The Washington Commanders (7-6-1) still control their own destiny in the NFC playoff race, holding the final wild card.
But while their primary competition, the Seattle Seahawks (7-7), are reeling with four losses in their past five games, a new foe has entered the mix: the red-hot Detroit Lions.
The Lions (7-7) started 1-6 but have ripped off six wins in their past seven. With their remaining games at Carolina, vs. Chicago and at Green Bay, they easily could win out.
Washington, meanwhile, must go on the road to play the 49ers (winners of seven straight) and then return home for games against the Browns and Cowboys. None of those games is a gimmee for Washington.
It’s unlikely Washington and Detroit would finish with the same record because it would require the Lions to tie. If they do, however, the tiebreaker would go to Detroit. The Lions lone win in their first seven games was a 36-27 victory over the Commanders in Week 2.
FiveThirtyEight.com’s playoff predictor tool gives the Lions a 40% chance to make the playoffs and the Commanders a 35% chance. Should Detroit win two of three, Washington’s playoff chances drop to 30%; if the Lions win out, the Commanders chances drop to 12%.
Credit Dan Campbell and his team for not giving up after a slow start. That also applies to Washington, which started 1-4.
The Commanders remain in the driver’s seat for the playoffs, but the Lions have all the momentum.