Children in America grow up playing Cowboys and Indians and some things never change. The Cowboys vs. Redskins rivalry is one of the greatest in sports. These games bring out the best and the worst of both teams’ fans.
The first time I attended a Cowboys game was on a Monday night in Texas Stadium against the division rivals from Washington. The Cowboys were dominant in a defensive battle all the way down the stretch until Mark Brunell hit Santana Moss for two straight touchdowns to win the game.
Since then, the Redskins have remained at the top of my list of most disliked NFL teams.
Enough of my personal vendetta. This is a huge game for the Cowboys and one that they must and should win. Of course these games are never easy because of the intense competition present between the rivals.
Washington has had a rough go of it so far this season but they’re coming off of a bye week during which they most certainly have worked on game-planning for this important divisional game. They’re seeing this as the perfect opportunity to get back on track for this season and hopefully win the division again.
Dallas has other ideas. However, to win this game, the Dallas defense is going to need to play much better than they have the past two weeks. It will be important early in this game to put pressure on second year players RGIII and Alfred Morris who shredded Dallas last season.
This season the Redskins’ QB has already shown a higher tendency to turn the ball over, more than he did last year. Capitalizing on this and creating some early turnovers is necessary. Expect the Dallas defense to come in to this game with a little chip on their shoulder after the subpar performance last week.
Offensively, Dallas wants to see the same kind of production they had against the Broncos, and honestly I expect them to do just that. The Dallas air attack was lethal last week, and that was without Miles Austin who should play this week. If Dallas can build a lead, look for them to put the ball in Demarco Murray’s hands frequently. He is fourth in the league in rushing yards and has been averaging 4.8 yards per carry.
Things to worry about
The way Denver was able to run the ball last week worries me; especially as I recall how well Washington was able to run the ball against Dallas last year. RGIII and company haven’t employed the read-option much this year, but I would not be surprised at all if they use it extensively this Sunday against Dallas.
Demarcus Ware really needs to be effective for the Dallas pass-rush to be anything special. The nagging injuries he’s been dealing with seem to be dragging down his level of play. If Ware and the rest of the defensive line don’t get some hits on RGIII early, there may be reason to worry.
Things to look for
With the recent improvement in Terrance Williams play, and the return of Miles Austin, I don’t see any way that the Washington secondary can contain Bryant, Witten, Austin and Williams. Look for another unstoppable air assault from the start. If Romo’s passes are on target, Dallas could jump out to an early lead.
Mo Claiborne will hopefully have his confidence back this week after being the first player to intercept Peyton Manning this season. If Claiborne builds on that success and confidence, which is essential for a cornerback, he will start to play at the level the coaching staff has been expecting. Claiborne gets another interception this week.
I think Dallas is going to proceed with Jerry Jones’ positive attitude and build on the loss last week against Denver. The team will come out hungry for a win, and although it won’t be easy against their biggest rivals, expect the Cowboys to go 2 and 0 in the division.
Final score: Dallas 34, Washington 21