- The Washington Football Team defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 20-14 on Sunday.
- With the win, Washington wins the NFC East Division and earns the 4th seed in the NFC playoffs.
- Washington has opened as +7.5 point betting underdogs against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their January 9 wild card game.
The Washington Football Team defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 20-14 to capture the lowly NFC East Division and head to the playoff for the first time since 2015. Despite its 9-7 record, Washington earned the NFC’s 4th seed as division champs and will head to the wild card round with home field advantage.
— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) January 4, 2021
3rd Sub .500 Playoff Team
The 7-9 Washington Football Team won the NFC East@WashingtonNFL is the 3rd team in NFL history (excl. strike seasons) to reach the playoffs with a sub-.500 record — and both of the other two (2010 SEA, & Ron Rivera’s 2014 CAR) won a playoff game that season
— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) January 4, 2021
Washington heads to the playoffs for only the 6th time since owner Dan Snyder bought the team in 1999. They have not won a playoff game since a victory at Tampa Bay in 2005.
Washington is the first team in NFL history to make the playoffs after opening the season with a 2-7 record. They are also the third team in NFL history to enter the postseason with a sub .500 record.
The last team to achieve the feat was the 2014 Carolina Panthers who were also coached by Washington’s Ron Rivera. Both the Panthers and Washington needed improbable second-half runs to make the postseason. This time, Rivera had to do it while fighting cancer.
Rivera announced in August that he was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma located in the lymph node. He decided to continue coaching while undergoing treatment. The treatments lasted seven weeks, with Rivera needing proton therapy five teams per week, and chemotherapy every three weeks. Rivera missed only three practices but he was often fatigued and could not coach the way he wanted.
Comeback Player of the Year
Alex Smith’s wife, Elizabeth, had his leg brace made into a trophy to help remind them of how far they’ve come.
— ESPN (@espn) January 3, 2021
Then there was quarterback Alex Smith who suffered a gruesome leg injury in 2018. Smith underwent 17 surgeries on his leg and was told he may never walk again. Doctors even feared for his life when he suffered an infection but not only did Smith return to action, he helped Washington win on Sunday despite playing with a strained right calf that limited his mobility.
Smith was sacked three times and was intercepted twice. Despite that, he completed 22 of 32 passes for 162 yards with two touchdowns. Smith’s 13-yard touchdowns pass to Logan Thomas is the second quarter gave Washington ta 17-14 lead that they would never relinquish. Smith began the year as Quarterback 3 in Rivera’s rotation but the team went 4-1 with him as starter before missing their previous two games with a calf strain.
The 36-year old veteran was a longshot +1200 to win the 2021 NFL Comeback Player of the Year award. But by October, Smith vaulted to the top of the odds board at +300. When Washington started their playoff run, he had emerged as a heavy -5000 betting favorite to win the award, With Sunday’s performance, Smith not only deserves to win the award but to have his name permanently placed next to the award.
+7.5 Underdogs at Home
Tampa Bay opens as 7.5-point favorites against Washington. https://t.co/3Ij8AJvPtf
— DraftKings Sportsbook (@DKSportsbook) January 4, 2021
Washington moved on to the Wild Card round where they will host Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday, January 9, 2015 at 8:15 p.m. ET. DraftKings has listed Washington as a +7.5 point spread underdogs and a +295 at the moneyline against the Bucs.
This represents the third meeting between these two franchises in the postseason. Tampa Bay won the 1999 Divisional Round game over Washington 14-13 on their way to the Conference Championship Game against the Rams. Washington got even with a 17-10 win in the Wild Card round against the Buccaneers in 2005.
Should the Washington Football Team beat Tampa Bay on Saturday, they will head to Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round unless one or both of the division-winning New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks lose in the opening round of the playoffs.