Dec
09
2020

Midweek With Murr- Analyzing The Washington Football Team’s Playoff Chances

The Washington Football Team is tied for the division lead in the NFC East. Their record is 5–7.

The NFC East has been torn apart by league enthusiasts all season, and surprisingly, the New York Giants and the Washington Football Team appear to be the favorites.

One interesting aspect of this storyline is that the Giants and Washington both drafted quarterbacks in the first round of the 2019 NFL draft, but neither of the quarterbacks are currently playing.

Daniel Jones, the 6th pick and the signal-caller for the Giants are only not on the field as a result of an injury, and while he hasn’t been outstanding he is at least a starting-caliber quarterback.

Dwayne Haskins, Washington’s pick in that draft, lost the job due to poor performance. He went 1–3 with 939 yards and four touchdowns to three interceptions. When backup Kyle Allen was injured, Washington avoided handing the reins back to Haskins and instead went to Alex Smith, a former solid starter who had not played since suffering a horrific leg injury in 2018.

So, in other words, the first-round pick entrusted in the future of the franchise is already being written off, and the team went with an old, beaten up game manager who had not seen NFL action in two years. Despite this, Washington may be the representative for the lowly East.

The Cowboys and Eagles have more talent, but the Cowboys have had many injury issues and both teams have significantly underachieved this season. The Giants may be a more complete team, but they have flaws of their own, and also have a difficult schedule to end the season. The G-men have the Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, and Dallas Cowboys ahead of them, and this means that they await three above .500 teams and a Cowboys team with little to gain but a lot to prove in Week 17.

Washington’s remaining slate is not necessarily easy, but it features three sub-.500 opponents and a floundering Seattle Seahawks team is the only one with a winning record. Washington is also fresh off of ending the Pittsburgh Steelers undefeated season and they possess the NFL’s current 8th ranked defense.

Alex Smith improves each week and has the 13th, 16th, 19th, and 22nd ranked passing defenses ahead of him. Smith knows that he just needs to put points on the board and his defense can stop the other team. This luxury may be enough to push them through.

What stands in the way of Washington entering the playoffs? Well, the Giants have the season series advantage, so a tie in record is not an option for making the playoffs. The Eagles and Cowboys are also only two games behind, so Washington really needs at least two more wins to feel safe.

The Football Team may become the third sub .500 playoff team in the past decade, and if that happens they are joining good company. Both the 2010 Seahawks (7–9) and the 2014 Carolina Panthers (7–8–1) won their Wild Card Round games. While Washington doesn’t appear to be at the caliber of either of those teams, history is definitely in their favor.

Washington still has many questions for their future, but in the present they are a playoff contender. Lets see what happens.