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Redskins not in control of destiny yet

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Sports,NFL,Redskins,John Keim

Washington still needs another team to lose

With three games left, the Redskins have inched closer to controlling their playoff destiny. They're not at that point yet, but by this time next week it's a legitimate possibility.

Here's a quick look at the teams directly ahead of them:

New York (8-5) » The Giants have a one-game lead over the Redskins in the NFC East. They finish at Atlanta (11-2) and at Baltimore (9-4) before the finale vs. Philadelphia (4-9). It is -- by far -- the toughest schedule of those ahead of the Redskins. With Dallas also at 7-6, the Giants could need to win 10 games to win the division (they split with the Cowboys). The Redskins' 3-1 NFC East record, compared with New York's 2-2 mark, gives them the advantage in the tiebreaker.

Seattle (8-5) » The Seahawks have a one-game lead in the wild-card race over the Redskins. Because they did not play this season, the tiebreaker would be NFC record. Both teams are 6-4 in the NFC with two conference games remaining. If they have the same NFC mark, then it comes down to record against common opponents. Both teams have played St. Louis, Minnesota, Carolina and Dallas. The Seahawks are 3-1; Washington is 2-2. Seattle finishes against Buffalo (5-8) in Toronto and at home vs. San Francisco (9-3-1) and St. Louis (6-6-1).

Chicago (8-5) » The Bears have lost two straight, and if they lose to Green Bay on Sunday and the Redskins beat Cleveland, then Washington controls its playoff fate. The Bears are 5-4 in the NFC but have three conference games remaining. If the teams end up tied, the Redskins would have an edge in the tiebreaker because they would have the better conference record. After Green Bay, Chicago plays at Arizona (4-9) and at Detroit (4-9).

Note » Richard Crawford returned three punts for 100 yards, including the 64-yarder in overtime to set up the game-winning field goal over Baltimore. It was Crawford's first game as a punt returner in place of deactivated Brandon Banks.

"He tried to get upfield and made some people miss," Shanahan said of Crawford. "He was able to ... catch the ball, turn upfield and get some positive yards. When he was doing that, [he had] a couple of punt returns for big yardage. The last one was the difference in the game."

jkeim@washingtonexaminer.com

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