The Dallas Cowboys need to win on Sunday. Thanks to the Arizona Cardinals, the Cowboys control their own destiny and clinch the NFC East and #2 seed in the NFC playoff picture if they walk out of FedEx Field with a win on Sunday afternoon (the game is taking place in the late window by the way).
Dallas opened up as big-time favorites for the game (13.5-point favorites to be precise) which suggests that they should win with relative ease. Outside of the panic and fear that normally accompanies big moments in sports, and the occasional scar from our team dropping games like this in the past, it seems likely the Cowboys will take care of business.
Getting as blunt as possible about this, the Commanders organization has absolutely zero incentive to want to win this game. As a franchise they are clearly in a place of transition, change, and adjustment. They figure to be moving on from Ron Rivera by this time next week. One would think that they would want to have the best premium resources as possible in order to attract the right head coach and you know, use those resources to help their team.
One big resource is the #2 pick, but the New England Patriots and the Arizona Cardinals also hold the same 4-12 record as the Commanders. A win by the Commanders could drop them in the draft order.
Obviously this is a division rivalry and it stands to reason that Washington may want to stick it to the Cowboys and ruin Dallas’ chances of improving their playoff position. But at what cost? Helping the Philadelphia Eagles? Another division rival? There is always pride on the line, but it is not like hurting the Cowboys specifically takes care of damaging all rivalries is the point.
Washington picked as high as number two overall just four years ago (Happy New Year!) and took Chase Young over quarterbacks like Justin Herbert and Tua Tagovailoa. While Young was a promising prospect it is hard to imagine Washington may not want a do-over if given the opportunity, especially considering that they traded away Young before the deadline this season.
The overall point here is that everyone’s interests line up in the same way on Sunday. A Cowboys win is the best possible result for the Cowboys, and a Commanders loss is the best possible result from the Commanders.
Hands in the center and let’s all get what we want. Ready, break.