The Redskins still are mathematically in the race for an NFC wild-card berth in the playoffs, but need a small miracle to get it.

If Atlanta beats Los Angeles tonight, the Redskins will be eliminated no matter what they do against the Rams Sunday.

A victory would give the Falcons a 7-5 conference record, the tie breaker that would be used to determine the wild card spot if they and the Redskins tie overall. The best Washington can manage is 6-6 in the conference.

If Atlanta loses, the Redskins must win Sunday and Tampa Bay would have to beat Detroit, the New York Giants would have to lose to Dallas and Green Bay would have to lose to the New York Jets. That would give Washington, Detroit, Green Bay and the Giants all 8-8 records.

If Detroit, the Giants or Green Bay win, the Redskins would be eliminated, this time because of inferior overall record: 9-7 versus Washington's best of 8-8. By losing to Detroit, Tampa Bay would be 8-8, but its conference record, 8-4, would be better than the Redskins' 6-6.

Atlanta and Minnesota also could finish 8-8. The Vikings (7-8) would have to beat Kansas City and the Falcons would have to defeat Cincinnati after losing to the Rams. St. Louis could be 8-8 but would be eliminated on the basis of an inferior conference record.

If the Redskins are tied with Detroit, Green Bay, the Giants and, possibly, Minnesota and Atlanta, the determining tie breaker would be best net points in conference games. Presently, the Redskins have a net total of minus-17. Atlanta is plus-99 going into tonight's game, Detroit is plus-56, the Giants plus-22, Minnesota minus-17 and Green Bay minus-22.