Washington Redskins: Updating the 2012 Playoff Picture
With only five games left before the postseason, Redskins fans are doing a lot of research on what the playoff picture looks like after two straight wins against hated division rivals.
After the first win against the Eagles, fans were mildly intrigued at the rest of the schedule, but didn't think too much of the postseason.
With that second win in Dallas on Thanksgiving, though, the interest has been through the roof. With the way the rest of the NFL action went down in Week 12, it seems that the divisional title may not be the only avenue to a January schedule.
The Redskins are currently holding the ninth spot in the NFC playoff picture, which may seem out of reach at the time, but they could jump all the way up to No. 6, which just happens to be the last playoff spot in the conference.
How could they do that, you may ask? Well, let's break it down to see how the Redskins could garner control of their own playoff destiny.
Let's just say for interest's sake that the Redskins win one week from today against the Giants on Monday Night Football to improve to 6-6. We're getting ahead of ourselves, but it's the most obvious result that needs to happen.
With that, the Redskins would move one game behind the Giants in the NFC East, while holding the tie-breaker in the meantime due to a 1-1 mark against the G-Men, and a better divisional record (3-1 for Washington, 2-3 for New York).
That's a great place to start and obviously a divisional championship is more beneficial than a Wild Card spot, but it would be at least one more week before that became a true possibility.
For that coveted last Wild Card spot that the Redskins have been accustomed to when making the playoffs, there's a couple of other things that need to happen, and none seem too out of the ordinary.
As it stands, the Redskins are in a very fortunate position, holding the tiebreaker against every single 6-5 and 5-6 teams in the NFC.
Here are the 6-5 teams and how the Redskins own that tiebreaker: Seattle (Conference record), Tampa Bay (Head-to-head), Minnesota (Head-to-head).
As for the 5-6 teams: Dallas (Head-to-head) and New Orleans (Head-to-head).
That's all very good news as the Redskins are almost controlling their own destiny (which makes the loss to Carolina hurt much more).
In Week 13, Seattle plays at Soldier Field against an 8-3 Chicago Bears team. Tampa Bay heads to Mile High to take on Denver (also 8-3). Minnesota also hits the road to take on 7-4 Green Bay.
Of course, beating New York in primetime isn't going to be a simple task in itself. Especially after the way they trounced the Packers last night on Sunday Night Football. They did, however, have two weeks to prepare for Green Bay and the Giants had played miserably in the weeks leading up to their bye.
We all remember how close the Redskins were to beating New York at MetLife Stadium (which is a win that would be really nice to have now), and this time close won't be good enough. It's not a "must-win" game, but it's as close at you can get.
Which Road to the Playoffs Seems More Likely?
Things certainly seem to be looking up and, even though the Redskins have lost six games, it appears they lost to the right teams (if that sounds reasonable).
They lost to New York (but can avenge that loss next week and own the tiebreaker), St. Louis (half a game behind the Redskins for now), Cincinnati and Pittsburgh (AFC losses aren't back breakers), Atlanta (Who won't need to break any ties) and Carolina (who seems to be too far behind to need a tiebreak).
So get excited, Redskins fans. Week 13 is a big one. Washington is looking to go on a three week stretch of beating division rivals and the 6-5 teams of the NFC will be giving you plenty to watch on Sunday.
It feels nice to be able to read about the possibility of playoffs Post-Thanksgiving, isn't it? Hopefully next week the article will read: Redskins control their own destiny.
Korey Beckett is a Featured Columnist on Bleacher Report for the Washington Redskins and Fantasy Football. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/koreybeckettBR and follow on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/koreybeckettBR
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