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Redskins, Cowboys or Giants: Who will win NFC East?

The Dallas Cowboys' season was given up for dead at 3-5. They have won five of six games since.

Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan started to look toward next season at 3-6. His team has won five games in a row since.

Combine those with your typical New York Giants second-half collapse, and you have a three-team tie atop the NFC East. Let's break this down:

Redskins have the edge

The Redskinscurrently are in first place. They'll claim the division title if they win out against the Philadelphia Eagles and the Cowboys the next two weeks. With just four conference losses so far, the Redskins also stand a better chance than most of lucking into a wild-card spot even if they finish 9-7. 

Giants would be in with wins, too

The Giants would make the playoffs at 10-6 if they beat the Baltimore Ravens next week and take care of business against the Eagles in Week 17. But the Giants need a lot of help to claim the division because they won't win any tiebreaker against the Redskins or Cowboys if Dallas finishes 10-6.

Cowboys have toughest road

The Cowboys host the New Orleans Saints next week before heading to Washington. That's a tough schedule to go 2-0 against, but we didn't believe the Cowboys could beat the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers in back-to-back weeks either.

Dallas' defense remains banged up and had no answer for Robert Griffin III on Thanksgiving. But the Cowboys would win the division if they can go 10-6. They don't need any help. The Cowboys would have a better division record than the Giants in that scenario and would take the NFC East.

We even checked on a scenario in which the Cowboys beat the Redskins in Week 17 but there is a tie for the division lead at 9-7 (with the Redskins or a three-way tie with the Giants). The Cowboys would win that convoluted tiebreaker.

Redskins-Cowboys could be a play-in game

Giants fans don't want to hear it, but football fans should be rooting for the Redskins and Cowboys to win next week. If that happens, the Redskins-Cowboys game in Week 17 would decide the NFC East champion. No matter what the Giants do in Baltimore.

"Sunday Night Football" for the NFC East crown, anyone?

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The Redskins and Giants each have a game against the Eagles remaining. That's nearly a guaranteed win. The Redskins' tough game is at home against Dallas, a team they already beat.

The Redskins are playing the best of any team in the division, and they have the easiest road ahead.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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