The best way for a fan to consider Redskin-Cowboy matchups here Sunday is the way the teams have prepared for them all week. That is unit versus unit, whether five offensive linemen can beat seven defenders.
That is how teams hone their passing games. The center, both guards and tackles work against the defensive front four at one end of the practice field, while a misnomer called "seven on seven" takes place elsewhere.
In truth, seven on seven actually is six on seven, because somebody has to snap the ball both places and the center is counted twice. So the passing drill -- the quarterback, two backs and three receivers against three linebackers and four defensive backs -- is like a touch game on the playground.
And Sunday wars are won in platoon-versus-platoon combat. Which leads to two conclusions about this one in Texas Stadium: Air power will be the deciding factor and each team will score at least 24 points.
The redskin offensive line controlled the Dallas front four during the 34-20 victory a month ago in Washington, allowing Joe Theismann to complete 63 percent of 24 passes for 210 yards and three touchdowns.
Randy White missed nearly the entire game with an ankle injury but will play this time. But his presence might well be countered by a patchwork secondary now that both Cowboy strong safeties are sidelined.
After the Washington whipping, the Redskins accused the Cowboys of the ultimate sin -- predictability. Center Bob Kuziel said the line knew exactly when Dallas would blitz and from what angle.
Can Dallas be more deceptive Sunday? Or might White and John Dutton, now a regular at left end, put enough pressure on Theismann to cover for Benny Bernes at strong safety and rookie Aaron Mitchell at left cornerback.
But can the Washington defense, minus Ken Houston, keep Roger Staubach from the standout pressure performances for which he is rightly praised?
Houston's fumble-forcing blitz jon third and three at the Redskins' three on the next to last play of the first half was the pivotal play in Washington. oHad Dallas scored and narrowed the deficit to 14-10 instead of 14-3 the final 30 minutes would have been much more dramatic.
Staubach and backup Danny White were sacked a total of six times that first game. Half of the sacks were by linebackers and Houston. Look for more blitzes Sunday, especially when Staubach sets up in the shot gun formation that leaves him almost no protection behind the line.
Dallas gained nearly 80 more yards than Washington that game and ran 24 more plays. But Tony Dorsett gained only 43 yards in 14 carries. He is questionable Sunday.
Washington's defense has played well enough, if not well, of late. It kept two excelent wide receivers, Isaac Curtis of Cincinnati and James Lofton of Green Bay, in check the last two weeks.
Within these unit-versus-unit tests, the left side of the Washington offensive line, Terry Hermeling and Ron Saul, against White and Harvey Martin will be critical. Also if the Redskin front four can keep blockers from middle linebacker Neal Olkewicz Dallas should not run very far.
The Redskins have the stronger field-goal kicker, in Mark Moseley, but punter Mike Bragg has been surprisingly mediocre recently. The Dallas punter, Danny White, always is a treat to run or pass.
Coach Jack Pardee is not likely to be conservative beyond the first series or so. He realizes points today are nearly as important as winning -- and if you don't know why by now, please call a friend.