LANDOVER, Md. – From disarray to dominance, the Washington Redskins will enter the playoffs as the hottest team in the NFC.

And with the hottest quarterback in the conference. And maybe the hottest running back. And with a defense coming off a game in which it allowed exactly 1 yard rushing.

The Redskins reached the postseason Sunday with a 27-6 victory over the archrival Dallas Cowboys, capping an emotional renaissance to a season that appeared lost less than a month ago. Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs, seemingly on the ropes after a four-game losing streak, received warm embraces from players and assistants as the final seconds ticked away.

The Redskins did it by beating a Dallas team that rested anyone who was questionable with an injury because it had clinched home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs the week before. Still, the Cowboys played their healthy starters most of the game and were trailing 20-3 when quarterback Tony Romo was pulled for Brad Johnson with about 61/2 minutes left in the third quarter.

The Redskins (9-7) will travel to Seattle on Saturday, a rematch of a 2005 division playoff game won 20-10 by the Seahawks. Washington will be riding a four-game winning streak, the longest currently in the NFC. Its last three victories have been by double digits, a remarkable turnaround for a team that stayed afloat with close, ugly victories before losing four straight, the last coming days after the shooting death of safety Sean Taylor.

AP-ES-12-30-07 1931EST


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