In the final two weeks of the season, the Washington Redskins do have some control on the outcome of the NFC East division.
On Saturday, the Redskins will do battle with the Philadelphia Eagles, who currently sit second in the division standings. In their final game, Washington will welcome its rival Dallas Cowboys to FedExField, who are currently sitting atop the division.
Currently sitting at 3-11 with their playoff hopes dashed, Redskins left tackle Trent Williams said that if motivation is needed, then the opportunity to ruin a rival's season should do it.
"I'm pretty sure a lot of people can use it as gas in the tank," he said. "At this point, it's pretty much all we have is to ruin everybody else's hope."
After the Cowboys defeated the Eagles on Sunday Night Football in Week 15, Dallas took over the top spot in the division. Like the Redskins, the Eagles will now play two division games to end the season, and if they want to continue on with their season, they'll need to win out.
As the Redskins prepare for their last two games, outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan says that these two rematches provide plenty of motivation.
"You see these teams twice a year," he said. "Our fans don't like the other teams in the east and we don't, either. This is a chance to take something positive for us and making it a negative for them."
If the Redskins beat the Eagles on Saturday, Philadelphia's postseason hopes will be dashed and the Cowboys will head to the postseason as the division champions. Should the Cowboys also lose to the Indianapolis Colts this Sunday, it makes for an intriguing scenario for the final week of the season.
The Cowboys and the Eagles would enter the final Sunday of the season No. 1-2 in the division respectively. and both would be playing division games. If the Redskins defeat the Cowboys and the Eagles defeat the Giants, Philadelphia would be heading to the postseason and the Cowboys would be heading home.
While winning would wreak havoc on their opponents' seasons, Robert Griffin III – named the Redskins' starting quarterback this week – also sees a chance to end his team's season on a positive note.
"We have to create some positive momentum going into the offseason and this is one of those games," he said. "They have a lot riding on the line in this game so we know they're going to come ready and we have to make sure we match that intensity and be physical."
Along with ruining seasons, DeSean Jackson views these last couple games as an opportunity to come together as a team and finish the season on a positive note.
"You just got to go out there and play together as a team," he said. "No playoffs, so we can't be playing for that, but just going out there and trying to put good film out there and hopefully I can carry that into next year."
With two games left, it's an opportunity for first year head coach Jay Gruden to evaluate talent heading into the offseason. Since many newer and younger faces have arrived as of late, Gruden is anxious to see how they fare against intense competition.
"To see some of these young guys compete on a Saturday afternoon against a division possible champion or a playoff team is going to be a great test for a lot of them," he said. "Hopefully they step up."
Regardless of record, Gruden said the Redskins are ready for the challenge that awaits them over the final two weeks of the NFL season.
"It's a great opportunity for us to come out and play against a team that's fighting for their playoff lives and for a division title and see what we're made of, see how we can come out here and compete," he said.