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Seattle leaves NFL sleepless

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Cheers and Jeers,Sports,College,Brian McNally

Redskins fans might want to read up on the Seattle Seahawks -- again. If Washington wins its final two games and takes the NFC East title, then that is the team that more than likely will be waiting for it in the postseason.

Seattle is 9-5 and has a huge game of its own this weekend at home against NFC West-leading San Francisco (10-3-1). There's still an outside shot the Seahawks can win that division. But they would need to beat the 49ers and the St. Louis Rams in the regular-season finale and then hope San Francisco collapses in its last game against the Arizona Cardinals.

If relegated to the wild-card round, Seattle takes the tiebreaker with most of its closest competitors thanks to head-to-head wins over the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears. Only a 10-6 New York Giants team that loses the NFC East could pass the Seahawks with that same record. In other words, the No. 5 seed is a pretty good bet for Seattle.

The Redskins, of course, have a long way to go even if their fate is in their hands. Wins over Philadelphia and Dallas give them the NFC East title and the No. 4 seed in the playoffs. Anything less and it's wait and hope. If a rematch with the Seahawks did happen, it finally would be at home. Seattle eliminated Washington from the playoffs in both 2005 and 2007 at CenturyLink Field and has one of the great home-field advantages in the NFL. It would be nice to turn the tables.

But be careful what you wish for. The Seahawks' defense is second in points allowed per game (15.6) and is third in the league in yards allowed per game (303.9). The Seahawks have given up more than 20 points just five times and never more than 28 in a game. The first contest of the year against San Francisco on Oct. 18 -- a 13-6 loss -- was a smash-mouth affair.

"I watched a lot of tape, and it was probably the most physical game I've watched all year," NBC analyst Rodney Harrison said. "[The Seahawks] are the real deal."

- Brian McNally

bmcnally@washingtonexaminer.com

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