The NFL confirmed: Yes, one of these teams will actually make the playoffs. And they will host a playoff game, too.
In the NFC East, there are four teams with 12 total wins. And just a handful of those wins come against teams not in the division. Washington got their first non-division win Sunday, 20-9, over the Cincinnati Bengals.
As things stand headed into Week 12, the Philadelphia Eagles, losers of two-straight, are in first place with a 3-6-1 record. (The Week 2 tie against the Bengals the difference-maker.)
The New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys, and Washington Football Team are all a half-game back with identical 3-7 records.
But that will change on Thanksgiving Day when Washington travels to Dallas. The winner would claim the division lead and the ‘inside-track’ on making the playoffs.
“I think where we're at is, we understand what the division is this year," Alex Smith said after Sunday's win. "But for us, not getting caught up in all that. We really need to live week to week. That's it. I mean, we don’t need to be looking at the bigger picture or weeks down the line or anything like that. We got a short week this week. Huge division game. We have to find a way to go get a win and not really thinking anything else.”
Outside of two division games, in Washington's final six games, two are against teams with winning records: Cowboys, Steelers, 49ers, Seahawks, Panthers, and the Eagles.
But, four of those games are on the road and Washington hasn’t won away from home since Dec. 1, 2019.
However, Dallas - who earned a 31-28 win over the Vikings on Sunday - has the easiest schedule left: After Washington, they play Baltimore (losers of two-straight), Cincinnati (losers of Joe Burrow), San Francisco (losers of three-straight), Philadelphia (losers of two-straight), and the New York Giants (winners of two-straight, but still 3-7).
The Eagles and Giants each have four games left against teams with winning records. In terms of winning percentage of opponets left: Cowboys: .367 Washington: .516 Giants: .525 Eagles: .567.
And, well, the prognosticators give Ron Rivera’s team the worst chance to win the division.
Football Outsiders gives Washington a 16.8 percent chance at the division lower than Dallas 24.1 percent, Philadelphia 26.4 percent, and New York 32.7 percent.
FiveThirtyEight has different numbers and a different order, but Washington remains the team with the lowest chance at the division: 18 percent. They have the Cowboys at 23 percent, the Giants at 25 percent, and the Eagles at 35 percent.
The key for Washington: beat Dallas on Thursday. That would boost their chances to 29 percent, per FiveThirtyEight, and sink Dallas to a 9 percent shot.
Washington may not make the playoffs this season, but Thursday gives them an opportunity for a playoff-like game: A loss to the Cowboys sends Washington into 2021.