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2016 Week 12 - Redskins @ Cowboys

Blognosticator - Neophyte

Dallas Week.

The very phrase conjures up images of Riggins, Hollywood Henderson, George Allen, Danny White, Dave Butz, Clint Longley, Darryl Grant, flex defenses, Hogs, Tom Landry, Santana Moss, Dorsett getting caught by Darrell on Monday night, and bouncing stands at RFK faster than you can rub any genies lamp.

Anyone associated with the Skins knows this is important but honestly, it hasn’t meant a whole lot for some time due to the relative sad state affairs at both Ashburn and Valley Ranch.

This year is different. This year it has meaning. And lots of it.

Dallas comes into this match 9-1, the only team in the whole of the NFL sporting a record with less than 2 losses. For those of your keeping tracking at home that is better than Denver (7-3), better than New England (8-2), and better than Seattle (7-2-1). Why did I mention those 3 teams? They just happen to have won the last 3 Super Bowls, that’s why.

By comparison the Skins come in 6-3-1, which is a far sight short of the lofty heights Dallas is enjoying, but don’t let the record fool you. Our burgundy clad lads are a couple of muffed FGs and an INT in the End Zone away from being tied with Dallas. I find it a little hard to type because I nearly don’t believe it myself but the truth is that the only game this season Washington hasn’t been in was the opener against Pittsburgh, and that feels like an eon ago.

The keys to this game aren’t a mystery. Really only the names change from year to year but the keys remain the same.

The team that runs the ball the most effectively is likely to win and on paper that certain appears to give an edge to Dallas with first round pick Ezekiel Elliott leading the league with a gaudy 1102 yards in 10 games. For those of you who track such things that puts him on pace for 1760 yards for the season, just 48 short of the 33 year old rookie rushing record held by Eric Dickerson. Seems pretty impressive and frankly, anyone who has watched the Skins defend the run, with any kind of objectivity, these last weeks has to be more than a little concerned. Elliott could be looking at a big day.

Having said that, the Skins running game is showing signs of real life for the first time under Gruden (who I had honestly thought had forgotten that running the ball was even legal). Our own rookie sensation, the undrafted Tulane product called Fat Rob, is putting up good numbers of his own. In fact, he is actually averaging slightly more ypc than Elliott, 5.0 against 4.9. It could be argued that if the sure handed Mr. Kelley had been handling the rock the whole year the Skins might be the 9-1 team and Dallas the team looking up at us in the race for home field in the playoffs.

The flip side of running the ball is stopping the run. On the face of things Dallas appears to have the edge here as well as they rank 3rd in the league against the run while Washington ranks a considerably more pedestrian 22nd. Dig a little deeper though and you discover that teams have run the ball against Dallas a good bit less than anyone else in the league, an average of 2.5 less attempts per game in fact. This owes to the Cowboys typically being ahead in their games and other teams trying to catch up.

The two look a bit alike in that their offenses have been the stars of the show and the defenses have just done what it took to win, although the Dallas D is ranked 5th in points allowed per game, the only defensive stat I really care about. Our defense takes the ball away a little more than they do but our offense tends to give it up more as well so our relative takeaway differential is close…+3 for Dallas and +1 for Washington.
The Redskins need to come out and hit Prescott early. He hasn’t played like a rookie but he has still only played 10 games in the NFL. Joe Barry has got to find a way to disguise things and confuse Dak on passing downs, allowing the front 7 to add to the 27 sacks they have recorded this season (5th in the league). Dallas’ rookie QB has made few mistakes this season so this will be a tall order.

By contrast, Capt Kirk has been more generous with the ball. He is going to have to not throw to the guys with stars on the helmets for the Skins to have a chance. Washington likely would have won the first matchup of these two teams in Week 2 if Cousins hadn’t thrown that late pick in the end zone and Dallas would have been the team starting 0-2, not Washington. Who knows where things would have gone from there?
I know I haven’t said anything anyone reading this doesn’t already know. It’s always the same when these two meet.


-Crowder goes over 100 yards, has another receiving TD and nearly breaks off a punt return for a TD.

-Norman picks off Prescott for just the 3rd time this season.

-Elliott hangs 150 yards on our Defense.

-Desean Jackson puts up another 50+ yard TD catch.

Skins come from behind in the 4th quarter to win it 31-28.

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As we enjoy today's conversations, let's remember our dear friends 'Docsandy', Sandy Zier-Teitler, and 'Posse Lover', Michael Huffman, who would dearly love to be here with us today! We love and miss you guys ❤

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