Trading Places - Washington (01/05/16)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
6 teams that would make the NFL Playoffs if they switched places with Washington.


Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins are in the playoffs for the first time since 2012. Washington won an underwhelming NFC East with a 9-7 record and is by far the worst team in the postseason. With a poor division and an easy schedule (ranked 25th out of 32 teams), what other non-playoff teams would have made the postseason if they switched places with Washington?

To find out we simulated what would happen if each team that finished .500 or better, plus a few more, played Washington's schedule 50,000 times.

New York Jets

Win and you're in. The Jets just needed to beat Buffalo in Week 17 to clinch a Wild Card berth. Instead the Bills upended New York 22-17 as Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three fourth quarter interceptions.

If the Jets played Washington's schedule New York would average 10 wins and finish first in the NFC East. The Jets, No. 8, are the highest rated team in our Power Rankings to not reach the postseason.

Buffalo Bills

Rex Ryan's squad was one of the few teams in 2015 to struggle against the NFC East (1-3 straight-up). Still, if given a chance to play the Cowboys, Giants and Eagles twice a year the Bills would find themselves on top of the division. Buffalo rates better than three playoff teams – Packers, Vikings and Redskins.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bucs finished the season on a four game losing streak. However, Tampa Bay has a lot to be excited about. The team won four more games than they did a season ago and Jameis Winston looked like a competent quarterback in his rookie year. If Winston and the Buccaneers played in the NFC East their season wouldn't have ended in Week 17.

Additional Notes
  • In all, six non-playoff teams (Jets, Bills, Raiders, Rams, Bucs and Bears) would win the NFC East and reach the postseason if they switched places with Washington.
  • The Giants would be in favor of kicking Washington out of the division. In five of the 11 simulations the Giants win the NFC East.
  • Indianapolis is a bad team. The Colts might have finished 8-8 and second in the AFC South but they would bring up the rear in the NFC East.

Team NFC East Record Finish in Division
Jets 10.3-5.7 1st
Bills 8.7-7.3 1st
Buccaneers 8.4-7.6 1st
Raiders 8.1-7.9 1st
Rams 8.1-7.9 1st
Bears 8.1-7.9 1st
Falcons 7.7-8.3 2nd behind Giants
Lions 7.5-8.5 2nd behind Giants
Jags 7.4-8.6 2nd behind Giants
Saints 7.3-8.7 2nd behind Giants
Colts 6.0-10.0 4th