Everything needs to go right, but it is there for Gruden and company to be playoff bound for the second time in his tenure
Despite all the carnage that has been brought upon the last month and a half of the season, there is still a slight glimmer of playoff hope these final two weeks. Believe it or not, Josh Johnson could be the hero we both need and deserve against the Titans and Eagles. It will be a very winding road these final two games for the Redskins to make the playoffs, but there is still that small possibility. Even the number 5 seed is still up for grabs in addition to the NFC East title. Here is what would need to happen for the Redskins to make the playoffs.
NFC East Title
1. Dallas 8-6; Games Left: vs. Tampa Bay, @ New York Giants
2. Philadelphia 7-7; Games Left: vs. Houston, @ Washington
3. Washington 7-7; Games Left: @ Tennessee (SAT), vs. Philadelphia
This option is the biggest headache and most unlikely to happen. Dallas would need to lose to both Tampa Bay and New York while the Redskins take care of their own business and win out. While we can all hope for a late season miracle, I would not put all my money on this scenario. Jameis Winston has put some life back into the Buccaneers offense. However, their defense still lacks something to be desired. New York could be without Odell Beckham, Jr. in the season finale. In addition, the Giants could decide to take a look at Kyle Lauletta in the final game to gage where he is at in his development for when Eli Manning decides to retire. The Cowboys may fall to the Buccaneers, but I do not see them losing to the Giants. They will be your NFC East Champions this year.
NFC Wild Card Standings
5. Seattle 8-6; Games Left: vs. Kansas City, vs. Arizona
6. Minnesota 7-6-1: @Detroit, vs. Chicago
7. Philadelphia 7-7; Games Left: vs. Houston, @Washington
8. Washington 7-7; Games Left: @Tennessee (SAT), vs. Philadelphia
Wild Card #1
Outside of winning the NFC East, this is the most difficult playoff position for the Redskins to obtain. The Redskins would need to win out while the Seahawks would need to lose out. In addition, there would need to be a wide variety of domino effects to happen for the strength of victory, or strength of schedule, to fall in the Redskins favor. While the Seahawks are likely to falter against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night, it is unlikely they would lose to the Cardinals at home in Week 17. This would give the Seahawks a 9-7 record locking in a wild card berth. 9-7 would look great for the Redskins with how the season nearly collapsed in November and early December, but there is too much out of their control to ensure the 5 seed.
Wild Card #2
Winding up as the 6 seed is the most likely scenario. The Redskins will still need to win out but need minimal help. The Vikings are currently sitting at 7-6-1 and would only need to lose one of their final two games. Minnesota has two divisional games including the NFC North Champion Chicago Bears in Week 17. The Bears could very well be fighting for a bye week and keep their starters in the entire game. This, coupled with Kirk Cousins propensity to collapse under the big lights, could be the Vikings playoff undoing. The Vikings would drop below the Redskins in the standings because of a tie that has be dangling over them like a guillotine since Week 2 against the Packers.
As ugly as it has been, meaningful football in late December is back for Redskins fans. For at least another week.