Happy Thanksgiving from DC Pro Football Report!
And . . . It’s Game Day
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If one thing is clear, the scheduling unit to the NFL was not very kind to the Washington Redskins. The Redskins had a mere 80 hours between their Sunday night hammering of the Green Bay Packers and now face the 9-1 Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys are in firm control of the NFC East. The Redskins as we speak sit in control of a Wild Card berth. Every game from here on is critical for the Redskins. The Redskins dropped a game to Dallas the second week of the season 27-23 at FEDEX Field. The Redskins not only look to maintain momentum, a 6-1-1 record after starting the season 0-2, but also look to avoid a sweep from he hated NFC East rival.
The Rookies . . . Isn’t this game turning out to be about the rookies? Washington’s defense has a monumental task today to control the NFL’s leading rusher, Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott has that explosive ability. Just ask Pittsburgh. He has already gained 1,102 yards on the season with 9 TDs. Washington’s runs defense is not that stellar, sitting at 22nd overall and averaging allowing 112 yards per game. Controlling Elliott is priority number one. In their first outing, The Redskins held Elliott to 87 yards and forced two fumbles. A repeat performance would be nice. Then, the Redskins defense has to control rookie QB Dak Prescott, who is having an impressive rookie season. CB Josh Norman will likely be on Dez Bryant duty, at least half the game. The concern is receivers like Cole Beasley. Pass pressure will be critical. The Redskins get sacks. However, it is the inconsistent front line pressure they will need today, something that has been a hit or miss for the Redskins defense. On the Redskins side, Dallas did not face undrafted rookie running back Robert Kelley. Kelley has been absolutely superb for Washington and has locked down the feature back role. Last week, Kelley ran for his first 100 yard game, gaining 137 yards and scoring three TDs. The Redskins should give the Dallas defense healthy dose of Kelley today. Big game for the undrafted rookie out of Tulane. Redskins’ second round pick S’ua Cravens is blossoming into an elite defensive player and no doubt the Redskins will align Cravens in multiple packages to make an impact.
The Schedule . . . Washington only was allowed essentially an 80 hour layoff between their Sunday night win over Green Bay and today’s big NFC East showdown with its hated rival. Pretty dismal draw for the Redskins. But, it is what it is. Good teams persevere and Washington will look to put the unfriendly scheduling draw off to the sideline. Fortunately, the Redskins came out of the Green Bay win relatively injury free.
The Other Corners . . . CB Josh Norman has proven so far this season to be the most elite corner in the game. He has been stellar. He has been well worth his $75 million deal. What is unclear is how the Redskins will utilize Norman. Word is, they do not plan to have him completely shadow Dez Bryant. Let’s face it, Norman is not a concern. At all. The concern revolves around Bashaud Breeland and rookie Kendall Fuller. They will have their hands full today and both corners have been inconsistent. They will both need to step up their level of play today or it could be a long game for Washington’s secondary.
The Contract Play . . . The Redskins will look to QB Kirk Cousins, as they should. Cousins had perhaps his best game of the season last week, completing 70% of his passes, throwing for 375 yards, and tossing 3 TDs, all in a fierce a wind situation. He is proving he is worth an elite contract and the Redskins need another elite performance. The other good thing Cousins has done this season, besides throwing for big yards and increasing his consistency and accuracy, is the avoidance of mistakes. He is usually good for one questionable throw per game. He can’t do that today. The key today will be to dominate time of possession and keep Prescott and Elliott on the sideline as much as possible. Quick TD strikes are great, but ball possession will be critical. Cousins’ success this season has been aggressive lay bd quick decisions. He has not taken many sacks nor has the Redskins offensive line permitted many sacks. Time will be a great thing today.
The Dallas secondary . . . The Cowboys secondary is banged up. It is struggling. That is a good thing for Washington considering the hot hand of Kirk Cousins. Washington boasts three dominating receivers in DeSean Jackson, Jamison Crowder, and Pierre Garcon. Garson is coming off a 100 yard game, as is Crowder. Focusing not hose two receivers could leave Jackson open deep. Cousins has been aggressive in throwing the deep ball, and given the Dallas secondary struggled, I totally expect to see more attempts down field today. I’ll call it here. I expect another huge game from Garcon. He will likely not be the focus of Dallas’s secondary. They will attempt to keep Jackson and Crowder from beating them deep, which will open up opportunities to Garcon.
Again, Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Redskins Game Day!