Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, December 22, the day the Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys.
When you have nothing to play for, you find something to play for.
Although a Redskins win won’t help them in any way involving the NFL standings—they have locked up last place in the NFC East—they nevertheless have to play the game so they might as well find a reason to win it. Here are a five of them:
1. They can do severe damage to the Cowboys’ chances of making the playoffs. A Redskins win would set up a scenario where the Eagles would clinch the division with a Sunday night win over the Bears. If you can’t impact your own playoff chances, the next best thing would be to damage those of a division rival.
2. If there is anybody for whom the players would like to “win one” it’s London Fletcher. He is universally admired and respected by the team and a win in his last game at FedEx Field would be the perfect going away present.
3. It may be that Daniel Snyder has already made up his mind and Mike Shanahan is out no matter what happens in these last two games. But if the owner is still teetering, a win could bolster his chances of staying. It seems that the players all want Shanahan to stay—Fletcher and DeAngelo Hall both gave him endorsements this week—and a win just might help Shanahan get another year.
4. If they aren’t playing for Shanahan’s job perhaps they are playing for their own jobs. There are only a handful of players on the roster who aren’t unrestricted free agents or who wouldn’t be able to be released with more than minimal impact on the salary cap. In short, much of the team is working on a two-game contract. If that’s not incentive to play well, nothing is.
5. Finally how about winning one for the fans at FedEx Field? The Shanahan era has brought many more home losses than wins. They are 11-20 at home since 2010 and 2-5 this season. And since there is always a strong presence of fans dressed up in blue and silver when the Cowboys come to town the Redskins may need to stay out in front to avoid this sounding like a road game.
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In case you missed it
- Turned over: Falcons parlay 7 giveaways into a win
- Players support decision to go for two
- Defense holds up well
- Cousins critical of his performance
- Redskins commit seven turnovers vs. Falcons
- Shanahan walks out of postgame presser
- Glazer says Shanahan is out when season ends
- Shanahan: RG3 is the starting quarterback
- Shanahan confirms he isn’t resigning
- RG3 talks about overcoming adversity
- Shanahan: Despite turnovers, Cousins played well
- Cowboys have plenty of critics in Dallas
- Shanahan taps brakes on Cousins praise
- Jordan Reed still suffering from headaches
- Did Shanahan play the odds right on the two-point try?
- Green points finger at Shanahan for Redskins problems
- Points soar for Redskins’ opponents
- Morris upset about fumbles
- Garçon nears receiving record
- Report: RG3's father pushed for Briles
- Jerry Jones worried about Lee, Cowboys depth
- Have NFL refs gone rogue?
- Former MVP Moseley admires Tucker's season
- Redskins' Young tweaks hamstring, status unclear
- Redskins snap counts vs. Falcons
- Shanahan says Redskins are tuning out distractions
- Rex Ryan may be done in NY, is he a fit for the Redskins?
- OPEN THREAD: QB competition real or perceived?
- Shanahan says Redskins' offense did not change for Cousins
- Fletcher likely to call it a career
- 3 and out: Redskins hope to play spoiler vs. Cowboys
- Redskins' Fletcher advises RG3 to 'exhale'
- Redskins pick up C JD Walton
- Redskins' Reed, Williams sit out practice
- Who will take London Fletcher's place on the Redskins?
- Fletcher on Shanahan: 'He’s the right guy"
- Can the Redskins D stop DeMarco Murray?
- Where are we? State of the Redskins after 14 games
- Browns insider: No first for Cousins from Cleveland
- Report refutes allegations concerning RG3, father
- Will the Redskins play in AT&T Stadium North on Sunday?
- Kyle: 'There’s a report about everything'
- Despite turnovers, Jerry Jones supports Romo
- Redskins' Williams returns to practice Thursday
- New Redskins OL Walton won't play in '13
- Redskins' Reed (concussion) done for the season
- After further review, Cousins feels 'pretty good' about performance
- Analyst: Scheme, footwork contribute to RG3's off year
- Fletcher's streak will be his legacy
- Is Orakpo a must-sign player?
- Reed's promising rookie year cut short
- Cowboys hobbled going into game vs. Redskins
- Aikman blasts Cowboys play calling in Packers loss
- Injury Report: Young questionable for Redskins
- Mike Shanahan won't comment on RG3's coachability
- Game preview: Cowboys at Redskins
- Haslett makes case for 'elite' Orakpo