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Redskins Face High(er) Stakes vs. Cowboys


The Redskins and Dallas Cowboys are approaching Sunday's game at FedExField with one goal, but two different purposes.

Both clubs want to win, of course. The difference is, at what cost?

For the 8-7 Redskins, the game means everything. With a win, they secure a Wild Card playoff berth for the second time in three years. With a loss, they no longer control their playoff fate.

For the 13-2 Cowboys, champions of the NFC East this year, a win would continue their season-long momentum, not to mention set a franchise record for most victories in a regular season.

But the Cowboys have already earned home field advantage through the NFC playoffs. Their purpose is to stay healthy.

There is some speculation that the Cowboys will not even play their starters in the game. Perhaps quarterback Tony Romo will play the first quarter, but backup Brad Johnson could get the bulk of action against his former team.

Wide receiver Terrell Owens, who caught four touchdowns against the Redskins in a Week 11 matchup, has a high ankle sprain and is not expected to play. Center Andre Gurode has a knee injury and could sit out the game as well.

On Wednesday, Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips called Owens and Gurode "doubtful" for the game.

Phillips was asked what scenario would dictate how long starters play.

"I think there are a lot of circumstances, certainly," he said. "One of them, obviously, is what our position is now. We have to take all of those things into consideration. The situation may be that all of our starters aren't playing, but we believe in the guys we have."

Phillips added: "We're playing to win. We're not playing to finish the season or just get out of a game. We feel like the people that we're going to be playing in the game are going to be playing to win."

Gibbs expects the Cowboys' best.

He points to their road record, which is an NFC-best 7-0.

"I would have to say they will come at this as hard as they can, trying to keep momentum," Gibbs said. "That is what we have to figure. Certainly, with everything we have on the line, this is hugely important for us. This is 15 weeks of work on the line."

Redskins players don't care who lines up across from them.

All they want is a win.

"It doesn't really matter to us who they play," Marcus Washington said. "We have to play our best game."

Added Phillip Daniels, on whether Romo plays on Sunday: "It don't care who is at quarterback. I just want to go out and play as best as I know how. Whether it's Brad Johnson or Tony Romo, who cares? It's the Cowboys. I know that star is going to be on that helmet.

"We'll just go out there and play ball, and hopefully we'll come out with a victory."

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