LANDOVER, Md. (AP) -Joe Gibbs flashed a crooked smile when presented with the dilemma.
One team is running out of offensive linemen. The other has exhausted its supply of quarterbacks. If you, Mr. Hall of Fame coach, were a dispassionate third party, which would you rather have?
``I don't know. I just know it's probably going to make for a very interesting game,'' Gibbs said. ``I might be excited. I'd get my hot dog and say 'Now this is going to be fun. Who's going to have the most problems?'''
Welcome to the Misery Loves Company Bowl. Arizona Cardinals vs. Washington Redskins. Two teams that are even starting to sound alike.
Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt, on having quarterbacks Matt Leinart and Kurt Warner hurt in back-to-back games: ``It's obviously unusual.''
Washington coach Gibbs, on having three offensive linemen hurt in the same game: ``It's a very unusual situation.''
Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald: ``Nobody feels sorry for you in the NFL. The Washington Redskins are just licking their chops. Whenever you get a team that's banged up, you try to take advantage of it.''
Redskins offensive line coach Joe Bugel: ``Nobody's feeling sorry for us. Heck, everybody's laughing at us. You think the Cardinals are going 'Oh, that's terrible'? They're licking their chops; they're chopping their lips. They can't wait to get here.''
Maybe these two unusual teams should simply meet at the 50-yard line before kickoff Sunday and swap a backup quarterback for an offensive lineman.
Actually, the football world might want to pay attention to this game for reasons other than laughs. This is a bigtime showdown, one of the premier games in the NFC. Recordwise, only Tampa Bay at Detroit is a better matchup this weekend.
Yeah, really.
lthy enough to play, or whether Rattay or another new face, Tim Hasselbeck, would be the quarterback of choice.
The Redskins (3-2) have been swimming in Lake Mediocrity all season. In four of their five games, the home team has been essentially favored by a field goal, which means the world at large felt Washington was interchangeable with Miami, the New York Giants, Detroit and Green Bay. Gibbs was so short on numbers up front this week he had to convert defensive lineman Lorenzo Alexander into a guard.
Nevertheless, the Redskins are favored this time by a whole touchdown, and both teams approached the game aware of its playoff implications.
``You never know. At the end of the season it might come down to you guys having similar records,'' Arizona receiver Anquan Boldin said. ``And it might come down to a tiebreaker between the two teams. You always want to look at those games and take those games seriously.''
For both teams, that means taking a long, hard look at the offensive play book. The Redskins might have to use an extra tight end to block or roll quarterback Jason Campbell out of the pocket if the line can't hold up, and Whisenhunt has to develop a simplified version of the game plan for Rattay and Hasselbeck.
As Gibbs said, it should be very interesting.
``I never ceased to be amazed at what can happen,'' Gibbs said. ``I've never been in this situation before. It's something you've got to handle. You've got to do the best you can with it.''

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