Redskins' frustration will linger

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When Washington traded a plethora of picks to St. Louis for the second overall pick in 2012 and the right to draft Robert Griffin III, the Redskins never imagined the last draft choice they would have to surrender to the Rams might turn out to be the same second overall pick they once acquired.

But here's an equally tough part: It also could be worse. The last pick Washington owes St. Louis could turn out to be the No. 1 overall pick, which would give the Redskins one other distinction in a season Washington wants to forget.

If Houston wins one game and Washington does not, the Redskins would become the first team in in 35 years to trade a first-round pick that later turns out to be the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft.

The last time it happened was 1978, when the 49ers traded second- and third-round picks in the 1978 draft, first- and fourth-round picks in the 1979 draft and a second-round pick in the 1980 draft to the Buffalo Bills for running back O.J. Simpson. The 1978 49ers then finished 2-14 and earned the No. 1 overall pick of the 1979 draft. The Bills used that pick on Ohio State linebacker Tom Cousineau.

It also happened in 1973, when the Houston Oilers traded first- and third-round picks in the 1974 draft to the Dallas Cowboys for Tody Smith and Billy Parks. The 1973 Oilers finished 1-13 and earned the No. 1 overall pick of the 1974 draft, which the Cowboys used on Tennessee State defensive end Ed "Too Tall" Jones.

Should 2-12 Houston win one of its final two games, at home against Denver or at Tennessee, where the Titans have lost five straight home games, and should 3-11 Washington lose its last two games, at home against the Cowboys and at the Giants, then St. Louis would get the No. 1 overall pick.

Based on strength of schedule -- theirs being the weakest -- the Redskins hold the tiebreaker advantage over the Texans and every team but the 4-10 Raiders and 4-10 Jaguars. So the Rams win again. The Rams could finish with the first overall pick, or the second overall pick, and almost assuredly no worse than the fourth overall pick.

However it plays out, it's going to be devastating and deflating for Washington to spend the coming months mulling what it would have done with the high pick St. Louis will have.

The Redskins have RG III; the Rams could have the top overall pick. And the book is just about to be closed on a potentially historic trade that will continue to be analyzed for seasons to come.

Mired in mediocrity: There probably have been other seasons in which the stakes have been as great, but it feels like the pressure on the Cowboys never has been greater than it is now.

Coming off a colossal collapse in Week 15, the 7-7 Cowboys now are trying to overcome their last two losses to win the division. But if they don't, they have a chance to bring it full circle.

Two years ago the Cowboys lost the NFC East title on the final Sunday of the season to the New York Giants. Last year they lost the NFC East title on the final Sunday of the season to the Redskins. This year they have a chance to lose the NFC East title on the final Sunday of the season to the Philadelphia Eagles, making it a clean divisional sweep.

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