NEW YORK — Robert Griffin III was 8 years old when the Washington Redskins last won the NFC East title in 1999.
The Redskins’ rookie quarterback gets a chance to end the NFC East’s longest current title drought when Washington hosts the Dallas Cowboys in a showdown for the division crown today.
The Redskins have won six consecutive games under Griffin, following a 3-6 start. It’s the franchise’s longest winning streak since a seven-game run in the 1996 season.
“I told the guys, ‘Don’t play this up so big that you can’t seize it,’ ” the 22-year-old Griffin said at a news conference this week. “You have to approach it the same exact way you have for the last six weeks. Know it’s for all the marbles, but don’t go out and play scared. You have to play like you have nothing to lose and we’ve done that the last six weeks.”
If the Redskins lose, they would have an outside chance to make the playoffs as the NFC’s final wild-card representative, but would need the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings to both lose their regular-season finales. The Bears and Vikings are both 8-6 and in the hunt for a wild- card berth.
“We want to control our own destiny and it’s our job to do that,” said Griffin, who was voted to the Pro Bowl after passing for 3,100 yards and 20 touchdowns while rushing for a quarterback rookie-record 752 yards and six scores.
The only way for the Cowboys (8-6) to make the postseason is by beating the Redskins and winning the NFC East. A Dallas victory would also eliminate the New York Giants, the defending Super Bowl champions, from postseason contention.
The Giants have lost five of their past seven games and are rooting for more than a Redskins’ win. New York (8-6) needs to beat the Philadelphia Eagles at home and have the Cowboys, Bears and Vikings all lose to make the playoffs as a wild-card team.