Redskins fans who watched Sunday night football were probably happy to see the Eagles looking uncompetitive in losing to the Cardinals 40-17.
But as was noted here last night, the game didn’t have much of an effect on the meaning of Saturday’s game in Philadelphia. It didn’t matter if the Eagles won or lost last night; after the Redskins beat the Bills and the Giants lost to the Panthers, Washington would take the NFC East with a win over Philly.
The Eagles’ loss, however, did potentially give the Redskins some breathing room if they should drop the game on Saturday night. A loss in Philadelphia would have both of those teams tied atop the division at 7-8. With a split in the season series the tiebreaker would move to best record in division games. The Eagles would be 3-2 in the division and the Redskins would be 2-3. A win for the Eagles in their season finale against the Giants would wrap up the NFC East for Philly.
But if the Eagles lose that last game in the Meadowlands the door would be open for the Redskins to take the division with a win in Dallas. That would make the Redskins 8-8 and the Eagles 7-9. The Giants could tie the Redskins at 8-8 if they win against the Vikings next Sunday and beat the Eagles. New York and Washington would have split head-to-head and they would both be 3-3 in the division and 5-7 in the next tiebreaker, record in common games.
An 8-8 Redskins team would prevail over Giants by virtue of taking the next tiebreaker, best record in conference games. The Redskins would be 7-5 in the NFC in this scenario while the Giants would be 5-7. That would send Washington to the playoffs.
The proverbial bottom line here is that there are two routes for the Redskins to win the NFC East:
—Beat the Eagles on Saturday
—Lose to the Eagles, beat the Cowboys in Week 17 while getting help in the form of the Giants beating Philly.