It has come down to one game: Washington Redskins versus the Dallas Cowboys, with the winner claiming the division.
Washington (9-6) is fresh off a six-game winning streak and enters the Sunday night game against Dallas with a playoff berth and the NFC East crown on the line. Dallas (8-7) has won five of their last seven games and has seen the emergence of wide receiver Dez Bryant, who has scored 10 touchdowns in the second half of the season.
The Cowboys enter the season finale with a lot of talent, but the Redskins counter with Robert Griffin III, arguably the most talented rookie quarterback to ever lace up a pair of cleats. Who'll win? AFRO Sports Desk writers Perry Green and Stephen D. Riley debate question.
Riley: Start with RGIII, sprinkle in a little Alfred Morris and an electric FedEx Field, and there’s no question who'll win this game. The Redskins haven't been to the playoffs in years, while the Cowboys continue to underachieve. It's time for a better class of NFC East team and the Redskins are just that.
Green: While RGIII has been exciting, the Cowboys have been impressive too—maybe not six-game winning streak impressive, but talented-and-getting-better impressive. Dallas can hit you in several ways and the fact that quarterback Tony Romo is regularly finding Bryant is spelling success for the 'Boys. I'll take Dallas in a close win. These two division rivals always seem to split the series, so I don’t see this season being any different.
Riley: This season is very different, mainly because of the presence of RGIII. The league has never seen a player like him, and Dallas will be the first to tell you that, after what he did to them earlier in the season. But what I really can't understand is how a team that's won six straight is so easily overlooked. Dallas should be a big-time underdog entering the season finale, even though they'll still enter the game with more talent. I simply cannot see RGIII letting his teammates down at FedEx Field. He’s back, he’s healthy and he’s ready.
Green: RGIII may be ready, but the fact remains that he just took a nasty knee injury and is trying to hold it together for a playoff run. Sure, he’s an excellent passer, but what makes him special is his elusive running ability. With RGIII limited in the run-option game, he’ll become an ordinary pocket passer and Dallas has plenty of experience defending those type of quarterbacks. Look for Dallas’ All-Pro pass rusher DeMarcus Ware to get after the limited Griffin and make just enough plays to steal the win and division title out of the ‘Skins’ hands.
Riley: Even an injured RGIII is worth a win, evidenced by last weekend's victory over Cleveland. Washington has had its share of bad luck, but RGIII is from a different mold. He’s truly the franchise savior and nothing will stop him from taking his team to the postseason for the first time since 2007. Just wait and see.
Green: No disrespect to the Browns, but they shouldn’t be mentioned with the likes of the Cowboys. Not only is Dallas a far more talented team, but they’re also the ‘Skins’ top rival, meaning they’re more familiar with Washington than any other team in the league. There’s a reason these two teams often split the series: they know each other so well and always give each other a tough fight. Washington escaped with the first battle this season, but this time it will be Dallas’ turn to stand victorious, restoring balance to the greatest rivalry in the history of the NFL.