Some doors opened up for the Redskins yesterday. On Sunday we will see if they can walk through them.
Thanksgiving started off well for the Redskins when the Lions thumped the Eagles 45-14. The Eagles have now given up 45 points in two consecutive games and quarterbacks Jameis Winston of the Bucs and Matthew Stafford of the Lions each threw five touchdown passes. Chip Kelly used to be the smartest guy in the room. Now he’s “confused, tormented, forlorn,” according to one Philly columnist.
The loss dropped the Eagles out of a tie with the Redskins for second place in the NFC East. At 4-7 Philadelphia is a half game behind Washington. As another Philly.com columnist put it, “now their season lies in irrevocable tatters.”
The Eagles have plenty of problems but they are in much better shape than the Dallas Cowboys are. Like the Eagles, they were not competitive in losing on Thanksgiving Day. Kurt Coleman got a pick six of Tony Romo on Dallas’ first possession and it was downhill from there. The final score of Panthers 33, Cowboys 14 did not indicate how thoroughly Dallas was dominated.
Rock bottom for Romo came in the third quarter when linebacker Thomas Davis slammed him into the AT&T Stadium turf, injuring the QB’s left collarbone. That’s the same one that he just spent eight weeks rehabbing. Early reports are that Romo reinjured his clavicle and will be out for the season.
The Cowboys won Romo’s first game back last Sunday against the Dolphins and Cowboys fans (and many Dallas cheerleaders in the media) had visions of Romo leading a winning streak that would carry his team into the playoffs. The fervor got to the point where the 3-7 Cowboys actually were favored over the 10-0 Panthers.
Dallas is now 3-8, alone in last place in the division.
So where does all of this leave the Redskins? In the short term, the picture is pretty simple. If they beat the 5-5 Giants on Sunday they will be tied for first place in the NFC East. The teams will have split their head-to-head series and the Redskins will have the edge in the next tiebreaker, division record. Beating New York would move the Redskins to 2-1 in the NFC East while the Giants would be 2-3.
Looking a little further down the road, the Redskins will have two games against the Cowboys, who presumably will be without Romo, and one against the lifeless Eagles. They also have a road trip to play the Bears, who upset the Packers on the road last night, and a home game against the Bills. The Giants’ remaining opponents include a Week 15 game against the Panthers, who won’t be resting their starters by then, and a trip the next week to play the 7-3 Vikings in Minnesota.
The Giants are currently ahead and would have to be considered the favorites. But if the Redskins do win on Sunday it becomes a legitimate two-team race.