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For Redskins, Standings Irrelevant When It's Dallas Week


When the Redskins and Dallas Cowboys renew their storied rivalry this Sunday, throw the records out.


The Redskins head into Week 15 at 5-8 and the Cowboys are 4-9. Sunday's game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Tex., has little significance beyond the rivalry.

That may be good enough for players – and for fans.

It has often been said in Washington that if the Redskins beat the Cowboys, the season is a success no matter what.

That viewpoint will be put to the test this week.

"Sweeping Dallas gives us bragging rights for the year. I'll take it," tweeted a fan to @RedskinsDotCom on Wednesday.

Linebacker Brian Orakpo has been with the Redskins for just two seasons, but he has quickly grasped the importance of the Redskins-Cowboys rivalry.

"For myself and the majority of these guys, regardless of the records, Dallas and Washington can't get any bigger," Orakpo said. "It's all about pride, it's all about prestige, it's all about tradition.

"We don't want to go out there and lay an egg. We want to go out there and have an intensified game, and I know both teams are going to be pumped."

The Redskins defeated the Cowboys 13-7 in Week 1, and cornerback DeAngelo Hall's 32-yard fumble return for a touchdown at the end of the first half provided the game-winning points.

This week, Hall said it won't be hard to get up for the Cowboys again.

"It's Dallas, throw the records out the window," He said. "We're going to fight, we're going to scrap and go out there and have fun."

The Redskins are 2-2 in the NFC East while the Cowboys are 1-3.

Even though both teams are playing out the string, third place in the division is at stake.

The Redskins have finished in last place each of the last two seasons, so a third-place finish would represent a little progress, even if it's not very significant.

"We're going to be thinking about that," offensive lineman Kory Lichtensteiger said. "The Cowboys are a team that has won three of their last five and we've lost four of our last five. We're looking to build some momentum to end the year.

"Having a bad season is one thing, but ending the season badly is something you want to avoid. If we can get a few wins in a row here at the end of the season, I think we'll all feel better about the season."

While defeating the Cowboys would certainly be a feather in the Redskins' helmet, Orakpo acknowledged that – like the coaches – he is eager to see how his teammates respond to adversity.

"I'm going to be more pumped than ever because I feel like this determines what kind of players we have on this team," he said. "Who's going to fight when our backs are against the wall with nothing to play for?"

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