When Robert Griffin III took off on a run in the first quarter vs. the Eagles last week, it was clear he wasn't 100 percent. Only two weeks after suffering a sprained knee, the Redskins quarterback didn't have his usual burst of quickness and gimpily galloped to the sidelines when it was clear he didn't have his normal speed.
On the day, Griffin only rushed the ball twice for four yards, and though Washington squeezed past Philadelphia, the Redskins would welcome a healthier version of Griffin when they face the Cowboys on Sunday night for the NFC East title.
That's what offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan expects.
"We held him back some [last week]," Shanahan said. "But it was more the game plan, from a schematic standpoint. We ran him here and there, not as much … but he got a couple opportunities. I think he gets healthier each week. It's only natural to get better. We'll see what happens this week."
On every radio show that I've done this week, much of the conversation has tilted toward the Cowboys-Redskins game. Most people expect Washington to win. That includes six of the nine CBSSports.com experts. It makes sense. The Redskins are at home, and they've played better toward the end of the season. The Cowboys, meanwhile, traditionally are terrible in Week 17 games, and quarterback Tony Romo -- fair or not -- still hasn't shed his non-clutch quarterback reputation.
But for some reason, I think Dallas wins. And I think that because I'm not convinced the Redskins can run their full offense with Griffin if he's not 100 percent -- and I'm guessing (only guessing, mind you) that he's still not 100 percent.
"He looked good in practice today," coach Mike Shanahan said Friday, via The Washington Post. "There has been no setback. I think he gets better and better and more comfortable using that brace. Like I said last week, some of the quarterback keeps and some of the scrambles, you could see that it was impressive last week for him to make some of those moves outside the pocket. But it has improved another week and there should be no setback for him."
As the Post points out, the typical recovery period for Griffin's injury is 1-4 weeks. Sunday will mark three weeks. So, it's likely Griffin's knee will feel better vs. the Cowboys than it did against the Eagles. But will Griffin be the same Rookie of the Year candidate that he has been all year, the same guy who can lead a multi-dimensional offense that has made the Redskins so difficult to defend? The game's result might lie in the answers to those questions.
For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, and subscribe to our Pick-6 Podcast and NFL newsletter. You can follow Josh Katzowitz on Twitter here: @joshkatzowitz.