It’s Washington Week. For years, that statement has meant very little to most Dallas Cowboys fans – despite having one of the most heated and well-documented rivalries in the NFL. Washington has been so inconsequential over the years, the division show-downs have been far from notable.
Even last year when Washington swept the series and won the NFC East, it was nothing of note. With Dak Prescott and half the roster on IR, Dallas was a shell of their former selves and had no logical postseason dreams. Washington pretty much won the division by default.
This year things are different.
The winner between the Dallas Cowboys and WFT on Sunday will go a long way in determining who wins the NFC East.
A month ago, the idea that Washington could threaten for the NFC East crown would have been preposterous. The Dallas Cowboys were the hottest team in the NFL and Washington was struggling in just about every phase of the game – even defense which was supposed to be their bread and butter.
But November brought changes and none of those were for the good if you’re a Dallas Cowboys fan. Since Week 9 the Cowboys have the worst record in the NFC East. Going 2-3, Dallas looks like the team on the ropes and the 4-0 Football Team looks like the team to beat.
Sunday’s 1pm kickoff in Washington suddenly became exciting. Dallas still has the division lead and therefore is the favorite to claim the division, but what was once thought of as a forgone conclusion is now pretty darn significant. Winning a head-to-head would be enormous for either team, and swing the odds significantly for whomever wins.
The good news is things seem to be getting back on track for the Cowboys. Not only are injured players like Amari Cooper, DeMarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory, and Neville Gallimore getting healthier, but the team is coming off a much needed win where the defense seemed to get some confidence.
With the defense seeing a resurgence and the offense getting some firepower back (Amari Cooper played last week but only part-time), the Cowboys are due for a all-phases breakout. Most importantly, this match-up has Dak Prescott and we know how good Dak has been over the years against Washington.
Now, I’m the first one to say “wins are not a QB stat” but the fact that Dak Prescott is 7-1 against Washington is pretty telling. Not that Dak is solely responsible for the wins but just that the Dallas Cowboys are a much different team with Dak under center than they are with someone like say, Andy Dalton.
Even with Dak struggling (as he currently is), and Ezekiel Elliott hobbled, this Dallas Cowboys team has no excuse. They are the most talented team in the division (and perhaps in the entire NFL) and need to start consistently playing like it.
The win on Thursday offered a small boost to the morale of the team. And the time off this weekend gave them some much needed rest. But now it’s time to work. The NFC East is on the line and the Dallas Cowboys are on the road to face off against the defending division champs. If Dallas can’t get up for this they may not be able to motivate themselves for anything.
This is the biggest game of the season to-date and everyone knows it. Let’s roll – it’s Washington Week.
How do you see this playing out?