This Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys will be capping off a great season with a game against NFC East opponent, The Washington Commanders. While this doesn't seem like a very difficult match-up for the boys, many fans are worried this is a last-minute trap game for them. How can the Cowboys defeat the Commanders this weekend?
There are a few things to take into consideration. The first is that the Commanders will be starting Rookie Quarterback Sam Howell for this game. Sam is a QB out of North Carolina and was drafted last season in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. This will be his first NFL start.
So, that should make it simpler for the Cowboys' defense… right? Well, that depends on what the coaching staff decides. If Head Coach Mike McCarthy chooses to not play his starters, which is something I suggested in a previous article titled “Should the Cowboys play their starters this Sunday?” Then that decision can alternate some things on the field.
Sam Howell is a good QB, and if he's playing against the Cowboys' Back up defenders, then he may put up some points. But the way to stop him from making big plays is to blitz him like crazy. If the Cowboys defenders and linebackers can put pressure on this new QB, then the chances of the boys winning increase by a lot.
I have watched Howell in college and I can confirm that he gets very nervous when he's under a lot of pressure.
Another important factor in beating the Commanders is to play slowly and smartly. The Cowboys have the talent to beat this team (with or without their starters) but the main problem is making dumb decisions. There's no need to hurl the ball in the air for a 60+ yard bomb when you are up a score. I've seen it happen too many times this year on games we should have won.
We need to make this a low-scoring game and have good ball control. Clock management in this game will also be important. If we can find a way to hold onto to the ball for most of the game and force the clock to tick down, then a victory is even closer.
Overall, this game will come down to smart play callings and clock management. This is all considering the Cowboys bench some if not most of their starters for the game. If the starters play (which I think is a bad idea) then winning will become very likely. This Commander team has been eliminated from the playoffs so the coaches of Washington won't be too concerned about winning as much as they will be about developing their rookie players like Howell and others.