If you bet on the underdog Carolina Panthers to win Monday night at Washington, then you cashed in. But if you are holding a ticket on the Redskins to make the playoffs after their loss, then you are in trouble.
Washington was a 7-point home favorite on NFL odds and wasn't close to being the best team on the field in a 26-15 loss, the team's third defeat in the past four. The Panthers, with basically nothing to play for, had 438 yards of offense and forced three Redskins turnovers while not giving the ball away once themselves. Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins had one of his worst games of the season, going 32 of 47 for 315 yards with an interception and a fumble. Tight end Jordan Reed was ejected for throwing a punch in the third quarter.
It was Washington's sixth straight home loss on a Monday night. And the team lost top sacker Ryan Kerrigan to a left elbow sprain. The linebacker has 11 sacks on the season and it's not clear if he will get back in time for Saturday's game in Chicago. The Redskins opened at -3.5 on NFL picks.
Had the Redskins (7-6-1) won out including Monday, they would have been a wild-card team. Now they are on the outside looking in and sitting at No. 8 in the NFC standings. The streaking Green Bay Packers (8-6) hold the final wild-card spot over Tampa (8-6). The Packers and Bucs are tied in conference record, record vs. common opponents and strength of victory, but Green Bay has the slightest of edges over Tampa Bay in strength of schedule.
Neither Green Bay nor Tampa Bay can be eliminated from the playoffs in Week 16 regardless. the Redskins will be eliminated with a loss against the Bears and a Green Bay win over Minnesota OR a loss and Tampa Bay win over New Orleans. Even the Redskins winning out isn't a sure thing to get them in. Currently Washington has a 25 percent shot at the playoffs according to ESPN sister site FiveThirtyEight. A win in Chicago jumps that to 40 percent. A home win over the New York Giants, who might have nothing to play for, in Week 17 pushes the number to 72 percent.
The Redskins haven't made the playoffs in consecutive years since 1991-92.