Next Sunday, the nation will be treated to a divisional championship game. The Redskins will host the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football, with the winner advancing to the offseason and the loser staying home for the playoffs.
Last season, the Cowboys were traveling to New York in week 17 to visit the Giants. The situation was nearly identical to this season's scenario. The winner would go to the playoffs, and the loser would be left out. The Cowboys came out of the gate flat, trailing 21-0 at the half, and the outcome of the game was never in doubt. The Giants won the game 31-14, and would go on to hoist the Lombardi Trophy once again.
To avoid a similar fate this time around, the Cowboys will have to show up ready to play. Jason Garrett's squad has been largely hit-or-miss in big games such as this weekend's matchup, and it's very possible we'll know within the first five minutes of the game whether the Cowboys were properly prepared.
The Redskins, who have won all six games since their bye, are one of the hottest teams in football. The Cowboys aren't exactly cold, winning three of their last four games. It's only appropriate that two hot teams would face each other with a trip to the postseason on the line in the season's final week.
There will be all kinds of story lines as this game develops. Robert Griffin III's development will be a talking point, as will Jason Garrett's future with the Cowboys should they come out on the short end of the game. Tony Romo's big game play will be scrutinized to a very high degree. With so many stories, it'll be one of the best games of the year.