What to Know
Important game times: Giants at Redskins, 4:25 p.m. (all times Eastern)
Packers at Lions, 8:30 p.m. (don't need a tie here)
Seahawks at 49ers, 4:25 p.m.; Saints at Falcons, 4:25 p.m.
The Washington Redskins lost to the New York Giants 19-10 on New Year's Day, missing their shot at the playoffs.
The Redskins would have made the playoffs with a win as long as the Green Bay Packers-Detroit Lions night game didn't end in a tie. Instead, Kirk Cousins was intercepted twice in the second half by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Washington (8-7-1) goes into an offseason filled with questions.
The Packers and Lions each qualified as a result of the Redskins' loss to New York (11-5), which will be the first wild card. Eli Manning played the entire game, going 17 of 27 for 180 yards despite the Giants opting for a conservative approach for much of the second half.
Cousins finished 22 of 35 for 285 yards and a touchdown, but more importantly the interceptions in the third and fourth quarters. Fittingly the game ended with another Washington turnover when tight end Jordan Reed's attempted lateral turned into a Giants touchdown.
Josh Norman and Odell Beckham Jr. added another dramatic chapter to their always contentious and ever-eventful rivalry. The Redskins cornerback, who entered tied for the most penalties in the NFL, was flagged for two more Sunday.
Norman shoved Beckham out of bounds in the second quarter and slammed his facemask into the Giants receiver's facemask for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the third. Last season, when Norman was with Carolina, he and Beckham engaged in all sorts of nastiness during a Panthers-Giants game, leading to a one-game suspension for the player known as OBJ.
Previous story: The Washington Redskins have their playoff hopes firmly in their own grasp. By beating the New York Giants Sunday at FedEx Field, the team all but assures their season will continue into the postseason.
With a win, the Redskins (8-6-1) would grab the second wild card slot. The only slim chance of keeping them out in that scenario is if the Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions game, 8:30 p.m. Sunday, ends in a tie.
The Giants (10-5) have already clinched a wild card berth and may be looking to stay healthy for their playoff run.
Who the Redskins would face in the first round of the playoffs also depends on the results of two other games. Currently, the Dallas Cowboys (13-2) and the Atlanta Falcons (10-5) sit atop the NFC and would get the first round byes.
The Seattle Seahawks (9-5-1) are the third seed and would face the second wild card team. However, if the Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers, and the Falcons lose to the New Orleans Saints, those teams would flip positions in the NFC standings.
The Redskins have faced the Seahawks three of the last four times Washington has made the playoffs (2005, 2007, 2012), going 0-3 against Seattle. The Redskins haven’t faced the Falcons in the playoffs since 1991, beating Atlanta 24-7.
There is also a chance that the Lions could rise up to the third seed with losses by both the Seahawks and Falcons. The last time the Redskins faced Detroit in the playoff was the 1999 playoffs, beating the Lions, 27-13.
While all these scenarios are in flux, none of them will matter if the Redskins lose their game against the Giants at 4:25 p.m. The team has been in the situation of deciding their own playoff fate for a few weeks, but they haven't been able to close the deal when they've had the chance.
The Redskins are 2-3 over the last five games and have needed help to hang on to their playoff hopes. They were able to beat the Giants in week 3, 29-27, in a game where Dustin Hopkins kicked five field goals, including the game winner with less than 2 minutes to play, to help propel the win.