Two teams came into week 16 National Football League action with playoff dates assured and both had clinched their division titles. And both those teams were playing teams hoping to win and get help to earn a playoff spot.
The Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys are those two teams, and their opponents hoping for a playoff berth this week were and are the Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers got the headlines yesterday while passing Brett Favre for the all-time Packers touchdown passing mark, and the Packers won the game to further enhance their chance of earning an opening week postseason bye. But the Browns paid their backers with the plus points on the spread.
Tonight, the Cowboys host the Washington Football Team, and like Green Bay, Dallas is hopeful of a win tonight to stay within striking distance of the National Football Conference leading Packers. Green Bay won their 12th game of the season yesterday, the Cowboys are looking to pick up their s11th victory of 2021 tonight when they meet their NFC East Division rival tonight at AT&T Stadium.
The Cowboys are near double-digit favorites, while the Redskins are in much the same position that Cleveland was yesterday. The motivational edge belongs to the team that needs a win to keep playoff hopes alive over a squad looking to improve their playoff position.
That combination resulted in the Browns hanging with the Packers yesterday, losing the game by two points, 24-22, and beating the spread with a plus 8 points.
Washington looks to work the same magic tonight in Dallas with a real opportunity to win the game outright and move into a win and in scenario with their playoff possibilities.
Lose tonight, and the Redskins can begin preparation for next spring's draft.
Win, and they maintain a shot at playing in the postseason.
Last week, in Philadelphia, the Eagles lost to the Eagles by 10 points. There was a reason for their dismal road performance: they were without either their first, second or third string quarterbacks on their opening day depth chart.
The starter behind center for Washington when this season opened was Ryan Fitzpatick, who was lost for the year with an opening-day injury. Next up was career backup Taylor Heinicke, who has played better than most expected in his first long-term starting duty. Last week, both he and backup Case Keenum were declared out based on the COVID protocol.
Both are back tonight.
Can the Redskins upset the Cowboys on their home field tonight?
Are they the percentage side of the wagering proposition when considering what is at stake for these two teams and the bloated point spread?
Qoxhi Picks: Washington Redskins (+9) over Dallas Cowboys