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Week 16 rooting guide for Washington Commanders fans

The Commanders don’t really need help from anybody.

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 three of its remaining games, it will end up in the playoffs at no worse than the 7th 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

This week, we will also be taking into account the 2023 draft pick that the New Orleans Saints traded to the Eagles, so here’s the draft order (following Monday Night Football):

Playoff possibilities for all 32 teams

Here’s where each of the 32 teams stand with respect to the playoffs with three games to go:

Clinched playoff berth: Bills, Chiefs, Eagles, Vikings, 49ers, Cowboys.

Clinch playoff berth if they win this week: Bengals.

Clinch playoff berth if they win their next two games: Ravens, Chargers, Giants, Buccaneers.

Clinch playoff berth if they win out: Dolphins, Titans, Jaguars, Patriots, Commanders, Panthers.

Need help: Jets, Raiders, Browns, Steelers, Colts, Lions, Seahawks, Packers, Falcons, Saints.

Mathematically eliminated: Broncos, Texans, Bears, Cardinals, Rams.

Rooting guide for Week 16


Lions at Panthers


Minnesota Vikings v Detroit Lions Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images

Saints at Browns
The Eagles have the Saints 1st round pick, so root for New Orleans, who are 3 point underdogs, to win in order to erode the value of that pick. In addition, the Browns have just one more win than the Saints, and could get ahead of them in the draft order if the Saints stack up wins while the Browns stack up losses. Washington can help with that effort when the Commanders host Cleveland in Week 17. #Whodat

Bills at Bears
The Bears (3-11) sit just ahead of the Saints, so we want the Bears to keep losing to make sure the Eagles draft position doesn’t improve. Bills are 9 point favorites.

Falcons at Ravens
The Falcons at 5-9 can improve their draft position relative to the 5-9 Saints if the Falcons keep losing, which can devalue the Philly draft pick from the Saints. The Falcons have opened as heavy underdogs (+7.5 per DrafKings), but with Lamar Jackson’s availability in question and the Ravens 13-3 loss to the Browns in Week 13, expect the point spread to swing towards Atlanta before game time. Root for the Ravens here.

Denver Broncos v Baltimore Ravens Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

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Seahawks at Chiefs
Practice your tomahawk chop. KC is favored by 9.5 points,

Giants at Vikings
At this point, I’d rather face the 2nd seeded Vikings in the playoffs than the 3rd seeded 49ers. If Washington makes the playoffs, they most likely do so as the 7th seed. Root for the Vikings, who are 7 point underdogs, to find enough magic remaining in their bag of pixie dust to keep them ahead of the 49ers, with the bonus pleasure of seeing the Giants lose.

Indianapolis Colts v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

Eagles at Cowboys
Is there some universe somewhere in which they can both lose this game? Jalen Hurts is questionable and the Cowboys are favored by 6 points.

Bengals at Patriots, Texans at Titans, Raiders at Steelers
Sit back and enjoy these AFC matchups; root for whomever you like.


Packers at Dolphins
There’s an argument that we want the Packers (6-8) to lose, hoping they can get ahead of the Saints in draft position. However, a more powerful factor seems to be the motivation of the Packers trying to get into the playoffs because Green Bay and Detroit play one another in Week 18. By winning the next two games against the Dolphins and Vikings, the Packers would probably be alive for a potential playoff seeding going into final game of the season against the Silver & Blue. The only way Green Bay gets ahead of Washington is if the Commanders lose 2 out 3 to end the season, so it seems like a good idea to have the Packers in it to the end. Let’s cheer on the Packers, who are 6-point underdogs, against their AFC East opponent this week. Go Pack!

Buccaneers at Cardinals
Cardinals have one more loss than the Saints. We want Arizona, who are +5.5, to lose to make sure the Eagles’ draft pick doesn’t get any more valuable.

Broncos at Rams
If the Saints end up with the identical record as one of these two teams, the tiebreaker is Strength of Schedule. Since Broncos & Rams have identical records, we want the one with the easiest SoS ties with New Orleans to stay ahead of the pick that was traded to the Eagles. Root for Denver (.483 SoS) over the Rams (.500 SoS).

NFL: DEC 18 Cardinals at Broncos Photo by Steve Nurenberg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images


Chargers at Colts
The Colts are a half-game behind the Saints in record (so, just ahead of them in the draft order). We want the Colts (+4) to lose in order to stay ahead of NO in the draft order, making the Eagles’ pick less valuable. Go Bolts!

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 49ers to prevail over the Commanders on Saturday afternoon.

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