Remember those nasty New York Giants who twice a year make it so tough on the Washington Redskins? Well, if you're a Redskins fan you'll want to root for them when they face the Dallas Cowboys Sunday in Texas Stadium. If the Giants win that game and the Redskins win their final two games, the Redskins will make the NFL playoffs.
The Redskins' two remaining games are Sunday (1 p.m.) against Cincinnati at RFK Stadium and the following Saturday at St. Louis. Washington is 8-6.
Assuming the Redskins win both games to finish 10-6, then:
*If New York (9-5) beats Dallas (9-5), the Redskins would qualify because the loser of the Dallas-San Francisco game on the final Monday night of the regular season would have seven losses and be out of the playoffs.
*If New York loses to Dallas, Dallas would clinch the NFC East title. The Giants still would qualify as a wild-card team if they beat Pittsburgh at home the following week.
*If San Francisco (8-6) loses either of its last two games -- Sunday at New Orleans or Monday, Dec. 23, at home against the Cowboys -- it will be out and the Redskins would be in. The 49ers lost to the Rams, 27-20, Monday night, which qualified the Rams for the playoffs.
If San Francisco loses both of its games to finish 8-8, the Redskins conceivably could make the playoffs with only one victory in their last two games, thus finishing 9-7.
Minnesota (7-7) and Detroit (7-7) still are in contention, but in a 9-7 tie with the Redskins, the Vikings would lose out based on an inferior record against National Conference teams and the Lions would be out by virtue of having lost to the Redskins on Oct. 13.