I think that everyone knows that if the Giants lose to the Packers on Sunday, the Redskins will be playing for the NFC East lead a week from Monday night when the G-men come to FedEx Field.
But what if the Giants win tomorrow? And suppose they do better than most expect during their tough finishing stretch, which includes back-to-back road games in Atlanta and Baltimore. Are the Redskins’ playoff hopes shot?
No, they are not thanks to some work they did earlier this season when it looked like the best they could hope for this season would be to match last year’s total of five wins. A wild card spot is very much in play if the Redskins can win four of their last five to finish at 9-7.
Here is the big picture: It looks like one of the two wild card berths will go to either the Packers or the Bears. They are both 7-3 and tied atop the NFC North. One likely will win the division, the other will get a wild card.
The Vikings, Bucs, and Seahawks are all tied for the second spot at 6-4. The Redskins are a game and a half behind them.
It is very possible that all three will lose on Sunday. Minnesota visits the Bears, Tampa Bay hosts the Falcons and Seattle makes the NFL’s longest road trip when they go to Miami. That would pull the Redskins within a game of the last wild card.
The leg up that the Redskins have is that they beat both the Bucs and the Vikings, giving them the tiebreaker edge.
If the Saints beat the 49ers they could join that group a game ahead of the Redskins. The Redskins, of course, earned the tiebreaker over New Orleans when they won the season opener.
There is a lot that has to go right there and much of it is not in the Redskins’ hands. Right now, there really isn’t much of a point in examining the other tiebreakers because there is a long way to go. But don’t despair if the Giants get hot and run and hide from the rest of the division. There is another path for the Redskins to keep playing into January for the first time in five years.