Giants loss hands Cowboys control again

December, 23, 2012
12/23/12
6:41
PM ET
ARLINGTON, Texas -- For the third time in five seasons, the Cowboys will face a winner-take-all season-finale.

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Thanks to the New York Giants' 33-14 loss to Baltimore, the Cowboys can make the playoffs by beating Washington next week to win the NFC East.

How?

Even if the Giants win next week to finish 9-7, the Cowboys would have a better division record to gain the tiebreaker on New York.

They would gain the tiebreaker on the Redskins based on common opponents with the difference being the Cowboys' 19-14 win at Carolina on Oct. 21. The Redskins lost to the Panthers, 21-13.

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The Cowboys and Redskins have eight non-division common opponents: New Orleans, Cincinnati, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Carolina, Baltimore and Cleveland. The Redskins beat the Saints, Buccaneers, Ravens and Browns. The Cowboys beat the Bengals, Buccaneers, Steelers, Panthers and Browns.

Conference record is the fourth tiebreaker after head to head, division record and common opponents.

In 2008, the Cowboys needed to beat Philadelphia to make the wild card and lost. Last year, Dallas faced the Giants for the division and lost.

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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