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NFL flexes Dallas Cowboys-Washington Redskins game

It doesn't get much better than this: The Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins will face off next Sunday night for the NFC East title.

On NFL Network
NFL Replay will re-air the Washington  Redskins' 27-20 victory over the Philadelphia  Eagles from Week 16 on Tuesday, Dec. 25 at 8 p.m. ET.

The NFL announced the decision that the Cowboys-Redskins Week 17 game will be flexed to Sunday night at 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC. The winner will take the division. The Cowboys (8-7) would be out of the playoffs with a loss, and the Redskins (9-6) likely would be out with a loss, too. (The Redskins will know their scenario by the time they play.)

In addition, the NFL moved two games -- Miami Dolphins-New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers-Minnesota Vikings -- to 4:25 p.m. ET in order to build suspense and prevent teams from resting starters in races for playoff byes. The Vikings (9-6) also face a win-and-in scenario as a potential wild-card team.

All of the playoff byes will be decided before the Sunday night game. The Denver Broncos (12-3) and New England Patriots (11-4), both angling for byes, will play at the same time. The Houston Texans (12-3) will play at 1 p.m. ET as they go after a No. 1 seed. The Packers (11-4) and San Francisco 49ers (10-4-1), fighting for the NFC's No. 2 seed, also play at the same time.

Occasionally, Week 17 can be a bit of a letdown. Too many playoff spots already are decided, and teams are resting star players. That won't happen this season. There are tons of intriguing scenarios next week, highlighted by the game of the week Sunday night.

That's just how the system is supposed to work.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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