Two weeks ago, it wasn’t a stretch to assume that the Redskins would lose the balance of their schedule, finish 2-14, and pioneer new ways to draft everything other than offensive linemen. But a funny thing happened on the way to national ridicule and complete fan revolt.
Washington scored more than 17 points for the first time all year. And they won.
So today’s Redskins-Cowboys game holds much more than bragging rights and NFC East intrigue. Depending on the execution and proficiency of the Redskins’ offense, today’s result could make the difference between that 2-14 debacle and a 6-10 flop of a season.
This isn’t to say that the Cowboys are a legitimate playoff contender or a team by which the Redskins can measure their improving offensive profile. In fact, a great performance against the Cowboys will go as far as their play against the free-falling Denver Broncos did a week ago.
But at the very least, a win against the Cowboys will have demonstrated key principles of the Redskins that are necessary to have a respectable remainder of the year.
If the Redskins win, it will be the result of a consistent running game out of Ladell Betts, which means good offensive line play. Jason Campbell will have made quick decisions in the pocket and made the most of the few passes he attempted.
The Redskins defensive line is not likely to find great success against the Cowboy offensive line, but there will be opportunities for the secondary to exploit Mr. Erratic Tony Romo. Pressure from the defensive backs and Brian Orakpo seem to be the most obvious order for greatness, but we’ve seen the obvious turn oblivious real fast with these ‘Skins.
Suffice it to say, the game won’t be a gimme for Washington.
But there is more than a legitimate chance for this team to get a much-needed divisional road win, and the confidence to face the remainder of the murderer’s row schedule. And who knows; for a team that can run off six-game streaks in either direction, it could be the start of something ‘Skins fans could hang their hopes on.
Or at least, a few cleverly-critical signs.