The Dallas Cowboys take on the Washington Football Team this Sunday. It’s a critical game in the NFC East division race. Washington can take control of their own destiny with a win on Sunday, and if the Cowboys win, that likely will wrap up the NFC East.
The two teams will collide as Washington rides high on a four-game winning streak, while Dallas has lost three out of five. Washington’s win streak comes from playing solid defense, a good run game, and as much as Cowboys fans don’t want to hear it, the excellent play of Taylor Heinicke.
During the Washington four-game win streak, Heinicke has posted a passer rating of above 100 three times with a high of 141.3 against a sturdy Carolina Panthers defense. He has also completed more than 70% of his passes in every game during the winning streak, passing for seven touchdowns to only two interceptions.
Heinicke is also very good with his legs, and while he doesn’t have game-breaking speed, he has the legs to escape pressure and be elusive in the pocket. Despite losing the game to the Green Bay Packers earlier in the season, Heinicke rushed for 95 yards on ten carries. Just last week, there were plenty of instances of him escaping pressure and preventing negative plays for the Washington offense.
Since week nine, per rbsdm.com, Heinicke has led the NFL in EPA+CPOE composite (.227), EPA per play (.321), success rate (56.7%), and a completion percentage above expectation (+11.6). He is playing great ball during this stretch, and Dallas will have their hands full on Sunday.
The entire Washington offense ranks sixth in the NFL since week 9 in EPA per play, and they lead the NFL in drop back EPA and drop back success rate at .285 and 56.2%, respectively.
The Dallas defense does have the horses to stymie the suddenly efficient Washington offense as they boast a drop back EPA of -.091 since week nine and are sixth in defensive EPA in that same time frame.
The Cowboys also will be getting back Randy Gregory and Neville Gallimore barring any setbacks this week to pair with DeMarcus Lawrence, who just returned last week against the Saints. This is excellent news for the Dallas pass rush that will need to do their fair share to keep Heinicke uncomfortable this coming Sunday.
Will Taylor Heinicke continue his surging play and outduel a struggling Cowboys offense and Dak Prescott? Or will the Cowboys continue their NFC East dominance this season? It will undoubtedly be a fun watch.