Once again the Cowboys control their own destiny as the end of the season gets closer and closer. Last week’s crushing loss to the Green Bay Packers has rendered Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins even more important. Dallas has to win against Washington and then Philadelphia to claim the division lead in the NFC East.
The Cowboys will face their third backup quarterback in a row in Kirk Cousins. Cousins was lights out last week against the Atlanta Falcons as he threw for 350+ yards in a losing effort.
This game is a classic example of two teams who can score a lot of points but have no defense. The Redskins are 21st in the league, allowing 251 passing yards a game and the Cowboys are dead last at 297. Dallas will have to stop Alfred Morris to have a chance to win this game. Morris has already hit the century mark this season with 1125 yards and is averaging 4.8 yards per carry. In their last matchup the Cowboys did an ok job containing Morris, limiting him to 81 yards on 16 carries. However in that game, Robert Griffin scampered for 77 yards as well. Now with Cousins at quarterback (who is more of a pocket passer), Dallas can expect to see heavy doses of Alfred Morris. The key is to limit his first and second down yardage to force him into passing situations on third down. Unlike last week’s game, the Cowboys pass rush needs to step up and at least make the quarterback uncomfortable in the pocket. If they have enough time, Pierre Garcon, Santana Moss will wreak havoc on a Dallas secondary that is the worst in the league.
The keys on offense for Dallas are to limit turnovers and RUN THE BALL. Last week DeMarco Murray ran for 134 yards on only 18 carries, averaging 7.4 yards per run. However head coach Jason Garrett was heavily criticized throughout the week for not giving the ball to Murray more often. You can expect Murray to receive 20-25 carries against a Washington team that gives up an average of 110 rushing yards per game. Tony Romo also has to bounce back from a bad fourth quarter that hurt their chances to win last week. Romo doesn’t need to be lights out for Dallas to win; he just needs to manage the game, and eliminate turnovers.
If the Cowboys can keep the ball away from Kirk Cousins and Alfred Morris, they should take care of the 3-11 Redskins.