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NFC East playoff scenarios

I don’t think this will be news to anyone, but the Washington Football Team can potentially secure a division title this week; but until the games are played, all four NFC East teams remain alive for the division championship.

Be aware that the NFC East will be sending only the division champion to the playoffs since every team in the division has already been mathematically eliminated from the wildcard contention.

Let’s look briefly at how the outcomes of the three games involving NFC East teams this Sunday will affect the playoff hopes of each team. We will, of course, be Washington-centric in our discussion.

If Washington wins on Sunday

  • Both Philly and Dallas will be eliminated from the playoffs
  • If the Giants lose to the Ravens then Washington clinches the NFC East title and the outcome of the Week 17 games become moot as to determining the division champion.
  • If the Giants beat the Ravens, then the division winner would be decided in Week 17.

- Washington would clinch with a win over Philly.
- Washington would go to the playoffs if both Washington and NY lose in Week 17
- The Giants would go to the playoffs if NY beats Dallas and Washington loses to Philly.

If Washington loses to the Panthers on Sunday then each of the four teams in the division have a path to the playoffs:

If the Washington Football Team loses to the Carolina Panthers this Sunday, then there are 16 potential combinations of wins & losses among the remaining Week 16 & 17 games involving the NFC East teams.

Remember that in Week 17 there are only two games in the division:

  • Washington at Philadelphia
  • Dallas at New York

As you can see, of the 16 potential outcomes that would follow a loss to the Panthers, six of them lead to Washington as division champ.

Of the remaining 10 outcomes, 5 would go to NY, three to Dallas and two Philadelphia, with the 3-way tie between WFT, Giants and Cowboys going to Dallas on the 2nd tie-breaker.

Interestingly, 5 of the 16 potential outcomes see the division champ being crowned with only 6 wins.

Washington controls its own destiny

Sitting atop the NFC East right now, Washington does not have to worry about what happens in any other games if they simply beat the Panthers this Sunday and the Eagles in Week 17. That is the clearest path to the playoffs and makes the strongest statement.

Washington’s division title chances have been calculated by a number of groups, using a number of different methods. Here are the current percentages of a WFT playoff spot from three of them: