Redskins vs. Cowboys: Washington Has a Legit Shot at Winning the NFC East

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistNovember 22, 2012

Nov 22, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) holds the Gobler award after a victory against the Dallas Cowboys during a game on Thanksgiving at Cowboys Stadium. The Redskins beat the Cowboys 38-31. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

It's funny: With a rookie quarterback and a roster that has less talent and more key injuries, the Washington Redskins are quickly becoming everything the Dallas Cowboys think they should be. Washington was far from perfect in Dallas Thursday, but consider the circumstances:

  • The 'Skins were playing a team that is historically dominant on Thanksgiving.
  • On the road.
  • On three days' rest.
  • With a rookie quarterback, and without their top pass-rusher, their right tackle, their star tight end, and with their No. 1 wide receiver and their defensive leader both well short of 100 percent. 

And yet Washington went out and took a 25-point lead by the time Robert Griffin III's first nationally-televised NFL game was half over. RG3 looked like a seasoned veteran for the second straight week, completing over 70 percent of his passes while making only one notable mistake (a second-half interception). 

The No. 2 overall pick out of Baylor now has a 146.1 passer rating in the two weeks since Washington's bye, throwing eight touchdown passes and only the one pick in two one-sided victories. 

I say one-sided because although the final score was 38-31, the 'Skins embarrassed Dallas Thursday. Griffin was better than Romo. Alfred Morris was much better than Felix Jones. The defense made more plays than theirs. They took fewer penalties, converted more third downs and simply outplayed a superior opponent on the road. 

Under those circumstances, this might have been the best victory Griffin and the 'Skins have registered thus far. The momentum in the NFC East belongs to them now, and they can steal the division lead in just 10 days if the Giants fall to the Packers and then they can make it three in a row by beating Big Blue at home Dec. 3.

They get to stay at home for the Ravens the next week, but that'll still be tough. After that, it's two-win Cleveland, terrible Philadelphia and these Cowboys again to wind out the season. The way Washington's playing right now, I get the feeling all five of those games will carry importance.