The Washington Football Team is currently in first place in the NFC East and three games ahead of the Dallas Cowboys. Catching up to win the division and the playoffs is going to take a miracle for Dallas, but the first step may have just happened as QB Alex Smith has been ruled out of Sunday's game between Washington and Seattle with a leg injury.
Smith's absence will bring second-year QB Dwayne Haskins back into the starting lineup. Haskins was benched for Kyle Allen after going 1-3 to start the season.
The job eventually went to Smith after an injury to Allen and the veteran has helped stabilize Washington's offense. They've won their last four games and are the front-runners now in the NFC East.
Thankfully, Smith's is minor compared to what he endured from 2018-2019. But it will keep him out this week and perhaps longer, and that may be exactly what the Cowboys needed to get back into the playoff picture.
Dallas is still alive by the slimmest of margins. With only three weeks to go, they need to win every game the rest of the season and have Washington lose all of theirs to steal the NFC East and make the postseason.
The Football Team's remaining schedule isn't a cakewalk. They have the 9-4 Seahawks this week, then the 4-9 Panthers, and their finale is against the Eagles. If Haskins is playing QB instead of Smith, Washington has shown that they could lose any or all of those games.
Even with Alex Smith the Football Team might have been outmatched this Sunday by Seattle. And if Jalen Hurts continues his progress as the Eagles' new QB1, who knows what that game might look like?
Of course, the Cowboys going on a late-season winning streak may be the most fantastic notion in this discussion. But their remaining games against the 49ers, Eagles, and Giants are all reasonably winnable.
Many have already dismissed the idea of Dallas being in the 2020 playoffs and that's perfectly logical given the current evidence. But the possibility still exists and now, with Alex Smith missing at least this week's game for Washington, the odds just got a little better.