Dec 30, 2015, 5:31 AM EDT
Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, December 30, four days before the Washington Redskins travel to Dallas to play the Cowboys.
Five first thoughts on Redskins vs. Cowboys
—Meaningless game? I hate the term and it frequently is misused. Every game there are 22 players out there on each of about 150 snaps or so competing to win and putting what they do out there on film for the NFL world to see. So it means a lot to the players and coaches. But clearly Jay Gruden needs to approach this game differently than he would one that was make or break for the playoffs since going all out to win the game could potentially harm their chances of winning in the playoffs.
—The Cowboys were in a similar situation to the one the Redskins are currently find themselves coming into the last game of 2014, which was at FedEx Field. They were locked into the third seed. But with three minutes and change left in the game, Tony Romo, who had missed time with a back injury earlier in the year, was still throwing passes and handing the ball off to DeMarco Murray, who had pretty much already clinched the NFL rushing title. Dez Bryant stuck around long enough to catch 4 passes for 99 yards and two touchdowns. Dallas won 44-17. The lack of rest didn’t seem to bother them. They beat the Lions and were a (properly) overturned Bryant pass reception away from advancing to the NFC title game.
—The Cowboys finally, officially put Romo on injured reserve earlier this month so he won’t play on Sunday. The quarterback will be Kellen Moore, who went from being the quarterback who ended his career at Boise State in 2011 as the QB with the most wins ever in college to and NFL player who didn’t take a snap until a couple of weeks ago. He started last week and led Dallas to two field goals against the Bills. I don’t think the Redskins will need much more than a couple of touchdowns to win against him.
—The player the Redskins might have to be most wary of is Lucky Whitehead. The Redskins had struggled to a 9-6 lead in the fourth quarter earlier this month and they looked to be in position to take control. But Whitehead took an end around and went 22 yards, starting off a drive that ended with the Cowboys tying field goal. And then after the Redskins tied the game on Kirk Cousins’ TD pass to DeSean Jackson, Whitehead returned the ensuing kickoff 46 yards, moving Dallas to within a couple of short pass completions of field goal range.
—The other guy to look out for is RB Darren McFadden. He’s just three yards short of having a 1,000-yard season and in his last three games he has 111, 100, and 99 yards. He’s not a great back but you have to figure that with Moore at quarterback we’ll see a lot of him on Sunday.
—Today’s schedule: Practice 11:35; Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins news conferences and player availability after practice, approx. 1:30
—Days until: Redskins @Cowboys 4; start of NFL playoffs 10
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