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Playoffs: It's Alive!

Dec 20, 2004, 6:40 AM EDT

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It’s down to two games left to play and, like the madman in Poe’s “Tell-Tale Heart”, some of us can still hear a sound of a heart beating that sounds very, very real.

Even with the Lions, Bucs, Rams and Bears losing, the playoffs are still a longshot. But maybe you don’t have to believe in Santa to think that the Redskins will make the playoffs today. Perhaps you just have to think that the federal government will balance the budget again or that the Washington National will ever play a game.

Again, thanks to Kevin Mac on WarpathInsiders.com , the place that this blog proudly calls home, for boiling it down and getting to the nitty-gritty. It isn’t the complete picture, but it does show the path to the Redskins having their fate in their hands going into the final game:


PLAYOFF FORMULA, WEEK 16:

Skins beat Dallas

+ Tampa over Carolina

+ Atlanta over New Orleans

+ Cincy over G-men

+ Philly over St Louis

= SKINS IN WITH VICTORY OF VIKINGS JAN 2

Now, all of this does not have to happen for the Skins to be alive going into the last week, but there are some scenarios that will eliminate the Redskins. However, the Skins do have some degree of bullet-proofing. No single game can eliminate them, it would take one of the two following pairs of results to knock them out:

Both Carolina (@ Tampa) and New Orleans (Atlana) winning

OR

Both St. Louis (Philadelphia) and Seattle (Arizona) winning

Since NO and Carolina play each other in Week 17, if they both win one of them will wind up with 8 wins, eliminating the Redskins. The Skins lose any tiebreakers to St. Louis if the Rams beat Philly and they would have to get into a tiebreaker with Seattle, who would have to go 0-2 to finish at 7-9.

In something I didn’t mention yesterday, the 5-9 Giants are still a factor in the Redskins’ playoff hopes. They need to lose one of their last two. If the G-Men and Skins both win their last two, the Redskins don’t get out of the division tiebreaker in order to get into the multi-team playoff race since New York would have a better division record.

So, I would strongly recommend getting all of your Christmas-related activites done by 1 PM Eastern on Sunday (fortunately, none of the three games that will be nationally televised on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will have no bearing on the Skins’ chances). Via your computer, Sunday Ticket, Sirrius Sattelite Radio, or ESPN Radio, you can follow Atlanta at New Orleans and the Giants at Cincinnati. Then at 4, it’s the Skins at Dallas, plus Arizona at Seattle and Carolina at Tampa Bay. On Monday night, it’s Philly at St. Louis.

It ain’t over ’til it’s over. And it ain’t over.



  1. Anonymous - Dec 20, 2004 at 7:21 AM

    fantastic breakdown mr tandler. i didn’t know we were that close to getting in. great job! like you said it is a long shot and a lot of things have to happen but it is far from impossible.

    keep up the good work!

  2. Anonymous - Dec 20, 2004 at 2:02 PM

    I dont think division tie breaker matters for the Wild Card, it’s just for who wins the division. see ESPN’s Conference StandingsTherefore there are 3 tiebreakers, and Redskins would beat the Giants on conference record.

  3. Rich Tandler - Dec 20, 2004 at 2:30 PM

    Actually, the division tiebreaker does matter. See the new post I’m about to create on the subject.

  4. mbarnes202 - Dec 20, 2004 at 3:39 PM

    Actually, there *is* one single game that would eliminate the ‘Skins: Our game against Dallas. As well as the Cowboys played against the Eagles, I hope our players do not look past them.

    A friend of mine pointed out that if Green Bay beats Minnesota next week, then Minnesota will almost certainly have nothing to play for against the ‘Skins– they will have the #1 wildcard spot locked up, but have no chance to get the Division …

  5. Bill - Dec 20, 2004 at 4:05 PM

    Actually, the opposite is true. If Minnesota beats GB, they’ll have nothing to play for, since they will have wrapped up the NFC North title.

    If on the other hand, they lose, it is “possible” that they will still have failed to clinch a playoff spot, thus requiring them to win the final game.

    However, if the latter is the case and the Vikings lose, I think they’ll still clinch a playoff spot so long as either Carolina or St. Louis lose. Note that these are things that the Redskins absolutely need to happen.

    In other words, if the Redskins are still alive for a playoff spot come week 17, it means that enough other things have happened to have put the Vikings in the playoffs regardless of how they fare against Green Bay.

  6. Anonymous - Dec 21, 2004 at 4:40 PM

    In three of the four games that we need to have go our way this weekend, the teams we want are favorites (Tampa, Cincinnati, Phila). And the oddsmakers’ belief that New Orleans is a favorite over Atlanta is, well, odd in my opinion. So, as long as we beat Dallas, it’s still not as far-fetched as some would believe.

  7. Muccman - Dec 21, 2004 at 9:05 PM

    Nice breakdown on the playoffs, it keeps me hopeful and its good to know their year is still alive, even if it took a miracle. I have to say Mr. Tandler, I came across your blog at some point during the season and I really enjoy reading your posts each week. It’s nice to be able to relate to other Redskins fans.

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