The objects in the Redskins’ rearview mirror really are as close as they appear.
With one relevant game to go in Week 12, the 6-4-1 Redskins are still in the driver’s seat for the sixth and final NFC playoff spot. But they need to keep their foot on the gas as their margin for error is slim.
With a win over the Seahawks on Sunday the Buccaneers moved to 6-5 and the Vikings dropped to 6-5 after they lost to the Lions on Thanksgiving. Both of those teams are a half game behind the Redskins. The Eagles could join that group if they win at home over the Packers on Monday night.
Meanwhile, the Giants won over the Browns to move to 8-3. Nobody has clinched anything but New York is very much in control of the top wild card spot. Their schedule gets considerably tougher in the coming weeks, and they could falter, but for the time being we will put them into fifth seed, the top wild card spot, and look at what’s happening with the race for the sixth seed.
Here are the non-division leading NFC teams who have at least six wins plus the Eagles and their remaining schedules.
Redskins (6-4-1), @Cardinals, @Eagles, Panthers, @Bears, Giants
Bucs (6-5), @Chargers, Saints, @Cowboys, @Saints, Panthers
Vikings (6-5), Cowboys, @Jaguars, Colts, @Packers, Bears
Eagles (5-5), Packers, @Bengals, Redskins, @Ravens, Giants, Cowboys
—Wins in their last five games to move to 11-4-1 would clinch a playoff spot for the Redskins. No other team in the wild card picture can get to more than 10 wins. If the Redskins go 4-1 the rest of the way either the Bucs, Vikings, or Eagles would have to sweep their remaining games to knock the Redskins out of the No. 6 spot.
—While the Redskins are capable of getting hot and winning four or all five of their remaining games a 3-2 finish seems more realistic. If they finish 9-6-1 a team would have to go 10-6 to finish ahead of them. The Bucs or Vikings would need to win four out of five pass Washington and the Eagles would need five wins in their last six starting tonight.
—The only team the Redskins play that currently has a winning record is the Giants in the season finale. The Bucs and Vikings also play just one team over .500 each while the Eagles’ last four games are all against winning teams who are either leading their division or in a wild card position.
—The Redskins and Bucs has three of their last five games on the road. Both the Vikings and Eagles have three of their final five at home, plus the Eagles are at home tonight.
—The wild cards in the wild card races are the games in Weeks 16 and 17. Will the Giants have their playoff position locked in when they come to FedEx on January 1? Will the Cowboys want Tony Romo to knock off some rust in the season finale in Philly? How badly will the Packers want to play spoiler to the Vikings’ hopes?