With the results of Week 16’s NFL games, there were plenty of discussions about what game might wind up on NBC’s Sunday Night Football in Week 17. (Or if there might even be no SNF game; the league has sometimes elected not to have one in the past.) That discussion ended with the announcement that SNF will feature the Washington Football Team against the Philadelphia Eagles:
.@WashingtonNFL know a win puts them in the playoffs.
The @Eagles want to stop them.
Week 17 SNF is coming! pic.twitter.com/7EAOBhxpYA
— Sunday Night Football (@SNFonNBC) December 28, 2020
Here’s the whole modified Week 17 schedule, via NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero:
Washington’s bid to win the NFC East will go down to Game 256. pic.twitter.com/DuN9UCFeTf
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) December 28, 2020
Although this is a game featuring 6-9 Washington and 4-10-1 Philadelphia, it still makes some sense to choose it as the primetime game, as it will have direct playoff implications regardless of what happens earlier. If the 6-9 Cowboys beat the 5-10 Giants earlier in the day, Washington needs a win to win the NFC East and make the playoffs (that would leave both teams at 7-9, but Washington won both head-to-head games, the first tiebreaker between two tied clubs). If the Giants win that game and improve to 6-10 and Washington loses, that leaves all three of those teams at 6-10; the first tiebreaker there is games between the three clubs, and the Giants (3-1) would hold that over Washington (2-2) and Dallas (1-3). So Washington needs at least a tie in the case of a Giants’ win, and they need a win in the case of a Cowboys’ win.
This game also could carry some significant drama for the future with Washington, especially when it comes to quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Washington fined Haskins $40,000 and stripped him of his captaincy this week after he was photographed at a large maskless gathering, and while he started against the Carolina Panthers Sunday, he completed just 14 of 28 passing attempts (50 percent) for 154 yards and two interceptions and was benched in the fourth quarter for Taylor Heinicke. He then didn’t initially talk to media after the game, and while there are differing reports on how that played out, he did later speak to media from his home. But head coach Ron Rivera wouldn’t commit to starting Haskins again next week, so there are certainly going to be some stories this week about who Washington will start and what Haskins’ future with that team might be. And that could add even more intrigue to this SNF game.
[Sunday Night Football on Twitter]