The playoff hopes of the Washington Redskins will be greatly buoyed if the Dallas Cowboys beat the Detroit Lions on Monday night. But for Jay Gruden, cheering for the Cowboys will not come easily.

The Redskins will not enter Week 17 with a playoff spot secured. But a Dallas win would place Washington only one-half game behind both Detroit and the Green Bay Packers — who play in Week 17.

So, assuming the Cowboys do beat the Lions on Monday, a Week 17 Redskins win would place Washington in the playoffs, unless Green Bay and Detroit tied their Week 17 game. As we’ve seen in 2016, ties are certainly possible. But the Redskins would be all but assured of a playoff spot.

A Lions win makes things complicated for Washington.

Should the Lions beat Dallas, it would be assured of no worse than a Wild Card spot. The Redskins would need to beat the Giants and have the Lions beat the Packers in Week 17.

Washington knows that it will need to win in Week 17 to make the playoffs. But if the Cowboys beat the Lions in Week 16, the Redskins have a clear path beyond winning what should be a tough game. It may not be easy for anyone associated with Washington to cheer for Dallas. But in this case, it’s necessary.