Despite blowing three double-digit leads in the fourth quarter, including one to the division-rival Giants, and despite twice being manhandled by the Philadelphia Eagles, the Cowboys actually had a fair chance to win the NFC East on New Year's Day.
How was that even possible? The team's two wins over Washington, their only victories within the division, would've loomed large in the standings at season's end. Of course, the Cowboys couldn't beat the Giants, and finished the year in third place in the East. They now have their work cut out to catch up to New York and Philly.
The Redskins are sort of an afterthought for the Cowboys in the scheme of things, but their ability to catch New York and Philadelphia really will have a lot to do with whether or not they stay ahead of Washington. The Cowboys' two wins over the Redskins came by only a combined five points, and late Dan Bailey field goals were needed in both games. The second time around, Washington's Graham Gano had to miss a long try in overtime to give the Cowboys a shot.
So the Redskins probably should not be so summarily dismissed. With free agency right around the corner, they're definitely a team to watch. Most important, of course, is the decision they have to make at quarterback. Washington surely will not go into another season with its fate resting on the arms of Rex Grossman and John Beck.
The alternatives would be Peyton Manning, who looks unlikely to return to the Colts, or a younger player such as Matt Flynn, who was impressive for Green Bay in Week 17.
Set to pick at No. 6 overall, the Redskins might also be compelled to trade up for Robert Griffin III of Baylor, or stay put and select Ryan Tannehill of Texas A&M, who is most widely considered the draft's third-best quarterback.
A question for Cowboys fans here. What is the most preferential option from your standpoint? That is to say, which choice would work out worst for the Cowboys' division rival?
Which option would you most fear? Is there a move the Redskins could make that would tip the NFC East in their favor in the long-term?