It's down to two games left to play and, like the madman in Poe's "Tell-Tale Heart", some of us can still hear a sound of a heart beating that sounds very, very real.
Even with the Lions, Bucs, Rams and Bears losing, the playoffs are still a longshot. But maybe you don't have to believe in Santa to think that the Redskins will make the playoffs today. Perhaps you just have to think that the federal government will balance the budget again or that the Washington National will ever play a game.
Again, thanks to Kevin Mac on WarpathInsiders.com , the place that this blog proudly calls home, for boiling it down and getting to the nitty-gritty. It isn't the complete picture, but it does show the path to the Redskins having their fate in their hands going into the final game:
PLAYOFF FORMULA, WEEK 16:
Skins beat Dallas
+ Tampa over Carolina
+ Atlanta over New Orleans
+ Cincy over G-men
+ Philly over St Louis
= SKINS IN WITH VICTORY OF VIKINGS JAN 2Now, all of this does not have to happen for the Skins to be alive going into the last week, but there are some scenarios that will eliminate the Redskins. However, the Skins do have some degree of bullet-proofing. No single game can eliminate them, it would take one of the two following pairs of results to knock them out:
Both Carolina (@ Tampa) and New Orleans (Atlana) winning
Both St. Louis (Philadelphia) and Seattle (Arizona) winning
Since NO and Carolina play each other in Week 17, if they both win one of them will wind up with 8 wins, eliminating the Redskins. The Skins lose any tiebreakers to St. Louis if the Rams beat Philly and they would have to get into a tiebreaker with Seattle, who would have to go 0-2 to finish at 7-9.
In something I didn't mention yesterday, the 5-9 Giants are still a factor in the Redskins' playoff hopes. They need to lose one of their last two. If the G-Men and Skins both win their last two, the Redskins don't get out of the division tiebreaker in order to get into the multi-team playoff race since New York would have a better division record.
So, I would strongly recommend getting all of your Christmas-related activites done by 1 PM Eastern on Sunday (fortunately, none of the three games that will be nationally televised on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will have no bearing on the Skins' chances). Via your computer, Sunday Ticket, Sirrius Sattelite Radio, or ESPN Radio, you can follow Atlanta at New Orleans and the Giants at Cincinnati. Then at 4, it's the Skins at Dallas, plus Arizona at Seattle and Carolina at Tampa Bay. On Monday night, it's Philly at St. Louis.
It ain't over 'til it's over. And it ain't over.