After slogging through a 23-20 overtime victory over the Cleveland Browns, the Cowboys return to the field Thursday to face NFC East rival Washington on Thanksgiving. The Redskins, despite their 4-6 record, are expected to challenge Dallas and the Cowboys have preparing this week to defend quarterback Robert Griffin III, the former Baylor star. Griffin III, in his rookie campaign, has lived up to the hype and now he comes home to Texas, hoping to give Washington its first victory ever at Cowboys Stadium. All eyes will be on him Thursday, including the Cowboys’. Here is a look at how both teams match up:
When the Cowboys run
As each week has passed without DeMarco Murray in the lineup, the Cowboys have become increasingly inured to making do without their starting running back. Murray has missed the last five games because of a sprained left foot and his status is in doubt Thursday. In his absence Dallas has averaged 2.97 yards per carry. If Murray can’t play, don’t expect the results to get any better this week. Backup Felix Jones is also banged up and despite the fact that Washington’s defensive front has been decimated by injuries, the Redskins are allowing 94.6 rushing yards per game – the seventh-lowest average in the NFL.
When the Cowboys pass
Considering that he was operating behind a ramshackle offensive line, quarterback Tony Romo fared especially well last Sunday. Sacked seven times, he still passed for 313 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. Romo’s solid outing was made possible, in part by Dez Bryant, who enjoyed his third 100-yard receiving game of the season. But if the pass protection doesn’t improve, it’s uncertain if Romo can sustain this level of performance even against a Redskins defense allowing 289.2 passing yards per game – the fourth-worst average in the NFL.
When the Redskins run
Two rookies have given a once-flagging Redskins rushing attack some bite. Acclaimed quarterback Robert Griffin III and unheralded tailback Alfred Morris have transformed a ground game that was among the least productive last season but is now one of the best. The Redskins are gaining 165 yards rushing yards per game, the second-highest average in the NFL. Dallas, at times, has shown susceptibility while defending the run and is conceding 106.6 yards per game.
When the Redskins pass
This off-season Washington tried to beef up its passing offense with the major acquisitions of Robert Griffin III and free-agent receivers Josh Morgan and Pierre Garcon. But the Redskins have gained only 214.7 yards per game through the air – the 11th-lowest average in the NFL. But while the Redskins’ passing attack may not be prolific it is efficient. Griffin III has thrown only three interceptions versus 12 touchdown passes. He will be tested this week while facing a Cowboys pass defense that is allowing 211.4 yards per game – the sixth-best average in the NFL.
As Dwayne Harris continues to make an impact on punt returns and Dan Bailey converts field goals, the Cowboys’ special teams are no longer viewed as the same bumbling group of units that gave away the ball multiple times, conceded a blocked punt and allowed a 108-yard kickoff return earlier this season. In fact, they have been quite solid. Bailey has converted 90.5 percent of his field goal attempts. Meanwhile, the Redskins’ kicker Kai Forbath, an ex-Cowboy, has made all nine of his attempts since replacing the struggling Billy Cundiff in October. Forbath has bolstered a special teams unit that hasn’t received much production out of returner Brandon Banks this season.
There is little doubt Redskins quarterback and former Baylor star Robert Griffin III will be motivated. He returns to Texas to play his first game as a pro in his home state and all eyes will be on him. With the pressure ratcheted up a bit, will he thrive or crater? Dallas will play a part in answering that question. The Cowboys are 28-15-1 on Thanksgiving, having defeated the Redskins each of the six times they have played them on the holiday. Griffin III and Washington, which has also never won inside Cowboys Stadium, will defy history if they win Thursday.
GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Trackers and Scoreboards
View game stats and scores online while you watch or listen to the game. Click HERE
GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Sounds of the game
GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Watch the game on TV or online
Watch on TV, tune to your local Fox station. Click HERE to watch online (NFL Sunday Ticket)
GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Bookmark The Boys Are Back blog
The Boys Are Back blog | Read | Listen | Watch | Comment
Check back here for box scores, videos, pictures, highlights, resources, recaps, interesting articles, and Dallas Cowboys information all season long. Signup for email alerts, RSS feeds, or add The Boys Are Back to your favorites.
Don’t forget to ‘LIKE US’ and SHARE The Boys Are Back blog with the buttons below!
Enjoy the game!
GAMEDAY RESOURCES: Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys postgame coverage
hosted by the
Note: The show starts approximately 30 minutes after the game is over.
Editors Note: If you enjoy this Special Feature, please use the LIKE and SHARE buttons below. Help us spread the word about The Boys Are Back blog! Enjoy.