- The Washington Times - Friday, September 26, 2008

You can throw Jessica Simpson’s record label out the window going into the Cowboys-Redskins showdown this Sunday.

That is the obligatory response whenever these fierce rivals try to establish the running game against each other.

The Cowboys are one of the leading picks to reach the Super Bowl this season, assuming quarterback Tony Romo ever gets around to winning the first playoff game of his career.

The Cowboys are 11-point favorites after looking dominant in their first three games. They have the NFL’s top-ranked offense, which is accumulating 440 yards and 32 points a game.

Simpson has not dispensed her vast football insight on the big game just yet, which is too bad.

Two weeks ago, Simpson said the Eagles would not measure up to the Cowboys, and she turned out to be the Nostradamus of the NFL.

She may not know a chicken from a tuna, especially if the tuna is labeled “Chicken of the Sea,” but she knows football.

Simpson confirms that blondes have more fun than Tom Cruise jumping on a couch.

She is an element of the Cowboys that baffles handicappers, uncertain whether she is a help or hindrance to Romo.

Many football experts say Simpson should attend the games in a burqa to avoid being a distraction to Romo and the Cowboys.

Football players have a pathological hatred of distractions because of their capacity to hurt the attention span.

That NFL truism is dismissed if the distraction is Terrell Owens, the high-profile wide receiver who is taking a liking to being a high-profile decoy.

This is the Redskins‘ last trip to Texas Stadium, the home of the Cowboys since 1971 and the place where Harvey Martin dumped a funeral wreath into the Redskins locker room after Roger Staubach orchestrated an improbable comeback victory in the final game of the 1979 season.

It also is where Clint Longley happened on Thanksgiving Day in 1974.

The Cowboys will play next season in what amateur architect Jerry Jones has ordered to be the “modern-day Colosseum of Rome.” It will feature the world’s largest video displays, which goes with the state. Texas is not called the big-haired state for nothing.

The Redskins are hoping not to become the dregs of the NFC East, the NFL’s cruelest division. A loss to the Cowboys would stoke the last-place prospects of the Redskins, competent enough but bedeviled by the Cowboys, Giants and Eagles.

Or so it appears.

The Cowboys, Giants and Eagles are arguably the three best teams in the NFL after three weeks of the season, which leaves the Redskins chasing a prayer.

These Redskins would be wise to check the history of the rivalry. These two antagonists often knock the prevailing wisdom on its rear end.

The Cowboys won only one game in 1989 - a 13-3 victory over the Redskins at RFK Stadium. The Redskins won only three games in 1993, notably a 35-16 victory over the Cowboys to open the season.

Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell is looking more comfortable in Jim Zorn’s West Coast offense, just as running back Clinton Portis is looking more wistfully at the offensive lines and playbooks of other teams.

That is no way to win and influence his blockers. Or inspire radio host Brian Mitchell, prepared to serve Portis a knuckle sandwich if necessary.

The Redskins will have a firm idea of their relevance after they play the Cowboys and Eagles on the road the next two games. If they drop both games, the Redskins will be 0-3 in the division and confronted with an unenviable assignment.

Even if they forge a split - no easy task - the Redskins will find it necessary to feast on nondivision opponents.

They have done that so far in dispatching the Saints and Cardinals.

Otherwise, it is not a good season to be merely competent in the unforgiving NFC East.

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