Editor's note: When I say, "nothing on the line" as I do in the title above, I am not referring to our lack of an offensive line, or our dearth of talent up and down the roster in the offensive line department. I am referring to the stakes...you get the idea.
You have heard me say it before: Beating Dallas is its own reward. Sweeping Dallas is also a big deal. Listen, can Dallas fans say they don't care about this game because they are focused on the playoffs this year? Of course they can.
To suggest beating the Redskins doesn't matter at all to Dallas fans would be a complete and total lie. They care about beating Washington. Just as we relished beating one of the NFC's best teams when we took them down in OT earlier this season, Dallas fans would relish kicking us while we are down. That is the nature of a rivalry.
I would be shocked if the Dallas starters played the whole way. Some might even get the day off, and as far as I'm concerned, it is probably the right way to handle your business. After all, it was Keenan Robinson's knee that almost killed any chances the Cowboys had this season.
I hate hearing people say this game means nothing. I don't believe for a second this game is meaningless. It's Christmas for God's sake. Presents come in all forms. Redskins fans deserve to see a win. Taking down a team with stars on their helmets means something.
How about this for meaning: Dallas is crushing us in the all-time series 64-43-2. I know for a fact that some of their wins came during seasons when the Redskins won the Super Bowl, yet each of their wins counts exactly the same when it comes to overall record. I would gladly take a Super Bowl trophy over a regular season win against Dallas, but the numbers are way too lopsided for my liking. A "meaningless" win this Sunday would mean that in 2014, the Redskins made up some ground in this rivalry. As far as I'm concerned, there won't be a meaningless game against the Dallas Cowboys at least until we get this record turned around. Unless we sweep Dallas for the next decade, that means this effort is going to take some time and patience.
You want meaning? How about another win under the belt for Jay Gruden and Robert Griffin III? You think coming out on top doesn't mean anything for this duo? You think having a productive Sunday against a solid roster--even if we are playing some second stringers--won't help the development process for both the coach AND the player? These guys need any positive they can possibly collect heading into this offseason. If there is any hope these two will push the beds together in 2015, it has to start with some kind of momentum stemming from this season. That means this Sunday.
Further, getting the win against Dallas--again, regardless of who takes the field for them--has added meaning for the entire city and fanbase. You think that is meaningless? What is going to launch us into a shitstorm of an offseason faster: a season-ending, feel-good win over Dallas or a loss to a Cowboys team playing backups?
Think about that for a second before you call this game meaningless. If we get stomped on by a bunch of second-string Dallas players and have to watch them celebrate in our stadium with their fans, don't you think that could accelerate the shitstorm here at least a little? If we are able to close out the season with a win, no matter how pointless the win is in terms of postseason qualification, don't you think we will give these guys at least a teeny bit of breathing room? (A VERY teeny bit...teeny tiny.)
Finally, and I can't stress this enough, beating Dallas is its own reward. There is something therapeutic about sending Dallas home with a loss. I can't help but think that whenever we beat them, we expose something about them that helps their next opponent. I don't expect them to show anything in a week 17 game against us, but their first playoff opponent will be watching nonetheless.
Call me old-fashioned. Call me crazy. Call me a big, fat dumb-dumb. Call me...wait, you guys already call me all of this and more. This game matters, pure and simple. I could give two shits where we draft. I could give two shits who is playing quarterback for Dallas or who is carrying the ball for them.
I care about beating Dallas. Every time we get the chance to do it, I care about beating Dallas. There is nothing meaningless when I go to FedEx on a day when the Redskins are set to take on the Cowboys. After all, this is the week when this shirt applies to just one game!