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Late Season Divisional Games with Playoff Implications


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Even though we are still two weeks away and there are several games (starting tonight) that can impact things, the feeling is that the Redskins-Eagles matchup on the evening of December 26th is going to be the most influential in the divisional race.  It got me to thinking about late season games with divisional opponents that had playoff implications for both sides. Yes, we have had playoff games with our rivals, with of course the 1972 and 1982 NFCCG wins over Dallas, the 1986 NFCCG loss to the Giants, and the 1990 wild-card round win over the Eagles (still the sweetest victory in my fandom, 1982 NFCCG and Super Bowls excepted).  But below are games in the last three weeks of the season against divisional opponents where both sides had playoff implications:


2012: 8-7 Dallas at 9-6 Skins: Two guys named Griffin and Morris that are now pretty much invisible lead us to our first division crown since 1999 in a winner-take-all game. 


2007: 6-7 Skins at 9-4 Giants: A Skins team still reeling from the tragic murder of Sean Taylor goes up to NJ and guts out a win. This game really wasn't as crucial for the Giants, as they easily secured a wild-card spot at 10-6, and went on to win the Super Bowl.


2005:8-5 Cowboys at 7-6 Skins: Chris Cooley and a tenacious D obliterate Dallas and this win, along with the Monday Night Miracle earlier in the season, are critical wins in vaulting the Skins into the playoffs over the Cowboys. The next week the Skins also beat the playoff-bound Giants, but NY was two games ahead before the game and secured the division in the final week.


1997: 7-6-1 Skins at 8-5-1 Giants: in a rematch of the infamous 7-7 tie at FedEx, Jeff Hostetler leads the Skins into the Meadowlands, and we Norv it up in a lousy 30-10 loss.  Giants win the division, Skins don't make the playoffs.


1992: 9-5 Skins at 9-5 Eagles: Eagles hold us scoreless in the second half and win 17-13. Both teams finish well behind the division-winning Cowboys, but both also make playoffs, including the Skins, who back in even after a season-ending home loss to the Raiders. Both get to the divisional round before losing.


1988: 6-7 Skins at 8-5 Eagles:  Skins reeling after three straight losses but upset the Eagles on a last-second field goal.  However, Skins would lose last two for only losing season of Gibbs 1, while Eagles rally to win division.


1986: 11-2 Giants at 11-2 Skins: my first ever regular season game at RFK......and the Jints put the screws to us, enroute to beating us again in the playoffs on their way to the SB.


1985: 7-6 Skins at 6-7 Eagles: Skins grind out a 4th quarter win but wind up missing the playoffs despite a 10-6 record.


1984: 9-5 Skins at 9-5 Cowboys: Skins come back from a two-TD deficit to stun Dallas 30-28, and then 9-6 Cards at 10-5 Skins: for the division crown, I think the Cards missed a FG at the end, and Skins win division.....and somehow the Giants get a WC spot at 9-7 over both the Cowboys and Cards.


1983: 12-2 Skins at 12-2 Cowboys: avenging a opening-night loss when the Cowboys rallied from a 23-3 deficit, Skins throttle Cowboys in the second half. No Danny No!


1979: <contents redacted due to emotional toll on writer>


That's about all I'm gonna come up with. Maybe more oldie time folks will remember others. The upshot is that the game on the 26th might be the biggest Skins-Eagles regular season game ever.

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This will sound cruel, but I wish Theismann had gotten injured earlier in the 85 season. That team was on fire once it was Schroeder (and George Rogers). One more win and we would have made the playoffs. I know the Bears were incredible that year, but Gibbs always had Ditka and Ryan's number.

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