PLAY­OFFS

Need help from oth­ers after loss to Pan­thers

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - BY TODD DYBAS

Tampa Bay plays at New Or­leans (6-8) then hosts Carolina (6-8) to close the sea­son. Green Bay hosts the Min­nesota Vikings (7-7) then plays at Detroit (9-5).

Check­ing in with The Up­shot’s play­off sim­u­la­tor shows a nar­row chance for Wash­ing­ton to make the post­sea­son. Fol­low­ing Mon­day night’s loss, its chances for the play­offs dipped to 25 per­cent. If the Redskins beat Chicago, but lose to the Gi­ants, their chances go down to 2 per­cent. The best-case sce­nario is to win both re­main­ing games. That pro­duces a 45 per­cent chance to get into the play­offs for back-to-back sea­sons. The Redskins have not done that since 1991-92.

“Well, we’re not in the play­offs,” Redskins coach Jay Gru­den said. “So it’s up to one game at a time. We have to just fo­cus on Chicago. I think a lot of times as men and as coaches we try to — the best way to put be­hind you some­thing like this, a per­for­mance like this, coach­ing per­for­mance, play­ing per­for­mance, is play­ing again quickly. To get back out on the field and hope­fully that will be a rem­edy for us come Satur­day.”

The Wash­ing­ton Redskins had a straight for­mula to en­ter the play­offs for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive sea­son: Win the fi­nal three games, and they were in.

Two of those con­tests — Mon­day’s game with the Carolina Pan­thers and Satur­day’s date against the Chicago Bears — pit the Redskins against sub-. 500 teams. One, the fi­nale against the New York Gi­ants could well be against a team that has noth­ing to play for, since its play­off spot would likely be de­ter­mined be­fore­hand.

The Redskins’ first move in the three-step process was to fall on their faces. Mon­day night’s 26-15 loss to the Pan­thers twisted Wash­ing­ton’s path to the post­sea­son and sliced its odds of get­ting there.

“We still got ev­ery­thing that we want in our hands,” de­fen­sive line­man Chris Baker said. “We just have to find a way to win th­ese next two and see what hap­pens.”

The 8-6 Green Bay Packers and Tampa Bay Buc­ca­neers are in front of 7-6-1 Wash­ing­ton. The Detroit Li­ons, 9-5, are also in the mix now. The Redskins are in if they win both of their re­main­ing games and both Tampa and Green Bay lose a game.

A com­bi­na­tion of two Wash­ing­ton wins, two Detroit losses and a Tampa loss would also get the Redskins in.

Things be­come more con­vo­luted from there. The Redskins will be elim­i­nated with a loss or tie this Satur­day against the Bears plus a Packers win over the Vikings; or a loss to the Bears plus a Bucs win or tie against the Saints; or a tie against the Bears plus a Bucs win over the Saints.

There is no sce­nario next week which elim­i­nates Tampa Bay. The Packers can­not be elim­i­nated or clinch this week­end, ei­ther. Detroit, which faces the Dal­las Cow­boys Dec. 26 on Mon­day Night Foot­ball, is look­ing at nu­mer­ous sce­nar­ios where it can clinch a play­off berth. Once the week­end’s games are com­plete, Detroit’s path will be­come much more clear.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS PHO­TO­GRAPHS

Quar­ter­back Kirk Cousins and the Wash­ing­ton Redskins were handed a set­back to their play­off chances on Mon­day with a 26-15 loss to the Carolina Pan­thers. The Redskins needed to win their fi­nal three games to get into the play­offs. Now, the Redskins need to win their re­main­ing two games and hope Tampa Bay and Green Bay lose a game.

Quar­ter­back Jameis Win­ston and the Tampa Bay Buc­ca­neers are ahead of the Wash­ing­ton Redskins in play­off con­tention with an 8-6 record.

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