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With the so-called “fiscal cliff” temporarily averted, Northern Virginians can finally focus on truly important matters such as the health of Robert Griffin III’s right knee and securing a ticket to next month’s Super Bowl in New Orleans.

Getting a little ahead of ourselves? Maybe, but that’s what happens when the Redskins rip off seven straight wins and clinch an NFC East title against the hated Dallas Cowboys on the final Sunday of the season.

For the first time in more than two decades, Washington enters January with a legitimate chance of stringing a couple playoff wins together and, if the stars align, winning a Super Bowl. Yes, the Redskins made an inspiring run late in the 2007 season, but that team was fueled more by emotion and adrenaline than talent and tenacity.

This edition seems different. There’s a proven coach with multiple Super Bowl rings whose players are clearly buying what he’s selling. There’s a rookie quarterback whose all-world talent is exceeded only by his all-world leadership. There’s a powerful young running back who may rewrite every Redskin rushing mark by the time he’s done. There’s also a roster full of guys who understand their roles and the importance of team chemistry. The Redskins have endured their share of injuries this year, but their “next man in” mentality has largely fueled the current winning streak.

To a region starved for some positive news (sports-related and otherwise), all of this comes at a great time. When the Redskins win, life around the D.C. region gets a lot better rolling out of bed on Monday mornings certainly gets easier and talk radio gets a little more interesting. Everyone, from co-workers to bank tellers, seems friendlier. Even water-cooler chatter picks up a notch or two.

Just as important, more burgundy-and-gold jerseys get sold, more pizzas get delivered and more seats at area restaurants and sports bars fill up.

Whether that Redskins playoff run lasts one week or one month, the sense here is that a critical corner has finally been turned and that the coming decade will be significantly brighter for Redskins fans than the last one was.

For those who call Northern Virginia home, that’s a major victory.