By Cristine Mayer,

Unless you live under a rock or took an amazing vacation out of the country over the holidays, you’ve probably heard that our very own Washington Redskins are in the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

If you’re like me and love everything about watching football but don’t actually know a lot about the game, here’s your guide to surviving Sunday afternoon and maybe impressing your friends:

What You Need to Know About the Match-up

The Redskins take on the Seattle Seahawks at 4:30 p.m. this Sunday on their home turf in Landover. This isn’t the first playoff meeting between the two teams – in fact, the last two times the Redskins have made it to the postseason, they’ve actually lost (twice) to the Seahawks.

This Sunday is different for several reasons – the most important being the Redskins have Robert Griffin III (RGIII). The first round, second pick of the 2012 draft has proven to be the spark needed for not only the Redskins’ offense, but the entire team. Other notable players, including Alfred Morris and Pierre Garcon, promise to make this weekend one D.C. sports fans will be talking about for years to come.

Game Day Etiquette

Whether you’re at the bar or hosting the best viewing party in the DMV, keep in mind this is the most important game in recent Redskins history. First and foremost, it makes the most sense to wear a Redskins’ jersey, T-shirt, hat, socks or any combination of burgundy and gold you can find. If you have questions about the game or a play, wait until a touchdown, timeout or challenge flag is thrown. I’ve learned that serious football fans don’t have time to explain the basics and might actually get annoyed with the questions (Even though your support and interest is greatly appreciated – I’m sure).

When heading to a bar, try to arrive at least an hour early to make sure you get a seat with good visibility of the TVs. No one wants to watch the game standing up for four hours in the corner of a bar standing under the TV. If at any point the game seems not to be going well – don’t feel the need to fill the awkward silence. Just don’t. If ever in doubt, just scream Hail to the Redskins!

Best Bars to Watch the Game

If you’re not one of the lucky ticket holders for Sunday’s game, here are some great local bars guaranteed to be full of fans cheering their hearts out.

1. The Crystal City Sports Pub (Arlington, Va)
2. Buffalo Billiards (The District)
3. Caddies on Cordell (Bethesda, Md)
4. Hard Times Café (Arlington, Va)
5. The Greene Turtle (The District)

Really want to learn about football? In my experience, the best way to learn about football isn’t during the heat of the moment of a playoff game. If you have a serious interest in learning about the game, consider joining a fantasy league at the beginning of next season. Fantasy leagues are great because they force you to pay attention to games, standings and stats and can potentially win you some serious cash at the end of the season.

Whether you’re hosting or decide to venture out with your friends to your favorite sports bar, save this link (Gridiron Girl Next Door) for helpful hints, and an easy to understand guide to football (If you have no idea what a touchback is, you are not alone – I promise!).

Hail victory!


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