But in Thursday’s case, I’m not totally sure we know who the Redskins are week to week, and one could easily say the same about the Cowboys. Which makes their Thanksgiving Day clash in Texas all the more intriguing, and perhaps set to go down as one of the great chapters in the rivalry’s history.
Each team has shown strengths and weaknesses this season (Dallas’s offensive line and team leadership, Washington’s secondary and pass rush). Heading into the game, which team is more vulnerable?
The easy answer, with the Redskins coming off a blowout win and the Cowboys an overtime struggle against the Browns, is to say Dallas. They gave up seven sacks and generated just 242 offensive yards until a 17-point fourth quarter/overtime rally. The Redskins, as you know, beat Philadelphia 31-6, but Dallas had its way with the Nick Foles-led Eagles too, just one week before.
Dallas is putting most of its offensive attack in the hands of famously up and down quarterback Tony Romo. He’s thrown 13 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions, as the Cowboys have rushed for 83 yards per game, 30 below the league average and 82 behind the Redskins’ 165. Defensively though, the Cowboys are almost across the board better than the Redskins, significantly so in total yardage, on third downs, and in the red zone.
Dallas’s wins are against mostly bad teams: The Giants, Buccaneers, Panthers, Eagles and Browns. But they’ve also played the Ravens and Falcons close, and are on a two-game winning streak. Inside their circle, there are questions about the play-calling and the normal issues with injuries at this point in the season. Yet they’re 5-5 and trying to catch the 6-4 Giants, just like Washington.
They are vulnerable, at least to some degree. We know the Redskins are as well, but are pretty confident after last Sunday. It was their first really good game since Week 1, and the mood could be infectious, especially with a fast start in a spotlight game against their rivals. The matchups, however, might not really favor the Redskins, since Dallas’s weak offensive line faces Washington’s pass rush, while Romo, Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Jason Witten get a crack at the Redskins’ pass defense, which has often worked out well for Washington’s opponents. The Redskins could use another good game from its wide receivers and defense, and a heavy dose of the usually effective Alfred Morris.
Do you think Washington goes into Dallas and takes advantage of the vulnerability? As usual near game day, your detailed predictions and reasoning are welcome in the comments. Enjoy your Thanksgiving, and see you back here next week.
Bold Predictions for Redskins-Cowboys game – Post Sports Live