By the Numbers: Cowboys
By: Mark Solway 
Posted: 2005-12-20
Category: Washington Redskins News
On Sunday, the Redskins handed the Cowboys the biggest beating that the rivalry has ever seen. There were many numbers of significance - 112 tough running yards from Clinton Portis, a career best 4 touchdown passes from Mark Brunell, a career best 3 touchdown receptions for Chris Cooley, 35 points for the Redskins to the Cowboys 7. But all of the numbers from Sunday are summed up in this week's edition of 'By The Numbers' by one number - the number two.

A funny thing happened for Redskin fans this weekend - everything went right. Not just in the drubbing and subsequent sweep of their hated rivals, the Dallas Cowboys, but league or more specifically, conference-wide. Due to a combination of fortunate results, the Redskins found themselves in the sixth and final playoff spot in the NFC by the end of the weekend.

The Atlanta Falcons were ahead of the Redskins in the wildcard hunt going into the weekend, by virtue of having an 8-5 record to the Redskins 7-6 record. The Falcons suffered a tough loss to the surging Chicago Bears though, and slid to 8-6 obviously equalling the Redskins' 8-6 post-weekend record. By virtue of the tie-breaker between them, the Redskins have the edge due to an 8-2 conference record versus the Falcons' 5-5 conference record. A gap that cannot be bridged in the final two games.

The Minnesota Vikings had their 6-game winning streak snapped in their loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers and they also slid to 8-6 along side of the Redskins and Falcons. The Redskins also have the conference record edge over the Vikings who are 7-4.

The Cowboys are the only other 8-6 NFC team and obviously the Redskins now have the tie-breaker over Dallas. Was it mentioned that Washington swept them this year? Sunday's decisive result for Washington means that Dallas would now have to finish with a better record than the Redskins to win the wildcard.

The final outcome of these three results is that there is only one number that matters this week - the number two. The Washington Redskins have two games left to play and they hold the tie-breakers over all of the teams that they are tied with in that wildcard hunt. They are masters of their own destiny.

Two Redskin wins guarantees the first playoff appearance since 1999. Two.



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