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Week 15 rooting guide for Washington Commanders fans

Who needs to lose this week so that the Commanders can ultimately reach the postseason?

Washington Commanders v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The Commanders are in the thick of the wildcard race in the NFC. If the team simply wins all four of its remaining games, it will end up in the playoffs at no worse than the 6th seed. We can’t, of course, count on going undefeated, so it’s good to know each week which teams to root for to maximize Washington’s chances of making the playoffs with the optimal seeding.

This week’s rooting guide

If you want to know who to root for in this weekend’s games, here’s a handy rooting guide aimed at maximizing Washington’s chances of earning a wildcard seeding:


Colts at Vikings

The Vikings can clinch the NFC North with one more win against any team remaining on their schedule, and they’re favored by 4 points at the moment. It’s hard to imagine, with the Colts, Giants, Packers and Bears on tap, that they won’t get that needed win, so there’s not much difference between the Vikings winning or losing this game with respect to winning the division, aside from the odds swinging against them by a few percentage points.

The more significant issue is playoff seeding. With the Vikings & Niners just a game apart, a couple of losses by the Vikings could drop them from the 2nd seed to the 3rd seed.

I think there are too many variables to be able to predict whether Washington will finish as the 6th or 7th seed, so I’m not sure where I want the Vikings & Niners to finish.

With so little certainty, I fall back on the basic rule of thumb — when in doubt, root for the AFC team to win. Root for the Colts on Saturday.


Falcons at Saints

There isn’t going to be a wildcard team from the NFC South. The contest here is between the Bucs, Falcons and Panthers for the division championship. Other than a preference in my lizard brain to see Tom Brady finish the season out of the playoffs (just because), I really can’t see any reason to prefer one team over the other.


I do care about the 2023 draft. You might remember a 2022 draft day trade in which the Saints sent their 2023 first-round pick to the Eagles. Per Tankathon, that is currently the #5 pick in the draft. In order to make that the worst-value pick possible for Howie Roseman, we want to see the Saints go on a winning streak to finish the season.

New Orleans Saints v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

DraftKings has the Saints favored at home by 4 points. Let’s root for a New Orleans victory to devalue that draft pick that they sent to Philly back in April.

Steelers at Panthers

The Steelers still have a shot at finishing the season 9-8 and preserving Mike Tomlin’s record of never having had a losing season.

More importantly, the Panthers could conceivably achieve a 9-8 record by winning out. While I don’t think that will be enough to knock Washington out of the playoffs (because I expect the Commanders to get to 9 wins themselves), better safe than sorry, as they say. Root for the Steelers (who are 3 point underdogs) to get the win, ensuring a losing season for the Panthers.

Eagles at Bears

The Eagles are favored by 9 points. Of course, they were favored by 8 points against the Commanders and ended up losing by 11.

Tennessee Titans v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

You don’t need to be told the ovious. The Eagles are in the playoffs already, but let’s see them go on a losing streak to finish the season, and let it start this Sunday at Soldier Field.

Cowboys at Jaguars

You’re a Washington fan; you know what to do here.

Lions at Jets

This is an easy call. The Jets are favored by 2 points at home. We want them to beat the Lions. J-E-T-S, Jets!

Buffalo Bills v New York Jets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

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Cardinals at Broncos

I can’t come up with a reason to care about this game. Arizona opened the week favored by one point, but with news of Kyler Murray’s injury, the point spread moved and the Broncos are now favored by 3 at home.

Bengals at Buccaneers

I could write a lot about possible scenarios in the NFC South. From a practical standpoint, only the division champ is going to the playoffs from that division. I’m happy to see it stay interesting by seeing Tampa Bay lose, and, as mentioned above, I’d be perfectly happy to see Tom Brady end the regular season without a ticket to the postseason. Go Bengals.


Rams at Packers

Neither team is going to knock Washington out of the playoffs, but this late in the season, I’d say the default in a game between two NFC teams with losing records would be to cheer for the one with the worse record. The fact that it’s Sean McVay’s Rams against a team led by Aaron Rodgers just makes that decision easier. Root for the visiting Rams, who are currently 7-point underdogs, per DraftKings.

National survey results from Reacts email poll

SB Nation sends out a weekly email poll (you can click here to sign up). Here are the game predictions from NFL fans from across the globe. They’ve already got the Thursday night game right. You can see that they’ve picked the Commanders to prevail on Sunday night as well.

Check out DraftKings Sportsbook, the official sportsbook partner of SB Nation.