Ticket prices to any Washington Redskins' playoff games this season would be an average of $10 to $15 higher than those for regular season games. The team mailed order forms for playoff tickets to its season-ticket holders last week.

Team president Stephen Baldacci said yesterday that the Redskins followed the NFL's recommendations in setting the prices for their playoff tickets.

The Redskins could host as many as two playoff games. The average ticket price would increase by about $10 for the first playoff game, and by approximately $15 for the second playoff game.

Season-ticket holders have until next Friday to make their payments. Any playoff tickets that are not purchased by season-ticket holders would be put on public sale soon thereafter, Baldacci said.

If the Redskins do not reach the playoffs or host fewer playoff games than season-ticket holders pay for, the excess payments would be applied to next year's season tickets. People who do not renew their season tickets next year would receive a refund for any tickets purchased for playoff games this season that are not played, Baldacci said.

That approach is consistent with how the Redskins have handled payments for playoff tickets in the past, Baldacci said.

"It's the only reasonable way to make it work," he said.

The Redskins have not played a postseason game since January 9, 1993, and have not hosted a playoff game since Jan. 12, 1992. They lead the NFC East by one game entering Sunday's matchup with the Arizona Cardinals at FedEx Field.

Alexander to Play

Tight end Stephen Alexander said yesterday he's set to return to the Redskins' lineup on Sunday. He was on the inactive list for last Sunday's loss at Detroit because of a strained hip flexor.

But he participated in practice for a second day in a row yesterday, and said he's the healthiest that he has been since suffering the hip injury.

"It felt good," Alexander said. "I'm finally able to move around and push off it. I can make cuts. Before, I was kind of limited. There's no doubt I'm playing Sunday. I've done everything in practice the last two days. They told me, 'Just do what you can do.' But I did everything."

Said Coach Norv Turner: "He was fine. I think he'll be okay to go."

The Redskins probably will be without left guard Keith Sims, however. Sims hasn't practiced this week after aggravating the knee injury Sunday that caused him to miss two games last month.

Sims might try to participate in today's practice, but Turner said: "I'm not optimistic he'll be able to play" Sunday.

Brad Badger would start in Sims's place.

First, but Jittery

It's odd for a team in sole possession of first place to be in crisis mode, but the Redskins are treating this as a make-or-break game.

"I'd like to play like we don't have any margin for error," fullback Larry Centers said. "I hope everyone else takes the same approach. Our backs are against the wall. It's time for everyone to step up. We have to play every game like it's a playoff game from here on out."

Said quarterback Brad Johnson: "Right now, we're in a four-game season. We're right where we want to be. We're in first place. It's a game we feel like we have to have. . . . We have to come out and win football games, regardless of who we're playing. We're down to four games. We have to come out and win each of them."