Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#271 Dallas Cowboys -6 vs.
#272 Washington Redskins 44
Sunday, September 15, 2019 at 1:00pm EDT
FedEx Field, Landover
Written by Chris Kubala

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#271 Dallas
#272 Washington
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A pair of NFC East rivals clash in a week 2 matchup in the nation’s capital. The Dallas Cowboys make the trip east to face the Washington Redskins Sunday afternoon. Both teams played divisional contests in week one of the season as well. Dallas picked up a 35-17 win at home over the Giants last Sunday to open their season on a positive note. Washington was dropped 32-27 on the road in their season opening contest by Philadelphia last Sunday. The Cowboys own a 71-43-2 edge in the all-time regular season series though the teams split two meetings last season. Washington prevailed 20-17 at home in the first meeting on October 21, 2018 while Dallas earned a 31-23 home win on November 22, 2018.

 

 

A Quick Review of the Season to Date

Dallas Cowboys Review

Dallas shrugged off a slow start as they sliced through the Giants’ defense like a hot knife through butter to earn the win. The Cowboys fell behind 7-0 in the opening quarter but reeled off 21 unanswered points to take a 21-7 halftime edge. Dallas didn’t let New York draw any closer than 11 the rest of the way as the offense did the job. The Cowboys held a narrow 494-470 edge in total offense and controlled the clock by a 32:18 to 27:42 margin to offset losing the first down battle 25-23. Dallas did force two turnovers in the game while not committing one, which was important.

Dak Prescott was razor-sharp in the contest, completing 25 of 32 passes for 405 yards with four touchdown passes and no interceptions. He added 12 yards on the ground in the contest. Ezekiel Elliott, after signing a contract extension earlier in the week, had a lighter than expected wardrobe, carried the ball 13 times for 53 yards plus a score. Tony Pollard contributed 13 carries for 24 yards as he helped shoulder the load more than normal. In the passing game, Michael Gallup led the team by reeling in seven passes for 158 yards while Amari Cooper (six catches, 106 yards, TD) also went over the century mark. Randall Cobb (four grabs, 69 yards) along with tight ends Blake Jarwin (three catches, 39 yards) and Jason Witten (three receptions, 15 yards) also reeled in touchdown passes.

Washington Redskins Review

Washington had Philadelphia reeling for most of the first half of their season-opening contest. Unfortunately for the Redskins, football is a 60-minute game and the second half didn’t go their way. Washington bolted to a 17-0 lead just over five minutes into the second quarter and held a 20-7 edge at the half thanks to a Dustin Hopkins 48-yard field goal as time expired. Things unraveled after that as the Redskins gave up 25 unanswered points to fall behind 32-20: they finally broke the run with a touchdown with just six seconds remaining in the contest.

The Redskins were outgained 436-398 in the contest in a game where both quarterbacks threw for more than 300 yards. Washington lost the first down battle 22-15 and saw the Eagles control the time of possession battle by a 34:27 to 25:13 margin. Neither team committed a turnover in the contest and the game was marked by big plays. Both teams had two scoring passes cover at least 48 yards in the game but the ground game was the difference in this one. The Redskins, who had Adrian Peterson inactive as a healthy scratch for the first time in his career, mustered a measly 28 yards on the ground while the Eagles amassed 123.

Dallas Cowboys Offense vs. Washington Redskins Defense

Running the Ball: Who Has the Edge?

Dallas Cowboys Rushing Offense

It seemed that the Cowboys weren’t as intent on pounding the ball between the tackles on the ground given the fact that Ezekiel Elliott had reported in the middle of the week last week. Dallas also pretty much split the carries on the ground between Elliott and Tony Pollard: one has to think that there will be a shift toward Elliott going forward, possibly as early as this week. As a team, the Cowboys ran the ball 30 times but totaled only 89 yards and a score. Last season, Dallas was held to 73 yards by Washington in a road loss in week 7 but doubled that mark to 146 yards in their week 12 victory at home.

Elliott led the team with 13 carries for 53 yards and a score on the ground in his return to active duty. Pollard mustered only 24 yards on his 13 carries while Dak Prescott had four carries for 12 yards in the contest. Dallas didn’t break any big runs in the game as their longest run was Elliott’s 10-yard scoring run. The Cowboys did move the sticks four times via the ground game. On Tuesday, Dallas waived Jordan Chunn, thinning their running back group a bit for the short term.

Washington Redskins Rushing Defense

Washington was rock solid in the first half of the game in all facets but things started to unravel in the second half of the contest. The Redskins were unable to get off the field, allowing the Eagles to move the sticks and grind the clock with regularity. Washington can ill afford to get ground down by Dallas the way they were by Philadelphia if they hope to stay in the contest. The Redskins were clipped for 123 yards and a score by the committee of backs of the Eagles in the opener and now face Elliott, who has led the league in rushing two of the last three seasons.

Linebacker Cole Holcomb was tied for the team lead with nine tackles (eight solo) to go along with two tackles for loss. Quinton Dunbar chipped in nine tackles (eight solo) while safety Landon Collins had seven (six solo) in the game. Montez Sweat, Shaun Dion Hamilton, Shaun Dion Hamilton and Daron Payne each added one tackle for loss in the contest. As a team, the Redskins recorded six tackles for loss and didn’t allow a run for more than 20 yards: they allowed the opposition to move the sticks nine times on the ground.

Who Has the Edge?

With Washington’s defense in the opener, they didn’t get gashed by big plays: rather, it was more like death by a thousand paper cuts. The Redskins were battered in the second half and couldn’t find a way to get off the field as the Eagles were relentless in their assault. Washington was better in their home matchup against the Cowboys last season at preventing the run than they were on the road so that works in their favor. With that said, Dallas has one of the elite offensive lines in the league and they’re hard to contain for 60 minutes. Elliott has a full week of practice to get up to speed and that helps give Dallas the upper hand here.

Advantage: Dallas Cowboys

Aerial Assault: Who Has the Upper Hand?

Dallas Cowboys Passing Offense

Dallas had their struggles moving the ball on the ground against the Giants. It seemed that New York was more compelled to dare Prescott to beat them with his arm: unfortunately for them, that’s exactly what happened. He worked the ball all over the field, connecting with seven different receivers in the contest. As a result, he had the sixth 300-yard game of his career and his second-most passing yards in a game while tying his career-high in touchdown passes. Both his four touchdown games have come against the Giants.

In the game, Prescott completed 25 of 32 passes for 405 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. He did not take a sack in the contest and recorded a perfect passer rating of 158.3 to go with a 97.4 QBR at the expense of the Giants. Michael Gallup led the team by reeling in seven passes for 158 yards while Amari Cooper (six catches, 106 yards, TD) also went over the century mark. Randall Cobb (four grabs, 69 yards) along with tight ends Blake Jarwin (three catches, 39 yards) and Jason Witten (three receptions, 15 yards) also reeled in touchdown passes. Dallas had seven pass plays cover at least 20 yards with Gallup recording three and Cooper two in the contest.

Washington Redskins Passing Defense

Washington was scorched by the pass as the Eagles were unable to contain former teammate DeSean Jackson. He burned the Redskins for touchdowns of 51 and 53 yards among his eight catches for 154 yards in the contest. As it all panned out, Washington saw Carson Wentz hit 28 of 39 passes for 313 yards with three touchdown passes and no interceptions in the game. Washington failed to generate much of a pass rush, recording only one sack as Wentz had plenty of time to find his targets in the contest.

Cassanova McKinzy (one tackle) was the only player for the Redskins to record a sack in the contest. Safety Montae Nicholson (five tackles), Norman (four tackles, tackle for loss) and Payne (three tackles, tackle for loss) each had a pass defense on the afternoon. All told, the lack of pressure doomed Washington as they simply gave too much time to Wentz. Washington has three pass defenses, one sack and no interceptions on the year. The Redskins gave up three pass plays of at least 20 yards on the season.

Who Has the Edge?

We saw how things work when teams don’t generate a pass rush against the Cowboys. Prescott simply dismantled the Giants’ defense, carving them up to the tune of his second-most passing yards in a game in his career. On the flip side, we saw that Washington couldn’t generate much of a rush on the Eagles and their coverage broke down. The Redskins gave up big plays and the Cowboys have the burners like Gallup and Cooper that can do what Jackson did in week 1. Dallas’s offensive line is more than up to the task of giving Prescott time to throw and that gives the Cowboys the edge here.

Advantage: Dallas Cowboys

Washington Redskins Offense vs. Dallas Cowboys Defense

Who Has the Edge in the Ground Game?

Washington Redskins Rushing Offense

Washington left Adrian Peterson as a healthy inactive for the first time in his career in the opener. The decision to go with Derrius Guice as the starting back didn’t pay immediate dividends as he was held in check by a swarming Eagles’ defense. Adding insult to injury, Guice was injured in the contest with what is being reported as a meniscus injury: he underwent an MRI and the exact timetable for a potential return remains to be seen, though reports say that he will not take the field in this contest. As a team, the Redskins were limited to a total of 28 yards on 13 carries.

Guice handled the majority of the load as he ran the ball 10 times for just 18 yards. Chris Thompson contributed 10 yards on his three attempts in the contest. It’s a safe bet that Peterson, whose deactivation was the source of controversy both within the locker room and with former members of the Redskins, is going to get his fair share of work going forward. The Redskins had no rushes that covered at least 20 yards as their longest run was seven yards. In addition, Washington failed to move the chains via the ground game.

Update (9/14/19): Guice will miss at least eight weeks as he’s been placed on the IR. That means Peterson will likely get the nod at 34-years old. And why not? He showed no signs of slowing down last season. He rushed for at least 95 yards, seven times in 2018.

When Peterson was ruled inactive against the Eagles, most of his teammates were not happy. Even running back Chris Thompson, who would lose carries to Peterson.

“I wanted AP to be out there,” Thompson told The Sports Junkies Monday on radio.

“I mean, what he did last year…” Thompson said. “All three of us have been able to work together since April or whatever, since OTAs and everything, so I was looking forward to him being out there. But I know, especially with Coach Gruden and those decision-makers, it’s kind of hard because all three of us aren’t really special teams guys, and sometimes you need one or two guys down the line to be guys that play special teams.”

 

Dallas Cowboys Rushing Defense

Dallas was hurt by the ground game early by the Giants: Saquon Barkley’s first run of the season covered 59 yards and helped set up the first New York touchdown. After that, the Cowboys limited Barkley to 61 yards the rest of the way but the score and game flow dictated some of that: he still averaged 6.1 yards per carry on his other rushes. Overall, Dallas was hit for 151 yards on 17 carries plus a touchdown. The Cowboys did manage to generate a turnover via the fumble game to thwart a Giants’ drive that was in the red zone.

Safety Xavier Woods led the team with 11 tackles (nine solo) to go along with a half tackle for loss and a forced fumble. Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (10 tackles, half-tackle for loss, forced fumble), Jaylon Smith (six tackles) and DeMarcus Lawrence (two tackles, half-tackle for loss, forced fumble, fumble recovery) were effective in the run game. As a team, Dallas recorded two tackles for loss, forced three fumbles and recovered a pair of them in order to get the win. They allowed just the one run for more than 20 yards with that coming on Barkley’s first run of the year.

Who Has the Edge?

Washington couldn’t move the ball on the ground to save their lives in the opener and that’s going to be something the team has to address going forward. The Redskins may be more active on the ground with Peterson in the backfield as Guice may have been tentative due to his knee issues. With that said, Washington ran for 130 yards in the first matchup against Dallas last season and followed that up with 80 yards in the second meeting. The Cowboys were gouged in the opener by the Giants so there is hope for the Redskins but until we see Washington actually move the sticks via the ground game, this one is a wash.

Advantage: Push

Who Has the Upper Hand in the Passing Attack?

Washington Redskins Passing Offense

While the run game did nothing in the opener, the Redskins were effective through the air as Case Keenum seemed at ease under center in his first start with the team after being acquired in the offseason. While things unraveled in the second half, you can’t point the finger at Keenum as he did his best to keep his team in the game. All told, the Redskins were highly effective in the first half of the game, gashing the Eagles with big plays, and then tapered off in the second half, mainly due to the inability of their defense to get off the field and get the ball back to the offense. Keenum recorded the eighth 300-yard game of his career and set a new career-high for passing yards in the loss to Philadelphia.

Keenum has hit 30 of 44 passes for 380 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions on the season. He has been sacked once for a loss of 10 yards. Thompson led the team by pulling in seven passes for 68 yards on the year. Terry McLaurin reeled in five passes for 125 yards plus a score while Trey Quinn (33 yards, TD), Paul Richardson (36 yards) and Vernon Davis Jr. (59 yards, TD) each have four catches. The Redskins had four pass plays cover at least 20 yards with McLaurin leading the way with two of them.

Dallas Cowboys Passing Defense

Dallas saw a heavy dose of the pass from the Giants as they were up two touchdowns at the half before building on that after intermission. The Cowboys are going to want to get a better pass rush than we saw in the opening week of the season as they had their struggles getting pressure on Eli Manning. Clearly, Dallas is going to want to be better than giving up more than 300 yards, even if a bunch of those yards came in garbage time. The Cowboys gave up 323 yards through the air: they gave up one touchdown pass without recording a pick and finished with just one sack.

Lawrence and Vander Esch split the sack that the Cowboys had in the contest, leaving them tied for the team lead. Safety Jeff Heath (nine tackles) had two pass defenses in the win while Vander Esch, Chidobie Awuzie (four tackles) and Jourdan Lewis (two tackles) each had one. The Cowboys knocked away five passes while allowing three pass plays more than 20 yards on the season.

Who Has the Edge?

This one is going to hinge on whether the Cowboys can get a better pass rush than we saw last week. Dallas struggled to get after Eli Manning, which allowed the veteran QB to go over the 300 yard mark in the contest. While a lot of those were empty yards, the fact that the Cowboys finished with only one sack has to be a bit of a concern for coach Jason Garrett. After all, New York didn’t have much in the way of a receiving corps that would strike the fear in the hearts of most teams. Washington was excellent at moving the ball through the air as Keenum set a career-high in passing yards. Young receivers like McLaurin give the Redskins something to be happy about in the short term. Give Washington the upper hand in this as Dallas has to be better in stopping the pass.

Advantage: Washington Redskins

Special Teams, Coaching, & Intangibles

Special Teams

Advantage: Washington Redskins

Coaching

Advantage: Dallas Cowboys

Intangibles

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas is fourth in the league in scoring offense as they put up 35 points per game on the season. The Cowboys are third in the league in total offense with 494 yards per game and stand fourth in yards per play with eight yards per snap. Dallas is ninth in the league in scoring defense as they give up an average of 17 points per contest. The Cowboys are just 27th in total defense as they allow 470 yards per game and stand 26th as they give up 7.1 yards per play. Dallas is tied for second in the takeaway/giveaway department as they are a +2 on the season.

The Cowboys are tied for first in red-zone success as they have cashed in 100 percent of their drives that got inside the opposition’s 20-yard line into touchdowns. Dallas is tied for 11th in red-zone defense as they held opposing teams to a 50 percent success rate as far as scoring touchdowns go. Dallas is 6th in the league in third-down conversions as they have converted 60 percent of their situations this season. The Cowboys are solid in getting off the field as opposing teams have converted 18.18 percent of their third downs, which is third in the league. Dallas is eighth in the league in time of possession as they hold the ball 53.83 percent of the time.

Brett Maher hit all five extra-point attempts and didn’t attempt a field goal yet this season. Chris Jones has punted four times with an average of 41.3 yards per punt: he has a net average of 39.5 yards per kick this season. Jones has placed two punts inside the 20 on the year. Randall Cobb had no yards on his one kickoff return: it was the only kick the Cowboys attempted to return so far this year.

Washington Redskins

Washington is 13th in the league in scoring offense as they put up an average of 27 points per game this season. The Redskins are 13th in the league in total offense with 398 yards per game and stand 10th in yards per play with an average of 6.9 yards per snap. Washington is 27th in scoring defense as they allow 32 points per game. The Redskins are 25th in total defense as they give up 436 yards per game and stand 21st in yards per play as they allow 6.1 yards per snap. Washington is tied for 14th in the takeaway/giveaway department as they are even this season.

The Redskins are 18th in the league in red-zone success as they convert 50 percent of their trips inside the 20 into touchdowns this season. Washington is tied for 16th in red-zone defense as they give up touchdowns on 66.67 percent of their opponents’ trips inside the 20 this season. The Redskins are 21st in the league in third-down conversions as they convert 38.46 percent of their chances. Washington is abysmal getting off the field on third down defensively as they are 31st: opposing teams are converting 64.71 percent of their opportunities. The Redskins are 29th in time of possession as they hold the ball 42.58 percent of the time this season.

Dustin Hopkins hit all three extra-point attempts and both his field-goal tries on the season with a long of 48. Tress Way averages 54.4 yards on his five punts this season with a net of 45.2 yards per boot. He dropped one punt inside the 20-yard line but the coverage team has to be better as the opposition averages 11.5 yards per return against him. Steven Sims Jr. averages 15.3 yards on three kickoff returns with a long of 19 while Trey Quinn has one punt return that totaled 11 yards.

Who Has the Edge?

Washington’s inability to get off the field on third down is going to be a major issue. We saw Dallas move the sticks on six of 10 third downs in the opener while Washington allowed Philadelphia to convert nine of 14 third-down situations. While the Redskins have the better punter in Way, their struggles in kick coverage could cost them field position. Washington still has to show they can stop opposing offenses, either by turnovers or stopping them on third down. Until they can do that, you have to fade the Redskins a little bit. Dallas gets the edge here.

Advantage: Dallas Cowboys

Final Outlook – Time to place those bets!

Dallas feasted on a defense with a weak pass rush in the opener as Prescott carved up the Giants. The Redskins have to be better with their pass rush at this point though at least their secondary is decent with All-Pro Landon Collins back there along with Josh Norman. Dallas has handled Washington of late, winning seven of the last nine matchups and it hasn’t mattered who was under center. Alex Smith, Colt McCoy, Robert Griffin III, and Kirk Cousins all struggled to have success against the Cowboys. It’s hard to envision Keenum, who has a penchant for throwing ill-advised picks, having a ton of success.

The Cowboys are going to be aggressive and you have to think that they’ll bang at the Redskins’ front seven with a healthy dose of Elliott to set up the passing attack. Washington is still dealing with Trent Williams holding out, leaving a hole at left tackle that could be troublesome. If Dallas can generate a pass rush and make life tough for Keenum, it’s going to be an uphill climb for Washington to try and hang with the Cowboys. Right now, there are more questions than answers for the Redskins, especially when it comes to playing a full 60 minutes. Dallas should take care of business by dicing through the Washington defense.

The Cowboys are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 vs. NFC East foes, 7-1 ATS in their last 8 road games vs. a team with a losing home record and 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing more than 250 yards passing in their previous game. Washington is 1-4 ATS in their last five against NFC opponents and 1-4 ATS in their last five against NFC East foes. After seeing Washington fade in the second half against Philadelphia, the Cowboys should be amped to put points on the board. The over is 4-0 in Dallas’ last four overall, 4-0 in their last four against NFC teams, 5-0 in their last five against NFC East opponents and 6-0 in their last 6 games after accumulating less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game. Washington has seen the over go 6-1 in their last 7 home games vs. a team with a winning road record and 4-1 in their last 5 games following an ATS win. The over has hit in six of the last seven meetings, this one follows suit.

Updated on Sep 14 at 1:30pm EDT

Dallas has to shuffle some things around due to injuries taking a toll. Receiver Tavon Austin is out for this one with a concussion, so the Cowboys are expected to call up Cedrick Wilson from the practice squad in order to have five receivers active for the contest. Linebacker Luke Gifford has also been ruled out with an ankle injury: that makes Joe Thomas the backup should starting linebacker Sean Lee go down for any reason in the contest. Tyrone Crawford is one to monitor as he missed a couple practices this week with a sore hip: reports are that it may be something that Dallas has to monitor throughout the season.

Washington’s injury report is a bit deeper and certainly will impact them at multiple positions. In addition to Guice, who could miss up to eight weeks after another knee injury, there are other pieces that are missing. At least with Guice’s issue, you have a future Hall of Famer in Peterson along with a solid pass catching back in Thompson to lean on. Colt McCoy remains out with a broken leg: one has to wonder if Keenum would have beaten him out for the job had McCoy remained healthy in the preseason.

In addition to that duo, tight end Jordan Reed will miss his second straight game with a concussion. Vernon Davis Jr., who scored last week, will get the start in his stead once again. Jonathan Allen has been ruled out with a knee injury: that pushes T.Y. McGill into a starting role on the defensive line. Washington’s secondary is suffering from injuries as Fabian Moreau is doubtful with an ankle injury while Quinton Dunbar is questionable with a knee injury. The Redskins were sufficiently concerned about their secondary depth that they signed Aaron Colvin, who was dumped by the Texans Tuesday after he was burned for a big play in the final minute that set up a game-winning field goal for New Orleans. They had also signed Simeon Thomas earlier in the week.

The weather should be fairly decent for this division rivalry contest. Game time temperature at FedEx Field is expected to be in the low-80s with winds from the north-northwest between five and 10 miles per hour. There is a 25 percent chance of precipitation around kickoff time so that is something that will need to be monitored. As the day wears on, the chances of rain declines to under 10 percent.

When the initial lines opened for this contest, Dallas was a 4.5-point favorite with the over/under set at 44 points. Earlier this week, the line saw Dallas favored by seven points with the over/under sitting at 44 points. As of Saturday afternoon, there’s been some movement on the line, though the Cowboys still are favored by 5.5 to six points depending on the sportsbook. The over/under has ticked up slightly as it has moved to 46.5 points in this contest. Currently, the moneyline shows Dallas as a hefty -250 to -270 favorite while Tampa Bay can be found as a +200 to +220 underdog depending on the sportsbook. As of this writing, 81 percent of the bets are backing Dallas -6 points. When it comes to the moneyline, 65 percent of the wagers are backing the Cowboys on the road. Meanwhile, 72 percent of bets are projecting this one to go over the total.

Washington was sliced up by Philadelphia, especially in the second half, last week and that inability to get off the field ended up costing them the game. The Redskins now are dealing with injuries to their secondary, which hadn’t played all that well in the opener as it was when they were healthy. Dallas just put the boots to a division rival with a weak secondary last week. With Washington struggling to generate much of a pass rush, you can’t expect Keenum and company to engage in a shootout with Dallas and win. The Cowboys improve to 2-0 while the Redskins drop to 0-2, both overall and in division action, as Dallas gets the upper hand here.

Dallas Cowboys 31, Washington Redskins 21

Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.