Redskins and Cowboys take season down to wire

Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:50pm EST
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(Reuters) - The National Football League (NFL) regular season is poised for wild finish on Sunday with five teams scrambling for two playoff spots and others looking for an edge as they prepare to launch their Super Bowl bids.

Much of the drama will center around the NFC East where the Washington Redskins (9-6), Dallas Cowboys (8-7) and New York Giants (8-7) will stage a battle royale for the division crown with a ticket to the post-season going to the survivor.

The key match-up comes in the final game of the regular season, a primetime showdown between the Redskins and Cowboys in the U.S. capital. The Giants are home to Philadelphia.

There will also be plenty at stake in the NFC North with the Minnesota Vikings (9-6) and Chicago Bears (9-6) trying to lockup a wild-card spot and the division leading Green Bay Packers (11-4) looking to clinch the NFC's number two seed and a first-round bye.

The NFL record book could look very different on Monday as the Vikings' Adrian Peterson makes a final run at the single- season rushing record while the Detroit Lions' Calvin Johnson bids to become the first receiver to post a 2,000-yard campaign and Houston Texans defensive tackle J.J. Watt, Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller and San Francisco 49ers defensive end Aldon Smith look to take down the single season sack record.

Peterson needs 208 yards to eclipse Eric Dickerson's rushing record of 2,105 yards set in 1984 but the Vikings' focus will be on beating the Packers and clinching an NFC wild-card spot.

Chicago closes out the campaign with a trip to the Motor City where they must combine a win over the Lions (4-11), losers of seven straight with a Vikings' loss to move on.

The Bears must find a way to shut down Johnson, who smashed Jerry Rice's single-season receiving record last week against the Atlanta Falcons. Megatron, as Johnson is known to fans, needs just 108 yards to go where no receiver has gone and become the first to reach the 2,000-yard plateau.

WINNER TAKE ALL   Continued...

Washington Redskins receiver Joshua Morgan (15) leaps to avoid a tackle from Philadelphia Eagles safety Colt Anderson (30) as Redskins' Niles Paul (84) follows the play during the second quarter of their NFL football game in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, December 23, 2012. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer