For the first time in recent memory, the Sunday Night Football game this week is possibly the best game on the docket. Perhaps not because of the quality of the game it might be, but for what is at stake; the NFC East crown. Nice work with the whole “flex” schedule…finally.
With the defending champion Giants pretty much having their season ended the past two weeks in Atlanta and Baltimore, either the Dallas Cowboys or the Washington Redskins will get the final playoff berth and a home game in the first round of the NFL postseason.
The preseason favorite, whether Giants fans want to admit it or not, was the Dallas Cowboys. However, the Cowboys get preseason hype every year, regardless of how good or bad the team looks. For some reason, that is the pressure that is on any Cowboys team since their booming success in the early 90’s. Jerry Jones isn’t afraid to spend money, take a chance of questionable character guys and certainly not scared to say what he thinks about the team.
In a season with so many close losses, you’d think the Cowboys would be better than they are. But their great start to the season on defense disappeared and they had to get into shoot outs with a lot of teams just to have a chance. Credit and blame in those types of games always goes to Tony Romo. For a guy that gets so much flack, he’s had a terrific season.
Despite his high interception rate, which you’re going to get with a “gunslinger” type quarterback, Romo will finish the season just shy of the coveted 5,000 yard mark (unless he goes for 315 plus against Washington). His interception total of 16 gets somewhat of a pass from me because he makes more plays than mistakes, plus nine of them came in just two ballgames.
I realize that Romo gets most of the blame in Dallas for anything that goes wrong, but he’s the only one who has them where they are right now and that deserves credit. Yes, he still makes some questionable decisions last in the game, but he makes more good ones than bad ones, in my humble opinion. He’ll have to make zero mistakes to have a shot in this one on the road in a tough environment.
As for the Redskins, no one expected too much out of them this year. In fact, no one expected more than draft talk at the beginning of November when a home loss to Carolina dropped them to 3-6. But after a well needed bye week, they have yet to lose a game since. This includes a Thanksgiving Day win over the Cowboys that was pretty lopsided until Shanahan took his foot off the gas and almost let Dallas make a stunning comeback.
For Washington, all the credit has went to rookie sensation Robert Griffin III. While I’ll argue it hasn’t been all him, I will take nothing away from the young Redskins quarterback. He’s been electrifying to watch all year. He’s come into his own quicker than most thought he would and the trade up by Washington to get him in the draft looks like a genius move for the time being. If he can stop running the ball so much and risking his durability, he could be a special player.
Alfred Morris deserves a lot of credit for making this offense go, however. The late round rookie out of Florida Atlantic is having a spectacular season that no one seems to be talking about. I believe that coach Shanahan’s scheme is a big reason for that lack of recognition, for he always seemed to make anyone into a stud rusher while in Denver. But Morris has the chops for the system and props should go to Shanahan and the draft team for seeing that in such a late round gem.
With six consecutive victories, Redskins fever is back in Washington and Dallas will be heading into quite a hostile stadium Sunday night. Personally, I’m thrilled to see this rivalry renewed. Thinking back to them old Staubach versus Theisman teams was a golden era and any time those two played, it was must see TV. This one being for a playoff spot makes the drama even that much bigger.
Tagged with: Alfred Morris, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Dez Bryant, Jason Garrett, Jerry Jones, Joe Theisman, Mike Shanahan, New York Giants, NFC, NFC East, Robert Griffin III, Roger Staubach, Sunday Night Football, Tony Romo, Washington Redskins