Football Team

WFT's 4% chance to reach playoffs includes 7 unlikely paths

Football Team
Taylor Heinicke rears back to throw to Terry McLaurin

Washington’s 56-14 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night was just as demoralizing as it was damaging to its playoff hopes. The team fell to 6-9 on the season, ensuring a losing record for the fifth-straight year and dropping its chances of making the postseason to 4%.

However, that number doesn’t yet read zero. Washington still has several paths to the playoffs if it can get some help from unlikely places. In fact, the team could end up with the No. 6 seed should a few things swing in its favor. There’s even a chance the NFC East sends three teams to the playoffs in a chaotic series of upset results.

One thing is clear: Ron Rivera and Co. will need to win out to have any chance of making it. A loss to either the Philadelphia Eagles next week or the New York Giants the week after would spell an end to their season. Washington is one of six teams vying for the final two NFC Wild Card spots and it’s the only one with fewer than seven wins.

If Washington can win its final two games, here are the scenarios (ignoring ties) that would help it back in the playoffs:

SCENARIO #1 – Washington gets No. 6 seed, Saints/49ers/Vikings/Falcons at No. 7

49ers LOSE out (vs. HOU, at LAR)

Eagles LOSE out (at WSH, vs. DAL)

Saints LOSE two of three (vs. MIA, vs. CAR, at ATL)

 

Vikings LOSE one of two (at GB, vs. CHI)

 

Falcons LOSE one of two (at BUF, vs. NO)

In this scenario, Washington jumps past everybody for the No. 6 seed. The Eagles would be eliminated and conference record would sort out the tiebreaker for the No. 7 seed between the other four teams.

SCENARIO #2 – 49ers take No. 6, Washington wins No. 7 tiebreaker

If 49ers WIN at least one of two… (vs. HOU, at LAR)

Eagles LOSE out (at WSH, vs. DAL)

Saints LOSE two of three (vs. MIA, vs. CAR, at ATL)

Vikings LOSE one of two (at GB, vs. CHI)

Falcons LOSE one of two (at BUF, vs. NO)

The 49ers currently hold the No. 6 seed and are in control of their own destiny. If they win either of their last two games, Washington would have to settle for the No. 7 seed.

SCENARIO #3 – Eagles take No. 6, Washington wins No. 7 tiebreaker

If Eagles BEAT the Cowboys in Week 18…

49ers LOSE out (vs. HOU, at LAR)

Saints LOSE out (vs. MIA, vs. CAR, at ATL)

Vikings LOSE one of two (at GB, vs. CHI)

Falcons LOSE to Bills in Week 17

The NFC East bonanza! Both the Eagles and Washington can join Dallas in the playoffs if Philadelphia loses in Landover next weekend before beating the Cowboys in Week 18. San Francisco and New Orleans would both have to lose out while the Falcons would have to fall in Buffalo and the Vikings would need to lose at least one of their final two games.

SCENARIO #4 – Saints take No. 6, Washington wins No. 7 tiebreaker

If Saints WIN at least two of three… (vs. MIA, vs. CAR, at ATL)

49ers LOSE out (vs. HOU, at LAR)

Eagles LOSE out (at WSH, vs. DAL)

Vikings LOSE one of two (at GB, vs. CHI)

Falcons LOSE one of two (at BUF, vs. NO)

The Saints don’t have to win Monday night against the Dolphins to get into the playoffs, but they do need some help from the teams in front of them: the 49ers and Eagles. Should both teams lose out, the Saints would be in control of the No. 6 seed with wins in their final two games. All Washington would then need is one Vikings loss to get in.

SCENARIO #5 – Vikings take No. 6, Washington wins No. 7 tiebreaker

If Vikings WIN out… (at GB, vs. CHI)

49ers LOSE out (vs. HOU, at LAR)

Eagles LOSE out (at WSH, vs. DAL)

Saints LOSE out (vs. MIA, vs. CAR, at ATL)

Falcons LOSE to Bills in Week 17

Here, the Vikings get the help they need in front of them while the Falcons lose to the Bills so that Washington can sneak in.

SCENARIO #6 – Falcons take No. 6, Washington wins No. 7 tiebreaker

If Falcons WIN out… (at BUF, vs. NO)

49ers LOSE out (vs. HOU, at LAR)

Eagles LOSE out (at WSH, vs. DAL)

Saints LOSE two of three (vs. MIA, vs. CAR, at ATL)

Vikings LOSE one of two (at GB, vs. CHI)

The biggest Cinderella story of them all, the Falcons and Washington face the longest odds among remaining NFC contenders but both get in here with practically every team in front of them losing the rest of the way.

SCENARIO #7 – Six-way tie at 8-9 favors Washington

49ers LOSE out (vs. HOU, at LAR)

Eagles LOSE out (at WSH, vs. DAL)

Saints LOSE two of three (vs. MIA, vs. CAR, at ATL)

Vikings LOSE one of two (at GB, vs. CHI)

Falcons LOSE one of two (at BUF, vs. NO)

Chaos? Chaos! Yes, all six teams could end up with the same record and, depending on how things shake out, Washington could be either the No. 6 or No. 7 seed. The Week 18 game between the Saints and Falcons would play a big role in determining that. However, if all six teams do end up with the same record, Washington is in no matter what.