If I told you roughly six weeks ago that we’d be seriously discussing the Redskins making a playoff push in December, you’d either laugh at me or call me a blind homer with cult-like devotion.
What a difference a month-and-a-half makes!
After beating the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday — and let me tell you: this side of Cowboys or Eagles fans, I couldn’t be more pleased to hand an “L” to a more classless and clueless fan base in Ravens fans — the Redskins are firmly in the thick of securing a playoff spot for the first time in five years.
As a Redskins fan, here’s what you need to be watching for over the next three weeks.
1. Let’s assume, for the sake of argument at the time being, that the Redskins beat the Browns, Eagles, and Cowboys, finishing the season on a seven-game winning streak (as an aside: if the Redskins do beat the Browns and Eagles, and the NFC East crown is on the line, I would unquestionably bet the farm on the Redskins beating Dallas at FedEx in the regular season finale; that may be the most electric atmosphere FedEx field will have seen in the better part of a decade).
2. The Redskins would then automatically clinch a playoff birth if Chicago, Seattle, or the New York Giants lose at least one of their remaining three games.
NY Giants: at Atlanta, at Baltimore, Philadelphia
Seattle: Buffalo (in Toronto), San Francisco, St. Louis
Chicago: Green Bay, at Arizona, at Detroit
Again: if the Giants, Bears, or Seahawks lose any of those games, the Redskins would automatically secure a playoff spot (again assuming the Redskins their own remaining three games).
3. If the Giants lose one game — a very foreseeable event with tough road games in Atlanta and Baltimore — and the Redskins run the table, Washington would win its first NFC East title since 1999 and host a home playoff game at FedEx Field. They could host Chicago, Seattle, the Giants (if they get in as the wild card), or even San Francisco (if Seattle beats them in Week 16 and runs the table).
Simple message: if you’re a Redskins fan, you need to be rooting hardcore for Atlanta to beat New York this Sunday.
Of course, this is all under the presumption that the Redskins beat Cleveland this Sunday — the health of one Robert Griffin III not withstanding — along with Philadelphia (a tough test on the road given the way Nick Foles has improved) and Dallas at home in Week 17 (sorry, but I think this one is a given, especially if Dez Bryant doesn’t play).
But it’s certainly exciting to be able to have this conversation in December and hold a straight face while doing so.