On paper the game on Sunday looks like an easy win for the Cowboys. The Cowboys tend to dominate bad teams. Washington comes to town with a 3-6 record and a head coach who is nothing more than a glorified cheerleader. But they did pull off an impressive upset of the Denver Broncos last weekend so they are a little better than it seemed a few weeks ago. Still, without any rivalry implications this would seem to be an easy game.
Unfortunately, history tells us otherwise when it comes to division games and especially division games against the Redskins. The best example to me is the 1989 season. Dallas was only 1-15 but the one game they managed to win was against the Washington Redskins who were 10-6 that season. That game essentially cost the Redskins a trip to the playoffs.
Looking back at the history between the two teams there are examples where both teams have pulled off unexpected upsets or won in dramatic fashion. The past tells us that something crazy is bound to happen in one or both of the games between the two teams this year.
One of my favorite games of all time was the season opening comeback victory for the Cowboys in 1999. The Cowboys overcame a 21 point 4th quarter deficit to win on a 76 yard pass from Troy Aikman to Rocket Ismail in overtime. The Cowboys actually swept the season series that year but it took an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime type of comeback to win that first game. Check out the video if you need a reminder of the game.
On the other side of things, in 2005 the Cowboys dominated the Redskins for nearly the entire game and had a 13-0 lead late in the game. Santana Moss burned the Cowboys for two long touchdowns to steal the game from the Cowboys in the last few minutes of the game. It was a heart breaker and it still hurts to think about even now.
You can go back and look at the games in every season and you'll find that there is usually some sort of wacky outcome in one of the two games during the season. Do yourself a favor and check out the Wikipedia page on the Cowboys-Redskins rivalry. There are a lot of good memories and a lot of painful ones too.
The point here is that we can't assume that just because the Cowboys are 6-3 and clearly the better team on paper that Sunday is going to be a cakewalk. Sure, the Cowboys might just go out and dominate the Redskins. But there is a good chance that something crazy will happen during the game. As long as the Cowboys come out on top I'll take any win they can get.