Week 12: Thanksgiving Day Game: Redskins @ Cowboys
I’m pleased I don’t need to eat my hat (or buy one) as the Redskins came up with the goods last week in a 31-6 win over the Eagles. Washington are in Texas today to play the Dallas Cowboys, in what could be a key fixture for the division. No team is exactly dominating the NFC East, with the leaders, the New York Giants, having a record of 6-4. This is the lowest total of any division leader. Both the Cowboys or the Redskins would take a significant boost from a win today.
As has become ‘the norm’ for both these teams the key to their game plans will be the defence playing well and the quarterback performing. Neither team’s offensive line has exactly been stellar so far this year, with Dallas just getting the win over Cleveland late in their last game.
Tony Romo though, presents an entirely different prospect than last week’s opposing QB, Nick Foles. Romo has the ability to be top class, it is only consistency and good protection from his offensive line that stops him being in the upper echelon of quality quarterbacks.
Dallas have a genuine threat at wide receiver; both Des Bryant and Miles Austin have four touchdowns each thus far this season and Kevin Ogletree is having a breakout season. While all-time leading receiver, TE Jason Witten leads the reception charts with 73 for the seaon. The Redskins cornerbacks and safeties will need to be on their toes.
The Redskins offense had a good game against the Eagles, though no doubt helped by poor defensive play by Philly. Santana Moss will look to continue his good season and Pierre Garçon will hope to top last week’s three catches for five yards. Garçon is not fully fit yet following his return from a foot injury; but can still cause Dallas problems just by being involved, assuming he plays. He was limited in practice this week.
Robert Griffin III inspired the offence last week and, back home in Texas, he will be looking to do the same, becoming the first Redskins team to beat the Cowboys on thanksgiving day, the record currently stands at 6-0 Dallas. It is worth pointing out that Tony Romo is 14-0 in November.
Griffin had an exceptional game against the Eagles last week, and will cause the Cowboys defense all kinds of problems unless they can figure out when to rush and when to hold back. Defensive co-ordinator for the Cowboys, Rob Ryan had this to say about RGIII to the Dallas Morning Star:
I don’t like him, but I know he is very talented
Alfred Morris, the Redskins second contender for offensive rookie of the year, is being given plays on third down, particularly on option plays, giving him the opportunity to learn routes in the passing game. This can only help Morris as he progresses in his career.
On the other side of the ball it will be interesting to see how the Redskins defense copes this week with so many players missing. DeAngelo Hall, who had an interception against the Eagles, for a 23 yard return, will be expected to support rookie Richard Crawford at cornerback in Josh Wilson’s absence and DeJon Gomes is expected to get a second chance to start at safety because of Meriweather’s injury.
The Cowboys defense will rely heavily on defensive end DeMarcus Ware, who leads the team with ten sacks, half of the team total of twenty. The defensive backs though have not done so well. They have only four interceptions in ten games and much like the Redskins, they have not returned a punt or kickoff for a TD.
I doubt that will change tonight; but someone could end up being the Turkey this Thanksgiving.
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