Washington can finish is 7-9. But given the NFC East’s historically putrid season to date, a 7-9 record could be good enough to win the division.
Two teams have made the playoffs with a losing record in a non-strike-shortened season, most recently the Panthers (7-8-1) in 2014. For the Redskins to become the third and most ludicrously, absurdly, fantastically improbable member of that losers club yet, they need a few things to happen. First, they must win their remaining five games, against the Panthers, Packers, Eagles, Giants and Cowboys. No problem, right? The chances of that happening are 768 to 1, or roughly 0.1 percent.
Not accounting for potential ties, Washington also needs the Cowboys to lose out, beginning with their Thanksgiving Day tilt against Buffalo, in which they’re favored by a touchdown. Dallas then plays the Bears, Rams and Eagles before hosting the Redskins in what could be a spicy regular season finale with the division title on the line. The chances of Dallas going 0-5 down the stretch to finish 6-10 are 124 to 1, or roughly 0.8 percent. (If the Cowboys and Redskins both finish 7-9, Dallas would win the tiebreaker by virtue of a better divisional record.)
Finally, the Redskins need the 5-6 Eagles to get swept in their remaining two games against the Giants. The chances of Daniel Jones and the G-men playing double-spoiler? A reasonable 9 percent.
The chances of everything breaking the Redskins’ way and interim coach Bill Callahan leading this team to the playoffs are thus 887,990 to 1, or roughly 0.0001 percent. By comparison, you’re 58 times more likely to be struck by lightning in your lifetime, according to the National Weather Service, which also forecasts a deluge of salty remarks in the comments below.
Look, Todd Collins isn’t walking through that door, but the Redskins have made a habit of late-season playoff pushes. The past four times Washington made the playoffs, the team won at least four consecutive games to end the regular season. In 2015, the Redskins closed the year with four consecutive wins to win a weak NFC East at 9-7. Three years earlier, they won seven straight behind Robert Griffin III to capture the division crown. Can Haskins re-create that magic while documenting every win with an in-game selfie along the way? Yeah, probably not.
The 2-9 Dolphins require a lot more help to win the AFC’s second wild-card berth than the Redskins do to win their division, but they’re alive, which means a rubber-match Super Bowl showdown remains in play. Of course, Washington could be eliminated — officially this time — from postseason contention by the time you’ve finished your third helping of pumpkin pie Thursday. Then we can all go back to figuring out the odds of the Redskins landing a top-three draft pick.
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