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A three game losing streak and a couple of embarrassing losses in a row, would appear to have stripped the life from this 2021 WFT season.  However, the WFT are not out of it yet. There is a series of events that can transpire and get Washington into the playoffs. And it’s not that far-fetched or ridiculous either.

First and foremost, Washington have to win both of their two remaining games of course.

Step 1

The WFT will square off against the Philadelphia Eagles at Fed Ex on Sunday. Not only are Philadelphia on a roll, but they’re the team that Washington is trying to catch in the Wild Card race. They also beat Washington quite handily 27-17, less than two weeks ago.

The Eagles ran all over Washington in their first meeting, but Philadelphia will be without running back Miles Sanders. Washington was also ravaged by Covid at the time. While they do still have cases, they aren’t in the twenties, and Washington has both quarterbacks back.

There are no scenarios whereby Washington can make the playoffs if they lose, so first step is beating the Eagles.

Step 2

If you presume the San Francisco 49ers will take the sixth seed that they currently possess, there are five teams vying for the seventh and final seed. They are the aforementioned Washington (6-9) and Philadelphia (8-7), along with the New Orleans Saints (7-8), the Atlanta Falcons (7-8), and the Minnesota Vikings (7-8).

The Saints and the Falcons meet in the final regular season game, so barring an unlikely tie, one of those two teams will move to at least eight wins. So the WFT could really use both of those two teams losing this weekend. It isn’t imperative, but it would be helpful.

Here are the Week 17 match-ups, and what Washington needs the game results to be.

New Orleans

The Saints will host the Carolina Panthers (5-10). The Panthers have struggled of late, but it is a division game, and the Saints have been hammered with Covid cases the last couple of weeks. They had 17 players out with Covid in their 20-3 loss to the Dolphins last week. While that number is down to seven, there is residual effect to players being out, and the illness etc. The Panthers won the first match-up 26-7, when they played in Carolina. | Game preview

Desired result: Carolina win

Minnesota

The Vikings face the Green Bay Packers (12-3) at Lambeau Field on Sunday Night Football. Obviously no game in the NFL is a given, but Green Bay are favored by 7 and vying for top overall seed in the NFC. Minnesota is in tough. It does bear mentioning however, that Minnesota handed Green Bay one of their three losses earlier in 2021. Still, most experts don’t seem to give the Vikings much of a chance.

Desired result: Green Bay win

Atlanta

The Falcons face a strong 9-6 Buffalo Bills squad in Buffalo. Buffalo are huge 13.5-point favorites. Atlanta are coming off of a win against the Detroit Lions, and will need to keep the ball rolling to get into the playoffs.

Desired result: Buffalo win

Step 3

The third and final step on the path to the 2021 Playoffs, is Week 18. Even though there is a desired result in all of the Week 17 games, as long as the Washington Football Team have beaten the Philadelphia Eagles, their hopes will still be alive.

Washington

Washington have to beat the New York Giants in New York. Period.

New Orleans | Atlanta

Seeing as the Falcons and the Saints face each other, Washington needs the team that wins this game to have lost the week before. If either team wins both games, they will have nine wins and finish ahead of WFT.

If New Orleans beat the Panthers in Week 17, and the Falcons lose to the Bills in Week 17, then Washington would need ATLANTA to win this game.

If the Saints lose to the Panthers and the Falcons beat the Bills, then Washington would need NEW ORLEANS to win this game.

Minnesota

If the Vikings beats the Packers in Week 17, Washington would need the Vikings to lose to the Chicago Bears in their final game of the season.

If Minnesota loses to the Packers in Week 17, the Vikings result against the Bears is inconsequential to Washington, as WFT would have the tie-breaker advantage with both teams at 8-9.

Philadelphia

Perhaps the biggest piece of the puzzle that Washington cannot control, is the Eagles final game of the season against the Cowboys.

Obviously the Cowboys are already division winners and in the playoffs, but they might be playing for the number one seed. they could be looking to fire on all cylinders.

Or the Cowboys could see it as an opportunity to rest starters, as often happens in the final week of the regular season.

Washington will be hoping for the former, as they need the Eagles to lose this game.

If Philadelphia beat Dallas, the Eagles lock up the last Wild Card spot.

Summary

It sounds really complicated, but it isn’t.  Three things need to happen for the WFT to make the playoffs:

  1. WFT must beat both Philadelphia and New York.
  2. Philadelphia must lose against both Washington and Dallas.
  3. All three other NFC contenders – New Orleans, Minnesota and Atlanta – must lose one of their two remaining games.

WFT Playoff scenario

In the graphic above, New Orleans lose to the Panthers but beat the Falcons. The Falcons lose both games.

If the Saints beat the Panthers but then lost to the Falcons, all five teams would finish at 8-9.

Washington wins tie breakers over any of the four teams that finish at 8-9 in these scenarios.

And would make the playoffs as the seventh seed.

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