Fighting to remain in the mix within the NFC East, the Redskins (4-6) look for their second straight victory both on the season and in the division. With a win today and a Giants loss Sunday night to Green Bay, Washington would then host New York on Dec. 3 with a share of first place on the line.
The Cowboys, meanwhile, own a 5-5 record, and with a win today combined with a Giants loss Sunday, they would hold a first-place tiebreaker in the division.
Here are five other story lines to follow in this game:
1.) RGIII’s homecoming – Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III plays his first NFL game in his home state, and looks to shine yet again on the big stage. He’ll have family and friends — plus fans from his high school and Baylor days — in attendance and watching from their homes. Griffin doesn’t shy away from the big moment, and he wants nothing more than to lead his team to victory. Can he get enough help from his receivers and defense to get the job done?
2.) Cowboys’ tradition – Dallas enters this game favored by only three points, but they routinely do well on Thanksgiving, holding a 28-14-1 record in games played on this day. The Cowboys are 6-0 against the Redskins on Thanksgiving. Can the Redskins, who have won on this day only once (beating Detroit in 1973), reverse the trend?
3.) Injuries – Both teams could have their efforts significantly hampered as a number of players at key positions are listed as questionable for this game. Because of the short turnaround and minimal recovery time, the Redskins are unsure if inside linebacker London Fletcher and top wideout Pierre Garcon will be able to play. Left tackle Trent Williams, cornerback Josh Wilson and tight end Logan Paulsen are probable, but are also nursing injuries and might not be as effective as they could be. Meanwhile, the Cowboys could be without their top two rushers, DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones, who are both questionable with injuries. Left tackle Tyron Smith, nose tackle Jay Ratliff, and safeties Danny McCray and Charlie Peprah are all questionable for this game.
4.) Williams vs. Ware – Griffin’s success hinges largely on the Redskins’ ability to keep him upright. Williams draws the tall task of keeping Dallas linebacker DeMarcus Ware at bay. Ware enters this game with 10 sacks and many more pressures. He’ll have his ears pinned back and his eyes trained on Griffin. Williams is playing at a Pro Bowl level this season and always gets up for his matchups with Ware, whom he calls the most dominant pass-rusher in the league. Can Williams shake off shoulder and ankle injuries and deliver for RGIII and the Redskins?
5.) Redskins’ DBs vs. Dallas’ WRs – DeAngelo Hall and Josh Wilson will have their hands full as they try to match up with Dallas wide receivers Dez Bryant and Miles Austin, who each have more than 700 receiving yards and four touchdown catches on the year. Both receivers are averaging better than 70 receiving yards a game. If they can’t get help from the guys up front in pressuring Tony Romo and forcing him into mistakes, it could be a long day for Washington’s defensive backs.