Robert Griffin III Will Lead Washington Redskins to 2012 NFL Playoffs

Nicholas GossCorrespondent IDecember 4, 2012

LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 03:  Quarterback  Robert Griffin III #10 of the Washington Redskins throws the ball in the first quarter while taking on the New York Giants at FedExField on December 3, 2012 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Robert Griffin III will lead the Washington Redskins to the 2012 NFL playoffs in his rookie season as he continues to prove that he's a legitimate MVP candidate.

The young star was fantastic in Monday night's win over the division rival and defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants. He led the Redskins to a 17-16 lead in the fourth quarter, which they held on to in the final minutes after getting a few crucial first downs.

Washington has now won three straight games, and Griffin's spectacular play (via ESPN Stats and Info) and ability to not turn the ball over are major reasons for the team's recent success.

RGIII in last 3 games-- 9 TD passes, 1 INT (had 8 TD and 3 INT in first 9 games of season)

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 4, 2012

The Redskins' remaining schedule includes four winnable games, and if they win all of them, their final record would be 10-6. That could be good enough to earn a wild-card berth in the NFC playoffs, or even the NFC East division title.

The division-leading Giants have a challenging schedule to end the season, with games against the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons and Baltimore Ravens.

Here are the Redskins' final four opponents:

Date Opponent Record
Dec. 9 Baltimore Ravens 9-3
Dec. 16 Cleveland Browns 4-8
Dec. 23 Philadelphia Eagles 3-9
Dec. 30 Dallas Cowboys 6-6

The matchup with the Ravens will be difficult, but after losing to a Pittsburgh Steelers team that was battling injuries this past week, Baltimore is certainly beatable. The team's best defensive player, Terrell Suggs, reportedly has an injury (via ESPN's Adam Schefter). If Suggs doesn't play this week, the Redskins will have a much better chance of winning.

If Griffin can have success against the Ravens defense (which ranks 23rd vs. the pass) and lead the Redskins to victory, Washington should be able to win its final three games.

The Cleveland Browns have won two straight games for the first time this season and are playing good football right now. The Browns' biggest strength is their rushing attack featuring rookie running back Trent Richardson, but fortunately for the Redskins, their defense ranks fourth against the run.

Cleveland also doesn't defend the pass very well (ranked 24th vs. pass), so Griffin should not have too much trouble throwing the ball against the Browns defense.

The Week 16 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles should be an easy one for the Redskins. The Eagles have played poorly over the last two months, with just one win in their last 10 games. They have struggled against the pass recently, too, and won't be able to stop Griffin from dominating through the air.

The final matchup of the regular season could have a playoff spot on the line. The Cowboys are still alive in the division and wild-card races, but the Redskins already proved on Thanksgiving that they can beat Dallas.

There's no reason why Washington should fail to win at least three of its last four games, and the one game it could lose (vs. Baltimore) isn't against a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

If the Redskins win all their remaining games and finish 10-6, they will have a great chance to make the playoffs. The Seattle Seahawks (currently 7-5) will have a chance to finish 11-5 or 10-6, but Washington currently has a better conference record for tiebreaker purposes.

The first Wild Card will likely go to an NFC North team, either the Chicago Bears or Green Bay Packers.

Monday night's huge win over the Giants has given the entire Redskins team a new level of confidence heading into the final quarter of the season. They know Griffin can be trusted to make the clutch plays in the fourth quarter, and as long as their defense doesn't play terribly, they can beat anyone.

Griffin and the Redskins will be one of the toughest teams to beat for the rest of the year and will make the NFC playoffs as a Wild Card.