The Washington Football Team continued to close on the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East by slipping by the Seattle Seahawks 17-15 Monday night at FedEx Field.
And the two divisional rivals are, at the moment, heading in opposite directions.
Washington survived a late Seattle rally to improve to 5-6 after its third victory in row, all coming since the bye. Ron Rivera-coached teams have traditionally played better after an off week, including last season’s run to the NFC East title.
Said Rivera of the win: "It meant a lot just because of the way these guys fight, just how resilient they are."
It meant a lot in the standings, too - because while the WFT has won three straight, the Cowboys have lost three of their last four.
WFT is currently tied with Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints, but Washington currently holds tiebreaker for the last NFC wild card spot based on its 5-2 conference record. The NFC East rival Philadelphia Eagles and Carolina Panthers are 5-7.
The Cowboys (7-4) continue to lead the NFC East despite three losses in their last four games. Dallas’ slide is tempered by the other three East teams sporting losing records, but the division race is hardly over.
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Just two weeks ago, Dallas held a four-game lead on Washington. That edge has been cut in half.
"It's very urgent,'' Dallas QB Dak Prescott said of the need to start winning. This is a team that's hungry and that's pissed off simply about the way that we've executed and the way we've played. It's about us looking in the mirror and checking us first and foremost, and that's what we've done.
Washington still has much that it can control within the division. After facing the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday, WFT finishes the regular season with five consecutive games against NFC East foes.
That’s an excellent chance to make up ground in Washington’s quest to defend the division crown and return to the postseason.
Included in the closing stretch is two matchups with Dallas. Washington plays host to the Cowboys on Dec. 12 and travels to AT&T Stadium on Dec. 26.
There are also two games against the Eagles – on the road Dec. 19 and home Jan. 2. WFT’s regular season ends at the Giants on Jan. 9.
Of course, Dallas remains in the driver's seat. But the Cowboys can surely sense the WFT gaining on them in that rear-view mirror.