By Ryan Decker
With some help tonight and some more help next week, as well as a win against the New York Giants in the season finale, the Redskins could make the playoffs for the second consecutive year, albeit squeaking into the postseason in the second wild card spot.
Being that the sixth and final spot in the NFC playoff picture is the only way Washington can play in the postseason, it calls into question should the Redskins want to make the playoffs?
Maybe it sounds like a dumb question off the top. Sure a team wants to make the playoffs you say.
And, yeah, you ask any Redskins player or coach and they would of course say they want to qualify for the postseason.
But you have to ask yourself, is it worth it?
Here are the two scenarios that will get the Redskins into the playoffs to begin with:
1) Dallas wins tonight against Detroit, and Washington beats New York in Week 17.
2) Detroit beats Dallas tonight, Washington beats New York and Detroit must beat Green Bay next week.
The difference between the two scenarios being that Detroit/Green Bay Sunday night decides the NFC North Division, with the winner getting the division title and the loser sliding to the sixth playoff spot or out of the playoffs entirely. Washington owns the tiebreaker against the Packers but the Lions hold the advantage against the Redskins.
Regardless of how they get in, it’s more so a matter of who they would play when asking yourself if the Skins should want to get in.
In the Wild Card round of the playoffs, Washington would either have to go to Detroit, to Seattle or to Green Bay.
Washington has already lost in Detroit once this year; Seattle has one of the best home field advantages in the NFL and is 3-0 in the playoffs against the Redskins. Green Bay is the hottest team in the league, and became that hot team after losing to Washington, meaning the Packers will be looking for revenge. GB also defeated the Redskins in the postseason a year ago.
Matthew Stafford is playing at an MVP-caliber level, Russell Wilson is proven in the playoffs, and Aaron Rodgers is playing like the Rodgers of old.
The playoffs also have a financial impact on the Redskins.
If quarterback Kirk Cousins leads Washington to the postseason for a second-straight year, something that hasn’t been done since 1990-’92, he and his representatives would have even more leverage when it comes to contract negotiations in the offseason. A lack of compromise between the two sides could once again result in the team slapping the franchise tag on Cousins.
That tag would come at a cost of nearly $24 million according to a CSN Mid-Atlantic article written last month. The same article, written by JP Finlay, suggested that a long-term deal (which would be the better option considering not all of the contract would be guaranteed and the payment could be staggered) would likely be around five years, $115 million.
Still a lot of money, yes, but technically more affordable for the organization.
Yes, Redskins fans, as great as rooting on the ‘Skins in the playoffs would be, this year the extra game may not be completely worth it.
Better luck in 2017, hopefully with Cousins leading the way with a long-term contract in hand.