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Five questions faced by the Redskins this week

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Photo - Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
Linebacker and special teams specialist Lorenzo Alexander is among the Redskins who have a chance at making the Pro Bowl.
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images Linebacker and special teams specialist Lorenzo Alexander is among the Redskins who have a chance at making the Pro Bowl.
Sports,NFL,Redskins,John Keim

1 Will Robert Griffin III be himself Sunday? Griffin was slowed by the brace on his right knee, and he did not have the same explosiveness vs. the Eagles that he had in other games. Dallas' defense is a mess because of injuries, but the lack of a Griffin running threat will make the Cowboys' task easier. If Griffin can run as he has in the past, it will open up the offense even more and do what it did in the first game: fool the Cowboys' eyes much of the game. The Cowboys were undisciplined when healthier; how will they be when they're banged up?

2 Can the Redskins still make the playoffs if they lose? Yes. If Chicago and Minnesota both lose, then the Redskins will clinch a playoff berth regardless of what happens vs. Dallas later that night. But this is a tough scenario as the Bears play at 4-11 Detroit. The Vikings play Green Bay. While the Packers have clinched the NFC North, they still can earn the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye with a win. The Packers won the first meeting 23-14.

3 Can the defense slow the Dallas offense? While the Redskins' defense has done a good job of late, keep in mind that three of those games occurred vs. inconsistent rookie quarterbacks in Philadelphia's Nick Foles (twice) and Cleveland's Brandon Weeden. Dallas' Tony Romo is having a good season and picked apart Washington in the second half on Thanksgiving. In the past four games, opposing quarterbacks have missed open targets for touchdowns. The Redskins must be better in coverage. Their depth at cornerback is being tested quite a bit.

4 Is this the Redskins' biggest game at FedEx Field? Well, there isn't much competition for this distinction, which tells you all you need to know about their home for 16 seasons. But there's more excitement over this team than there has been in a long time. When you combine that with the winning streak with the playoff atmosphere that will follow, then this should be the most energized home game since the Redskins left RFK Stadium.

5 Who should make the Pro Bowl? Results will be announced Wednesday night, and the Redskins could benefit from their hot play. Left tackle Trent Williams, playing hurt, has been solid. Lorenzo Alexander (special teams) and center Will Montgomery have a chance, too. Defensive linemen Barry Cofield and Stephen Bowen have played well. Running back Alfred Morris is deserving; Griffin could sneak in, too. Both have worthy competition, but playing on a good team could help.

jkeim@washingtonexaminer.com

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