Coming off of their most impressive win of the season, the 3-3 Dallas Cowboys have a key divisional game against the Washington Redskins Sunday. In the theme of “4 Downs” here are four things to watch in this weeks matchup and who has the edge in each.
- Can the offense keep up the scoring?
Last week against one of the best defenses in the league the Cowboys dropped 40 points. The have another stiff task this week as the Redskins come in with the fifth best defense in the league allowing just 326.2 ypg and are top ten in every other category. As well as the Cowboys offense played last week they again settled for too many field goals and that needs to change quickly moving forward. While the Redskins offense is no power, with the ever-steady Alex Smith at quarterback I expect more than seven points on the board.
2. Stopping Adrian Peterson
Peterson has resurrected his career in the nation’s capital spearheading the leagues 12th ranked rushing offense. On the season he was 77 carries for 339 yards and three touchdowns averaging out at 4.4 ypc. He has also been a weapon through the air hauling in seven catches for 136 yards. The Cowboys seventh-ranked run defense will be put to the test Sunday and the outcome will have an impact on who wins.
3. Will a number two receiver emerge?
With rumors that Tavon Austin might join Terrance Williams on the injured reserve, it is critical that a RECEIVER step up to help Cole Beasley. I say that because behind Beasley, who leads the team in receptions, yards, and touchdowns, the other top two statistically are running back Ezekiel Elliott and tight end Geoff Swaim. The next best receiver is Austin who has 7 catches for 130 yards and two touchdowns. Rookie Michael Gallup along with free agent signings Deonte Thompson and Allen Hurns have all shown flashes but nothing consistent. That doesn’t bode well for a unit facing the 9th best pass defense in the league.
4. Can the offensive line hold up?
The Redskins come in with 10 sacks in five games. While not dominating stats it still poses a challenge for a Cowboys offensive line that has struggled all season. Sure they didn’t look bad last week but there were times were quarterback Dak Prescott had to escape the pocket early in a play. In order for the offense to have the same success as last week, it is critical the line comes to play. Defensive tackle Da’ron Payne has two sacks on the season and impacts both the run and pass game. The guards, especially Connor Williams, will need to be on their “A” game to come away victorious in this battle.