Redskins need win, help to make play­offs

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - BY TODD DYBAS

Just a week to go.

The Wash­ing­ton Redskins re­main on the edge of the play­offs, in a place to lament a tie abroad, a late col­lapse in Detroit and two close games against the mighty Dal­las Cow­boys.

Had those been dif­fer­ent, the Redskins could be in a po­si­tion to use this week to heal vi­tal pieces like tight end Jor­dan Reed or wide re­ceiver DeSean Jack­son. In­stead, Wash­ing­ton starts the week know­ing it is still the No. 7 seed in the NFC and can only reach the play­offs with a win and as­sis­tance.

Let’s start with what is di­rectly in front of the Redskins. Sun­day, they play a New York Giants team that has clinched a play­off spot. The Giants can’t win the NFC East; Dal­las took that claim and kept in­tact a var­ied run of teams at the top. The last time the di­vi­sion had the same cham­pion in con­sec­u­tive sea­sons was when Philadel­phia fin­ished first in 2003 and 2004.

The Giants re­turn to the play­offs for the first time in five

sea­sons. The ques­tion for them, and the Redskins, is how they will view Sun­day’s game at FedEx Field. If the Giants lose to the Redskins and the Green Bay Packers win Sun­day in Detroit, that would tie Green Bay and New York at 10-6. The Packers own the tiebreaker with New York be­cause of an head-to-head win in Week 5. The only thing that would change for New York is where it trav­els to for a wild-card game. It may be a choice between Seat­tle and Detroit, which would make Detroit the clear pref­er­ence for an op­po­nent.

How­ever, there is an­other wrin­kle. It’s pro­vided by Detroit. The Lions play Mon­day night at Dal­las. The Cow­boys have noth­ing to play for. They have clinched the top seed in the NFC and home-field ad­van­tage through­out the play­offs. Detroit, on the other hand, could be jet­ti­soned from the play­offs if it loses its fi­nal two games of the sea­son. If it wins both, then it be­comes a di­vi­sion cham­pion and host of a wild-card play­off game.

Which presents sev­eral mov­ing pieces for the Redskins to get into the post­sea­son. First, they have no choice but to beat the Giants on Sun­day. Lose, and they are out. If Detroit loses on Mon­day night and the Redskins win Sun­day, they are in the play­offs. This puts Wash­ing­ton fans in the di­abol­i­cal po­si­tion of pos­si­bly adopt­ing Cow­boys fan­dom for a night.

If Detroit wins Mon­day night, the Redskins will also need it to win Sun­day against the Green Bay Packers — in ad­di­tion to Wash­ing­ton beat­ing the Giants.

Ac­cord­ing to The Up­shot’s play­off sim­u­la­tor, Wash­ing­ton has a 46 per­cent chance to make the play­offs.

The Redskins will play the Giants at 4:25 p.m. Sun­day. By the end of the night, they will know if they have made the play­offs in back-to-back sea­sons for the first time since 1991-92.

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