Washington currently has a record of 4-5 after losing to the Minnesota Vikings 38-30 at home on Sunday. If the season were to end today, the playoff teams in the NFC would be Philadelphia (8-1), Minnesota (7-2), New Orleans (7-2), Los Angeles (7-2), Carolina (7-3), and Seattle (6-3). Washington would not only be on the outside looking in, but they would finish behind Atlanta, Detroit, Green Bay, and Dallas.
The Redskins have had the most difficult schedule in the NFL to this point in the season with their average opponent having won 5.78 games. Two of their four wins came on the west coast against the NFC West’s top teams, the Rams, and the Seahawks.
Weak competition down the stretch
There is light at the end of the tunnel though as six of the remaining seven games for Washington are against much weaker competition than what they’ve faced. After the Saints next week, the Redskins will face the Giants, the Cowboys, the Chargers, the Cardinals, the Broncos, and the Giants again.
The G-men look like possibly the worst team in the NFL right now and it looks as like the Cowboys are without Zeke (although who knows, honestly). The Chargers are 3-6 and as previously mentioned, Washington has had no trouble with west coast road trips. The Cardinals quarterback situation is quite unintimidating and the Broncos’ is even worse.
Who’s in their way
Washington’s main competition for an NFC playoff berth look to be Los Angeles (7-2) and Atlanta (5-4). The Rams remaining schedule includes the Saints, Eagles, and 49ers with road games in Minnesota, Arizona, Seattle, and Tennessee. A young Rams squad could easily lose five of those games and end up at 9-7.
The Falcons remaining schedule includes the Bucs, the Vikings, the Saints, and the Panthers with road contests in Seattle, Tampa, and New Orleans. Atlanta could conceivably lose four of those games and end up at 8-8.
What it’s going to take
They may struggle this week against the red-hot New Orleans Saints, especially after giving up 38 points to Case Keenum’s Vikings. Beyond a struggling defense, the running game took a hit with Rob Kelley going down this week.
For the Redskins to make the playoffs, they will have to take advantage of light opponents and Kirk Cousins will have to play like a man seeking a big offseason payday. If they can catch fire and sweep those final six games, they will be 10-6 and headed to the postseason for the second time in four years under Jay Gruden.