NFL playoff picture: Redskins stumble, Packers slide into wild-card spot
Washington's loss Monday night is a brutal blow -- while the Panthers and Saints stave off elimination
All Washington had to do was win Monday night. That's why you play, and the Redskins didn't show up ready on a home stage, losing in ugly fashion to the Panthers at FedEx Field. The result dropped Washington out of the final wild-card spot to No. 8 in the NFC.
Instead the Packers, who have been smoking hot while rolling off four straight wins, find themselves in the playoffs heading into Week 16. Green Bay, with victories over Minnesota and Detroit, would guarantee itself a postseason spot. But losses by Tampa Bay and Washington opened up the window to a much larger degree than expected. Week 15 couldn't have gone better for Aaron Rodgers if he got to write the script himself.
Check out the Playoff Picture page, complete with tiebreaker explanation and rules. Here's where everything stands at the conclusion of Week 15:
AFC: Who's in
1. z - New England Patriots (12-2)
New England clinches a first-round bye and can't finish lower than the No. 2 seed.
2. x - Oakland Raiders (11-3)
The Raiders are officially going back to the playoffs.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5)
4. Houston Texans (8-6)
The Texans benched Brock Osweiler and Tom Savage brought them back for a victory against the Jags. He fed DeAndre Hopkins and should start the rest of the season. Osweiler might have the worst contract in NFL history.
5. Kansas City Chiefs (10-4)
Ugly loss at home for the Chiefs, who are now behind the Raiders again, who beat San Diego on Sunday.
6. Miami Dolphins (9-5)
In the hunt
Baltimore Ravens (8-6): A two-point conversion attempt from the Eagles nearly derailed the Ravens, but they held on at home against Philadelphia to keep postseason hopes alive
Tennessee Titans (8-6): The Titans managed to take care of business against the Chiefs on Sunday afternoon, winning in Arrowhead and keeping their playoff hopes alive. They have a window via the AFC South and the AFC wild card, sitting just a game back of the Dolphins.
Denver Broncos (8-6): The Broncos fell short on offense again against the Patriots on Sunday, dropping to 8-6 and moving them down to No. 9 in the AFC. The defending Super Bowl champions are in serious danger of missing the playoffs.
On the fringe
Buffalo Bills (7-7): Rex Ryan and the Bills are holding onto the faintest of hopes after sending the Browns to loss No. 14 on Sunday.
NFC: Who's in
1. x - Dallas Cowboys (12-2)
2. y - Seattle Seahawks (9-4-1)
3. Atlanta Falcons (9-5)
The Falcons whipped the 49ers, beating a horrible NFC West team for the second week in a row. They have to hold off the Bucs in the division, but eliminated the Panthers from winning the NFC South again this year.
4. Detroit Lions (9-5)
Detroit fell to the Giants and now is in serious trouble. The Lions travel to Dallas next week before hosting the Packers on Jan. 1. A storybook season is suddenly on tilt and the division is off the table this week.
5. New York Giants (10-4)
The G-Men notched their 10th victory of the season against another team that could be involved in the wild-card hunt. They did not clinch a playoff berth because of Green Bay's victory.
6. Green Bay Packers (8-6)
And all of a sudden the Packers are right back in the playoffs. Not only could they get into the postseason via a Week 17 matchup against the Lions on Jan. 1, but they also have a leg up on a wild-card spot here.
In the hunt
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-6): The Bucs' loss to the Cowboys bumps them out of the playoffs and with Washington losing, both teams are looking up at the white-hot Packers.
Washington Redskins (7-6-1): That was a devastating loss for the Redskins on Monday night. Washington now has to win out -- not an easy feat considering there's a Week 17 matchup against Giants on the schedule -- to have a shot at the postseason. 9-6-1 guarantees nothing.
On the fringe
Minnesota Vikings (7-7): That was a brutal loss at home for the Vikings as they got smoked by the Colts and now have a major uphill battle to make the postseason after being the NFL's last undefeated team.
New Orleans Saints (6-8): Carolina's win Monday night keeps the Saints alive for at least another week.
Carolina Panthers (6-8): A win against the Redskins means the Panthers aren't eliminated just yet.
x - clinched playoff berth, y - denotes division winner, z - denotes first-round bye
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