When the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins battle it out for the NFC Championship in Week 17, they will be doing so in prime time, as the NFL chose that game to flex to the Sunday Night Football contest. The winner will be this season’s NFC East Champion and clinch the No. 4 seed in the playoffs.
If the 9-6 Redskins defeat the 8-7 Cowboys to claim the division, they will also eliminate Dallas from postseason contention. If Dallas emerges victorious, Washington will still have some hope to earn a wild card berth, although a lot would have to happen in order for that to take place.
Therefore, the likely scenario is that the winner advances to host a wild card round game the following week, while the loser heads home for the new year.
With the Cowboys and Redskins playing the final regular season game, both will know just how much this game will mean. As I said, for Dallas, it is win or go home. Washington may still qualify for the playoffs even if they lose, depending what happens earlier in the day, but will still have a lot to play for Sunday night. Winning the division and hosting a wild card game is much more preferable to having to go on the road against either Dallas or the San Francisco 49ers or Green Bay Packers.
That being said, this will be a vital game for both, as well as an exciting way for the NFL to end the 2012 season.