NFL Playoff Scenarios 2013: Teams That Must Win Out in Order to Taste Postseason

Mike Hoag@MikeHoagJrCorrespondent IIDecember 15, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 09:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers drops back to pass during the third quarter against the San Diego Chargers on December 9, 2012 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Joe Sargent/Getty Images

The NFL playoffs are right around the corner, and there are endless scenarios that can define the landscape of the 2013 playoff picture.

Most of these playoff scenarios ultimately rely on other teams losing and are contingent on other teams helping them out. Still, NFL playoff contenders need to take care of the one thing they can control: win.

It is truly that simple.

And it is truly "win or go home" for the following three teams down the stretch.


Washington Redskins (7-6)

Washington’s road to the playoffs just got a little trickier. Robert Griffin III was ruled out of the Redskins’ Week 15 matchup against Cleveland, according to team spokesman Tony Wyllie (via Mike Jones and Mark Maske of The Washington Post).

ESPN’s Adam Schefter initially broke the news (via Twitter) after receiving a text from within the Skins locker room during a team meeting that announced Kirk Cousins as the team’s starter for the game.

Winning without Griffin will definitely be a challenge, and Cousins will need to step up against a Browns teams which has won three straight.


Pittsburgh Steelers (7-6)

The Steelers finished a surprising 1-2 while Ben Roethlisberger rested with an injury during Weeks 11, 12 and 13 thanks to a surprise win over the Baltimore Ravens. After weathering the storm, the team dropped a game it had to have against the San Diego Chargers in Week 14.

That was with Roethlisberger playing!

Overall, Pittsburgh’s chances hinge on beating Dallas in Week 15 and then knocking off the Cincinnati Bengals at home in Week 16. The Bengals already won their Week 15 matchup to improve to 8-6. A loss to Cincy could be the dagger for the Steelers’ playoff hopes.


St. Louis Rams (6-6-1)

The Rams drew a tie and then scored a win over the playoff-bound San Francisco 49ers this season. They have played the NFC West incredibly tough, posting a 4-0-1 record in divisional play. While the divisional title may be out of reach, the postseason certainly is not.

St. Louis plays three wild-card-contending teams in its final three games and could push its way into the postseason with three consecutive victories.

It won’t be easy, though. All three teams—Minnesota, Tampa Bay and Seattle—are all playing with their seasons on the line as well.