Washington Redskins: Fan's Guide on Who to Root for in Week 16

Korey Beckett@@KoreyBeckettBRContributor IIIDecember 22, 2012

Washington Redskins: Fan's Guide on Who to Root for in Week 16

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    With only two weeks left in the regular season, the Washington Redskins can actually clinch a playoff spot this Sunday.

    No, this is not a dream, so don't ask anyone to pinch you because it will hurt.

    There are four key matchups to watch, with the Redskins game against the Philadelphia Eagles being the most obvious one. If you are someone (like me) who has multiple forms of media with which you can watch different games across the country, then this Sunday should be a treat.

    Three games at 1:00 P.M., two at 4:25 P.M. and one at 8:20 P.M. (all E.T.) are important for the Redskins and their fans this weekend. If the 'Skins do win this week, and a slew of other teams lose, then they are in.

    Here's which games to look out for on Sunday if you are a Redskins fan:

New Orleans (6-8) @ Dallas (8-6)

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    When? Sunday at 1:00 P.M. ET on FOX

    Where? Cowboys Stadium, Dallas, TX

    Who to root for? New Orleans

    Why root for them? You don't need some random guy like me to tell you to root against Dallas; you already knew that.

    But right now, the Cowboys are sitting at 8-6, tied with the Redskins for first place in the NFC East. This isn't exactly a make or break game for the Redskins' playoff chances since they would need to win in Week 17 against Dallas to capture the division anyways. But you just never want to root for Dallas.

    Plus, with New Orleans now being out of the playoff picture, there would be no negative ramifications if they were to pull out the victory. Just sweet, sweet joy over a Cowboys loss.

    Impact on Redskins? Minimal

Minnesota (8-6) @ Houston (12-2)

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    When? Sunday at 1:00 P.M. ET on FOX

    Where? Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX

    Who to root for? Houston

    Why root for them? This is the first game on Sunday's slate that Redskins fans will want to keep an eye on if Washington is going to win their game.

    Minnesota is one of the three teams that would need to lose (along with a Redskins win) if Washington is going to clinch a wild card spot in the playoffs.

    Both the Vikings and Redskins are 8-6, with the Redskins owning the head-to-head tiebreaker, so a Minnesota loss and a Redskins win assures that the Vikings won't be able to catch up.

    Plus, you can watch this game to see if Adrian Peterson can get within shouting distance of the single season rushing record, which is a nice bonus in and of itself.

    Impact on Redskins? Moderate

Chicago (8-6) @ Arizona (5-9)

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    When? Sunday at 4:25 P.M. ET on FOX

    Where? University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ

    Who to root for? Arizona

    Why root for them? Chicago is another team that the Redskins would need to lose in order for them to clinch a playoff spot.

    The Bears are in a bad funk right now, but playing the Cardinals might cure what ails them. Then again, Arizona did dominate the Lions last week at home, so a win may not be as easy at it seems. This is the NFL, after all.

    Chicago and Washington haven't played each other in the 2012 season, and a loss here for Chicago would give them a 5-6 record in the NFC. A Redskins win would put them at 7-4, so the Bears would, at best, lose a tiebreaker against the Redskins.

    This seems like a less likely loss than the Vikings, who take on a Houston team that's tied for the best record in the NFL.

    Impact on Redskins? Moderate

New York (8-6) @ Baltimore (9-5)

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    When? Sunday at 4:25 P.M. ET on FOX

    Where? M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD

    Who to root for? Baltimore

    Why root for them? This is the last of the three games in Washington's playoff parlay, and it is most likely the most important.

    If the Giants were to lose against Baltimore, and the Redskins were to win, Washington won't have to worry about Eli and Co. anymore.

    It would put them one game behind the Redskins, but the 'Skins hold the tiebreaker. If the Giants win and the Redskins lose, then the Redskins would have to win against Dallas in Week 17 and hope the Giants lose to the Eagles.

    I'd rather not have to worry about that.

    If both the Redskins and Giants win, however, the Redskins would still control their own destiny in Week 17.

    Impact on Redskins? High

San Francisco (10-3-1) @ Seattle (9-5)

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    When? Sunday at 8:20 P.M. ET on NBC

    Where? CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA

    Who to root for? San Francisco

    Why root for them? The most impressive NFL team over the past couple weeks plays in Washington.

    Washington state, that is.

    As good as the Redskins have been for over a month now, I still wouldn't feel comfortable with them playing the Seahawks.

    That defense is punishing, the offense moves the ball well with a strong running game led by Marshawn Lynch, and Russell Wilson has been incredibly impressive.

    With that said, you should hope that the 49ers beat the Seahawks this week, as it could possibly bump them out of the No. 5 spot. That same spot would be who the Redskins dance with first in the playoffs if they win the NFC East.

    Impact on Redskins? Low, for now


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    Just to quickly summarize, here is a brief guide on what to watch for on Sunday and who Redskins fans should root for:

    1:00 P.M.

    Washington @ Philadelphia (Washington)

    New Orleans @ Dallas (New Orleans)

    Minnesota @ Houston (Houston)

    4:25 P.M.

    Chicago @ Arizona (Arizona)

    New York @ Baltimore (Baltimore)

    8:20 P.M.

    San Francisco @ Seattle (San Francisco)


    Well, there you have it. Have fun watching Week 17, everyone, and I will see you afterwards for another update on the Redskins' playoff picture.

    Korey Beckett is a Featured Columnist for the Washington Redskins and Bleacher Report's fantasy football coverage. Like him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/koreybeckettBR