It may not mean as much as it once did, but someone has to win the NFC East. With the New York Giants failing to pull away from their rivals and a tough game on tap for them Sunday against Green Bay, that could leave the winner of the Thanksgiving Day contest between the Redskins and Cowboys in a decent position to make a December run at a division title.
Not that either team appears capable of taking advantage. Washington just beat a Philadelphia Eagles team that has thrown in the towel on 2012. Dallas needed overtime just to beat the lowly Cleveland Browns at home. The Redskins are 4-6 and in 11th place in the NFC, so the playoffs remain a long shot at best. The Cowboys, meanwhile, are 5-5, and they still must jump four teams to grab the final conference playoff spot. It's hard to see that happening if they can't beat Washington at home on short rest for both teams.
"Again, not being able to do the ordinary things," NBC football analyst Tony Dungy said of Dallas' ugly win over Cleveland that included a late substitution snafu with only nine men on the field during a Browns score. "They're going to try and protect a four-point lead, 1:10 to go, and they can't count to 11. They created this problem themselves just not being able to line up."
There has been too much of that this season from Dallas, which is also the second-most penalized team in the NFL behind only the Redskins. That lack of discipline has coach Jason Garrett's job on the line if he can't get his team into the postseason. Even that may not be enough for demanding owner Jerry Jones.
- Brian McNally