1. Even when I first saw this game tonight on our schedule, my first thought was, "That's Pearl Harbor Day." I never want to miss an opportunity to thank all those who serve this great nation, and I never want to forget what is truly important to us all.
2. It will be an abbreviated Sixpack today, as I will be heading out to FedEx to get things ready for the biggest tailgate of the season. As you all know, I love night tailgates. We light ours up with Christmas lights and we always pick one of the nighttime tailgates to host our annual Beirut tournament, also known as The Mike Wiggins Invitational. We named it after a gentleman who used to run the FedEx lots and would--from time to time--drive by our tailgate to ensure we weren't taking up too much space. You always have to feel for the guy whose job it is to...uhhh...interact with people who are mostly just concerned with their next drink. Unfortunately for me, my wife, my kids, my friends, my neighbors, my boss and my nation, there is nothing I am better at than Beirut. To all of those bringing your game to F31 tonight, get used to the idea of playing for second place.
3. Wow...tailgate trash talk at 9 AM. It's going to be that kind of day! I better balance it out with some strong positive energy. Blaine--you know who you are--best of luck to you and your wife today as you welcome a new member to your family. It is a huge responsibility being born on the day the Redskins take full control of the NFC East. Acceptable names for such a momentous occasion:
Kenneth Sean-Taylor (insert your last name, and don't forget the hyphen, because otherwise this name is just ridiculous)
Gibby (your last name...I really should have asked what your last name was)
Dexter (let's just say your last name is Rowling)
Jacoby Kenneth Rowling (and you can call the kid J.K. for a unique....ahh, crap)
4. When asked why I thought the Redskins would or could win tonight, my answer has remained rather steadfast. First, we feast on home-cooking. FEAST!!! Second, Kirk Cousins has been sneakily getting better and better each week, even showing signs of improvement in our losses. At FedEx, he plays like the second coming of Sammy Baugh. Third, it's the Dallas freaking Cowboys on Monday Night Football for control of the NFC East. If you think for one second the influence of McLovin has no bearing on this affair, you are dead wrong. The kind of team McLovin is building does not crap the bed in moments like this. I expect the mistakes to be minimized--ESPECIALLY out of the gate. When a team like Dallas rolls in with a backup quarterback and a couple of noteworthy hotheads, you simply can't allow them to get comfortable. As good as I feel about the game, the fact remains that the winner of this one is far from predetermined. As crazy as it sounds, Dallas is still in the hunt for a division title. Our job is to make sure they leave town knowing who is in charge of this division.
5. I am calling this game the "Arrival Game" for Kirk Cousins. I have not done that once this season, though my affinity for the #8 car is well-documented. With the national spotlight shining brightly on him, I expect Kirk Cousins to demonstrate leadership, accuracy and poise. The stats will flow from those things. I have watched Captain Kirk evolve into a guy who, at the very least, is not intimidated by the moment. That is a big deal, and a big step for a player to take who wants to be the starting quarterback for an NFL team. He looks comfortable in the scheme, which is a feather in the cap of Jay Gruden (who looks like he might be here for a while). Most of all, Kirk Cousins is really displaying what he displayed when he first walked on to the practice field at Michigan State (and probably prior): leadership. The other players in the locker room are responding to the kind of leader that Kirk is--and let's not make this about who is or isn't a better leader. (The biggest joy this season is the absence of any necessity to make such comparisons. Robert Griffin III can still play in this league and will get a chance to prove it next year.) Cousins has always been the kind of player that other players have followed. He is just that kind of guy, and you can't teach or coach that into existence. It says here that in tonight's game, you will see a leader on the field wearing #8 for the Redskins, and I think you will see the entire team rally around him for the biggest victory of the season.
6. I better save some for the tailgate, but I wanted to share with you my recent travels to Foxboro. My company has an office in Boston, and the annual holiday party was held at Gillette Stadium on Friday night. As I looked out onto the field from the club level party, I told every Pats fan I came across, "It's like we're the same, you and I...you know, because we're both in first place. I feel like I am looking in the mirror...from a fan's perspective."
They didn't appreciate that too much.