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Need to Know: Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Cowboys

Dec 7, 2015, 5:34 AM EDT

Cousins-passing-vs.-Panthers

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, December 7, the day the Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night football.

Five final thoughts on Redskins vs. Cowboys

—Matt Cassel will be making his fifth start for the Cowboys. Remember that he did not spend any of the offseason program or training camp with Dallas. They made the trade to acquire him a few days after Tony Romo broke his collarbone for the first time in Week 2. He still is learning the offense on the fly. He has completed 62.7 percent of his passes but for only 5.7 net yards per attempt.

—Greg Hardy leads the Cowboys with 4.5 sacks but he had three in his first two games after returning from a four-game suspension to start the season and just 1.5 in his last five games. He usually lines up on the right side so he will be up against Trent Williams. It’s a good bet that Hardy will continue his sack slump as Williams has not allowed one all year.

—Will it be an Alfred Morris night or a Matt Jones night? Morris seems to be the hot hand now. Disregarding the Panthers game, in which Morris left after only two rushing attempts due to a rib injury, Morris has 38 carries for 170 yards in his last two games. In those same two games Jones had 75 yards on 19 carries. I think they will go in hoping to get Morris going early and see what they can get running and receiving from Jones.

—Kirk Cousins has 290 or more yards passing in each of the Redskins’ last four home games. Since allowing 356 yards to Eli Manning and the Giants in Week 1 the Cowboys have allowed no more than 250 passing yards in a game. I think the Redskins will be OK if Cousins splits the difference and throws for about 275. But with, say, 225 yards the Redskins could struggle.

—Of course, there is more to it than just Cousins’ passing. If the Redskins are going to win they will have to contain Darren McFadden on the ground and force Cassel to show off his relative inexperience in the Dallas offense, get a few takeaways, and get at least a moderately effective running game going. My gut feeling from around Redskins Park this week is that they are ready to do it but there is a fine line between confidence and overconfidence. I think they will pull it out but I won’t be shocked if they struggle.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Redskins vs. Cowboys 8:30 p.m., ESPN

Days until: Redskins @ Bears 6; Bills @ Redskins 13; Redskins @ Eagles 19

In case you missed it

  1. colorofmyskinz - Dec 7, 2015 at 5:45 AM

    HTTR!!!!

  2. colorofmyskinz - Dec 7, 2015 at 6:04 AM

    Eagles win yesterday was disturbing. Giants loss was a gift. We have got to win this game tonight. We have got to take the outright lead tonight! We need to stay in control. Foster we need you to step up big time tonight!

    HTTR!!

    • brucefan1 - Dec 7, 2015 at 12:48 PM

      “Eagles win yesterday was disturbing”

      I hear DAT!

      Lotsa folks still think THEY are the still team to beat in the NFCE — and beating the Pats just reinforced that. So our Skins have gotta tale of business today and EVERY day; prepare hard and then play with confidence, smarts and aggression.

      You know Dallas wants their pound of flesh — as well as a sniff of the East title. To me, a revived confidence and sense of purpose is evident in the Skins lately (Carolina not withstanding). But as we see week to week, that can be fleeting in this league, so they can not do anything to lose that edge. (Who knows, maybe being confident of a shot at victory separated the way the B&G performed vs. the Pats from the Eagles’ attitude yesterday.) Skins GOTTA have it — swag/belief/confidence — at the top of their toolbox tonite!

      • renhoekk2 - Dec 7, 2015 at 2:32 PM

        Not sure if you saw the Eagles game in DMV. They were not good. They got 2 ST TD’s and a defensive TD. Otherwise they were the same Eagles team they have been all year. The offense scored 14 and they gave up 28 and it would have been more if not for the 100yd pick 6 Brady threw. They won’t be getting 21pts from ST and defense the last 4 games. The Pats also had a ton of dropped passes. Pretty much everything that could go wrong for the Pats went wrong in that game. It was kind of surreal to watch.

        • Trey Gregory - Dec 7, 2015 at 2:42 PM

          @ren: Yeah, I get what you (and everyone else) are saying about the Eagles and even Cowboys. But let’s not kid ourselves, Washington isn’t far and away better than any other team in the NFC east.

          I have loved what’s happened this season. It’s a great first year of a rebuild. But we still have a long ways to go. It would be movie if we won the division, but I’m not going to be too upset if we don’t because we aren’t supposed to be a playoff team. This season was just supposed to be about improvement. About figuring out what we have at QB, starting a culture change, developing young players, evaluating the coaching staff, and figuring out what other pieces need to continue with us for the future. Accomplishing those things with a few wins should be considered a very successful season for us.

          I think Dallas is out. It’s just so improbable they have SO many things go their way and they still win. But NY and Philly are still very much in this. They have talent on their rosters, they’re just not getting the most out of them right now. If that starts to click, especially in Philly, they could go on a tear. I wouldn’t count them out just yet.

  3. Nectar collector - Dec 7, 2015 at 6:29 AM

    Cowboys week the day has finally arrived. Time to take the lead here!! Httr

  4. goback2rfk - Dec 7, 2015 at 7:32 AM

    The Eagles Win was very disturbing. I had definitely penciled them in for a loss. Now it just made things more interesting. The Skins are going to have to earn it.
    Can we win 2 division games in a row?! We are going to find out real soon. Httr!

    • ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© - Dec 7, 2015 at 8:12 AM

      The Patriots have been losing too many players to injury. The Eagles game was an injured Gronk too far for them.

      Let’s see what they do against Buffalo…while the Eagles are better with Bradford then Sanchez, they’re still not good.
      ~

      • bangkokben - Dec 7, 2015 at 8:44 AM

        But what the Eagles win does is give the Cowboys – a sad sack of a team – a flicker of hope. The realization that despite how awful they have played ALL year, that their season boils down to this game. Lose and their season is over; win and they control their own destiny. Even though I don’t subscribe to the merits of making the pro-bowl – because let’s face it, if you have a blue star on the side of your head, you have an advantage over the other 15 teams in the conference – but last i checked, Dallas still has three 1st-team All-pros from last year playing tonight: Dez Bryant, Tyron Smith, and Zac Martin. Meanwhile our team hasn’t had a 1st team All-Pro since 1996 and that was Matt Turk the punter. Our team hasn’t had a non-special teamer named 1st team All-Pro since Wilbur Marshall in 1992. So to whomever that continues to beat that Tony Romo drum (national media talking heads), just stop. The Cowboys are an underachieving talented team with no heart. Who know’s maybe they can turn it on tonight but, I’ll take the sum of our parts over that ‘talented’ bunch.

        “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

        • ET - Dec 7, 2015 at 1:24 PM

          “The Cowboys are an underachieving talented team with no heart.”

          True, they have a lot of good pieces. But Romo matters a lot to that team. Maybe if they still had a true workhorse back things would be better offensively, but such is life. A team can only do so much with a Matt Cassel at the helm.

          Their defense is ranked 6th overall (5th passing, 17th rushing), but not doing so well in tems of sacks or takeaways—so I suppose they’re underachieving by some measures. Still a better defense than Philly or Los Gigantes can muster.

    • sidepull - Dec 7, 2015 at 4:57 PM

      Can we win two games in a row?

  5. goback2rfk - Dec 7, 2015 at 9:53 AM

    This is a scary one. Skins play like crap on primetime along with Cousins. Kirk has never one 2 games in a row in his career. I think the Skins will win but I am certainly concerned they may not. A lot of injuries, a lot of doubt, many reasons this game may get crunked up.

    • bangkokben - Dec 7, 2015 at 11:27 AM

      On the other side of the ledger, Kirk and the team has played very well at home. In year’s where the team has made the playoffs – or at least hasn’t sucked, they’ve played well on Primetime. 2012 beat Dallas at home on Sunday night. In Gibbs last year the team was 5-7 and Todd Collins beat the Bears on Thursday night football, They then beat the Giants in the meadowlands the following Sunday night, and then the next Sunday night were back at it beating the Vikings in Minnesota. They won three primetime games in 17 days – and we were saying the same crap about night games before that streak.

      • bangkokben - Dec 7, 2015 at 11:38 AM

        I forgot that they also beat the Giants that same December 2012 on Monday Night. Bottom line: the road to the playoffs for our Redskins has come when they have won “meaningful” night games in December. So here we are with a meaningful night game in December.

    • Trey Gregory - Dec 7, 2015 at 1:05 PM

      I’m not trying to make excuses here, but looking at stuff like Cousins never winning two in a row and our prime time games is a little misleading.

      Kirk has only started 11 games this season, not a whole lot of opportunities to win two in a row. I know there was last year, but he’s playing like a different guy since last year and the team overall is better. I would say this team struggled earlier in the season too. It was Cousins and the rest of the team: the potential was there but they hadn’t put it all together. Add that to the brutal road schedule, if the team’s weren’t undefeated when we played them, they were hot (for the most part). While we have improved, some of them have completely fallen apart. That doesn’t mean they weren’t playing good football at the time.

      The same logic goes for prime time games. This roster, top to bottom, has been BAD the last couple years. We have a much more solid squad now. The team can help carry the QB, even if he isn’t perfect. That wasn’t the case in the past. We also beat Dallas, in their house, with Romo (for most of the game), in prime time last year. We can do this.

      But I think it will be close. Dallas is a better team than their record. The run game and defense have to step up. But I still don’t think we win this game unless Cousins and the passing game are on point.

  6. rkirkcousins - Dec 7, 2015 at 10:57 AM

    I think we’ve got this one. The team is coming together and I think we’ve got momentum and talent edge on our side. I’m very interested to see what Kirk does in this game. I think he’s really coming together.

  7. colmac69 - Dec 7, 2015 at 12:06 PM

    Just like last wk got gd feeling for tonight

    Solid offense with no t/overs think we score 20+…..gd start and get ahead…get cassel playing catch up think we get couple mistakes

    Similar def to last wk….physical with receivers…don’t xpect much success with pass rush tonight but get basics right like tackling etc

    Match them for intensity…this is last chance for dallas…they have to win or its goodnight….

    Not xactly rocket scientist stuff but u win more often than not by being gd fundamental team and not making major mistakes

    24-14 httr

  8. JOHNNY B - Dec 7, 2015 at 12:55 PM

    I knew that the Eagles were going to win their defense is good and the Patriots have lost half of their offense. So not sure why everyone is so surprised. They still are not a good team on offense. Special teams and the defense won that one. The good thing was that I won a grand. We control our season and only we can screw it up but not tonight. Redskins 24 Dallas 15.

  9. ajbus1 - Dec 7, 2015 at 1:29 PM

    It sucks that the Eagles won but let’s not give them too much credit. The Pats had an epic fail on special teams; it took a 24 yd blocked punt return, an 83 yd punt return AND a 99 yard interception return to beat the Pats. They had less yards, less time of possession, and less first downs amongst other things. I know the most important stat is the W but the Eagles definitely had the ball bounce their way yesterday.

    • ET - Dec 7, 2015 at 4:19 PM

      Yeah, NE played an unusually bad game and the Eagles caught some breaks. But let’s not pretend the Skins are significantly better than the rest of the NFC East. They’re not, at least not at the moment. Washington is still struggling for consistency, just like NY, Philly and the Cowboys. Each team has enough talent to upend an otherwise good team that’s hit a rough patch. I don’t begrudge the Eagles one game :)

      • sidepull - Dec 7, 2015 at 5:00 PM

        Dont overact to a NE loss and exaggerate the Egirls win. Anomaly.

  10. berniebernard666 - Dec 7, 2015 at 9:28 PM

    Game over. The Cowboys score first so the game is already over. Kirk Cousins is NOT a starting QB and Joe Barry’s 4 man PREVENT DEFENSE pass rush cannot prevent anything except it prevents the Redskins from winning. I have said that now for 10 weeks and NOBODY IS LISTENING….HELLOOOOOO. Barry relies on bad quarterback play and when a quarterback makes a good throw the Skins cannot stop anybody.

    So the Redskins had first play for 1 week in the 2015 season. SCOTT M….you have a HELL of a lot of work to do this offseason including finding a New QB and a new Defensive Coordinator.

    • Trey Gregory - Dec 7, 2015 at 9:31 PM

      Wow Bernie, overact much?

      Of course nobody is listening. Do you really think Scot or Barry get in here and read your posts. Still a half + to play. Relax.

  11. berniebernard666 - Dec 7, 2015 at 9:30 PM

    Redskins are the MOST disappointing team in the NFL and actually are the most embarrassing for its fans. They cannot win in PRIME TIME and actually they embarrass us. Everybody beats the Cowboys EXCEPT the Redskins and they won’t beat them until they find a QB and a defensive coordinator who believes in the blitz.

    • JOHNNY B - Dec 7, 2015 at 9:42 PM

      You are a idiot

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