coleryan Posts:13321 Followers:19
On 10/08/2013 07:09 PM in NFL

Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys: Preview and Pick

Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys: Preview and Pick

The NFC East has not had a good showing so far this year. With bad starts to the season by teams like the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins, the future does not look bright. However despite the slow starts, these teams do still have a chance at winning the division. For that to happen, the Washington Redskins will have to win a game against the Dallas Cowboys in this week’s edition of Sunday night football.

Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys Odds

The NFL betting line for this game opened up with the Cowboys listed as (-3.5) point favorites after coming off an impressive loss, if there is such a thing, against the Denver Broncos. Sports bettors were impressed with the loss and the great play of Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo as nearly 70 percent of the public is betting on the home team. Because of this money coming in on the Cowboys, the line can now be found at (-5.5) at several of the top rated sportsbooks.

The Redskins are coming off a bye and now have given Robert Griffin III, more time to rest. The Cowboys hope to ride the hot hand of Romo in this game. Tony Romo is the first player in Cowboys history to pass for 500 yards in a game. Each of the six games in which Dallas had an individual throw for at least 410 yards came in a loss. He is known for throwing an interception or two. Romo's lone interception Sunday was the 23rd fourth-quarter interception of his career. The Cowboys have lost each of the last eight games in which Romo has thrown a fourth-quarter interception, with six of those eight losses coming by seven points or less. If he does that again this week, the division can get much closer.

The latest football betting trends for this game reveal some interesting wagering angles for this rivalry. Washington is 4-1 straight up in its last 5 games on the road and Dallas is 0-5 against the spread (ATS) in its last 5 games when playing at home against Washington. The total has gone under in 6 of Washington's last 9 games when playing Dallas and the total has gone under in 4 of Washington's last 6 games. The Redskins have stumbled losing 4 of the last five games, but they are still 8-4 in the last 12 games overall.

Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys Pick

With plenty of time to go before kickoff of this week, I will wait to announce my pick when we get closer to game day. Check back the day of the event for my pick on this great game.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-4-0
coleryan Posts:13321 Followers:19
10/09/2013 11:28 PM

The Washington Redskins are getting closer to being a healthy team, at least when it comes to their starters.

Running back Alfred Morris (bruised ribs) and tight end Jordan Reed (quad contusion) practiced in full Wednesday and, barring a setback, will play Sunday at Dallas. Tight end Logan Paulsen (sprained left knee) was limited but said earlier in the week that he's cautiously optimistic about returning.

Backup nose tackle Chris Neild (calf) did not practice and reserve linebacker Brandon Jenkins (ankle) was limited.

Defensive end Jarvis Jenkins and linebacker Rob Jackson, both of whom missed the first four games because of NFL-mandated drug suspensions, practiced. However, coach Mike Shanahan said he's not yet sure what role they'll have Sunday. Eventually, Jenkins is expected to return to the starting lineup at left end; Jackson will be a backup to outside linebackers Ryan Kerrigan and Brian Orakpo.

For Dallas, running back Lance Dunbar (hamstring), linebacker Justin Durant (groin) and defensive end Edgar Jones (groin) did not practice. Receiver Dwayne Harris (hip) and defensive tackle Jason Hatcher (neck) were limited.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-4-0
coleryan Posts:13321 Followers:19
10/09/2013 11:29 PM

Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III got in a little film study, took a little break and returned from the bye week with a renewed sense of what he must do. "Get back to being myself," he said.

Griffin wasn't just talking about football. After an offseason spent rehabilitating his surgically-repaired right knee, making sure he could play in the opener, Griffin needed time to relax and get away from football.

But getting back to himself also means returning to his playmaking days of 2012. That's why when he said every player needed to evaluate what he must do, he said his conclusion on himself was, "going out and being the playmaker they need me to be."

Griffin did not have a horrible first four games. He completed 62.4 percent of his passes for 1,202 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions (though he threw only five all of last season). But he did not make an impact early in games, and that helped create a deficit.

Just getting away for a few days, including a trip to Williamsburg, Va., helped Griffin.

"I feel good, great actually. Rejuvenated," he said. "Everyone has a lot more energy coming off the bye week. As a team we're all moving on from those first four weeks. We got the win. Aside from that, we didn't play like the way we know we can play. So we have to get back to doing those things."

Griffin also talked about his growth from the opener, acknowledging that he had to work through "growing pains," a result of missing offseason practices and preseason games because of his Jan. 9 knee surgery. And he said of the knee, "the more time you have after [the surgery], the better it'll be."

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-4-0
coleryan Posts:13321 Followers:19
10/09/2013 11:33 PM

5 questions facing Washington:

1. Can they slow down Dallas’ offense?
The Cowboys have scored 30 or more points in three of their five games. Denver’s defense looked atrocious against Dallas on Sunday in allowing 48 points. Dallas does have a lot of talent, but the Redskins' familiarity helps. Last season they swept the Cowboys by applying enough pressure on quarterback Tony Romo and mostly keeping him contained in the pocket. They accomplished this with stunts, linebacker blitzes up the middle and off the edge. Romo still got outside on occasion, but the Redskins forced him into mistakes. He threw six interceptions in his last nine games, five coming against the Redskins.

Also, corner DeAngelo Hall must, once again, be physical with receiver Dez Bryant -- Hall is confident in his ability to stay with Bryant downfield. Problem is, the Cowboys have other weapons and the Redskins have played poorly against good offenses this season. And know this: Romo has thrown five touchdown passes to no interceptions against a five-man rush or more with a 111.8 passer rating; 10 of his 13 sacks have come against four-man rushes, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

2. Can Robert Griffin III repeat his huge day?
He’s a different player than he was in that Thanksgiving Day game when he got into a zone (304 yards, four touchdowns). Griffin made some unreal throws in that win. But he’s facing a worse defense than he did against Oakland, where he started to show more signs of his old self -- as well as signs of growth in escaping trouble, but keeping his eyes downfield and making plays. What Griffin needs is a fast start, something he has not had in any game this season. Dallas ranks 31st against the pass and not just because it faced Peyton Manning. The Cowboys were 27th entering that game.

3. Will Alfred Morris play?
He practiced all of Monday and usually if there are questions about players they sit that one out. But Wednesday is a big day; if he practices full, then it looks good for Morris. He finished his rookie regular season with a 200-yard effort against Dallas. Yes, much has changed for Dallas since that game (the Cowboys are now in a 4-3 front; they’ve been better stopping the run at 3.8 yards per carry). But with the potency of Dallas offense, the Redskins could use a strong game on the ground to control the ball. Besides, the Redskins do a good job manipulating defenses once they start running well. Also, given Dallas’ troubles covering backs -- linebacker Bruce Carter in particular -- perhaps this is another chance for Roy Helu to shine on third down.

4.Will they use more hurry up?
Perhaps. But the Redskins did so against Oakland because of how varied the Raiders' fronts were; they were constantly showing a different one. Dallas does not do that, certainly not to that extent; the Cowboys will rotate DeMarcus Ware between right and left end and he’ll often stand up at end. Could they use this strategy to change the pace or create a spark? Sure. But this is a defense that already has allowed three 400-yard passers. The Redskins should be able to create a spark without the hurry up. But it is a good changeup tactic.

5.What happens if they lose?
With so many games left you can never officially count a team out. However, this is (obviously) a huge game if the Redskins want to reach their preseason expectations. Then you add on the other aspects: Does this season then go downhill fast, with upcoming games against Chicago and Denver? If that’s the case, what does owner Dan Snyder do with coach Mike Shanahan, who has one year left on his deal? Potentially, he could go four years with just one (extended) stretch of (very) good football. Yes, that’s getting ahead of ourselves because there’s so much time left. But a 1-4 start will lead to serious questions about the direction of the franchise. Again.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-4-0
coleryan Posts:13321 Followers:19
10/09/2013 11:34 PM

For the first time in two weeks, Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin was a full participant in practice on Wednesday. Austin, who missed the last two games with a strained hamstring, is expected to play in Sunday night's game against the Washington Redskins.

Safety Barry Church (broken nose) was also listed on the injury report but he was a full participant in practice.

Defensive tackle Jason Hatcher (stinger) and wide receiver Dwayne Harris (hip) were limited in practice. Each player is expected to play in Sunday's game.

Linebacker Justin Durant (groin), running back Lance Dunbar (hamstring) and defensive end Edgar Jones (groin) did not participate. Jones and Durant missed last week's game against the Denver Broncos.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-4-0
coleryan Posts:13321 Followers:19
10/09/2013 11:36 PM

The Dallas Cowboys released veteran safety Will Allen on Tuesday.

Allen started the first two games of the season before he was replaced by rookie J.J. Wilcox prior to the Sept. 22 win against the St. Louis Rams. In the season opener against the New York Giants, Allen was credited with 17 tackles, two pass deflections and an interception.

The Cowboys have not decided how to fill the roster spot.

Allen was signed to a one-year deal worth $840,000, the veteran minimum salary. He received a signing bonus of $65,000, and $555,000 of his base salary was guaranteed. Allen played for defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and special-teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia in Tampa Bay and was viewed as a solid locker-room presence.

The Cowboys have four safeties on the roster: Barry Church, Wilcox, Danny McCray and undrafted rookie Jeff Heath. Church suffered a broken nose in Sunday's loss to the Denver Broncos but will not miss a game.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-4-0
coleryan Posts:13321 Followers:19
10/09/2013 11:36 PM

The Dallas Cowboys broke out their “empty” package more times in Sunday’s loss to the Denver Broncos than they had all season and had a ton of success.

Tony Romo completed 12 of 14 passes for 272 yards out of empty and was sacked only once. His shortest completion out of either a four-wide receiver, one-tight end, no- running back set or three-wide receiver, two-tight end, no-running back set was for 10 yards. He had four completions of 26 yards or more.

Coach Jason Garrett has lauded the offensive line play this season, saying it’s the strongest they have been in years. They have been fairly stout up the middle with Travis Frederick flanked by Ronald Leary, Brian Waters or Mackenzy Bernadeau at guard.

The faith the Cowboys have in their line could mean more “empty” looks.

“That’s been a huge difference for our football team, is the ability of those guys to block and handle the one-on-one matchups and the different things that defensive lines present you,” Garrett said, “and it really shows up throughout our passing game.”

The spread field gives more room for Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams and Jason Witten. It also increases the workload for Cole Beasley underneath.

“The structure of what we’re trying to do in our passing game, whether it’s empty or anything else, is to give the quarterback answers,” Garrett said. “Whatever they do want to play, he finds the right answer and you attack them. I think empty was a good illustration of that [Sunday].”

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-4-0
coleryan Posts:13321 Followers:19
10/10/2013 01:26 PM

The Redskins may have started 0-3, but a win in their Week Six date with the Cowboys could see them in first place in the race for .500 that the NFC East has looked like it will be to this point in the season.

Their chances of getting that win are looking better with running back Alfred Morris feeling fine after being forced to the sideline in a Week Four win over the Raiders because of bruised ribs. Morris said he’ll probably wind up wearing extra padding around his torso to protect against aggravating the injury, but that he’s otherwise ready to go for the NFC East clash.

“All is well with me,” Morris said, via Tarik El-Bashir of CSNWashington.com. “There are some remnants of it. But it’s nothing serious, nothing that will hinder me out there playing, so I’m not worried about it.”

Morris had a lot of success against the Cowboys in 2012, running for 313 yards and four touchdowns in two Redskins wins that proved vital to winning the division last year. Another big game and another Washington victory would leave things looking a lot better for the team in 2013 than things looked after those first three losses.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-4-0
coleryan Posts:13321 Followers:19
10/11/2013 11:51 AM

Despite a record-setting performance from Tony Romo, a late interception and the Dallas Cowboys' inability to get stops ultimately cost them last weekend.

If last year's efforts against Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins are any indication, the Cowboys could have their hands full again Sunday night.

Dallas tries to avoid a third consecutive loss and third in a row to the visiting Redskins, who are hoping to see RG3 return to form following their bye.

Romo went 25 of 36 for a franchise-record 506 yards and career high-tying five touchdowns last Sunday, but his INT with under two minutes left set Denver up for a game-ending field goal and a 51-48 victory.

Jason Witten, Dez Bryant and rookie Terrance Williams combined for 413 receiving yards and four scores.

"Romo played the best game that I've ever seen him play in his career - not only from the standpoint of how he executed, not only how he created plays, but his leadership," owner Jerry Jones told the team's official website. "If we can have that type of play from him and others, especially on the offensive side of the ball, I think we'll win most of our football games left."

The Cowboys, though, will almost certainly need to shore things up defensively if they hope to avoid losing three straight for the first time since a five-game skid Oct. 10-Nov. 7, 2010. Dallas, which surrendered 506 yards of total offense in a 30-21 loss at San Diego in Week 4 before giving up 517 to the Broncos, ranks 28th in total defense with 409.2 yards allowed per game.

"The fact that we weren't able to win when the offense scored 48 points is absolutely unacceptable," linebacker Sean Lee said. "Right now, we're not a good defense. Two weeks in a row, we've given up way too many points and way too many yards. Until we get better, we're not going to win."

The Cowboys also encountered their fair share of issues against the Redskins (1-3) last season, allowing 66 total points in a pair of losses. While Griffin hasn't looked the same since tearing his ACL in the playoffs, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett is preparing for what he believes will be a difficult matchup.

"He's certainly coming off of that knee injury, there's no question about that," Garrett said. "He's wearing that brace. You do see him throw the ball from the pocket, but again, he's made plays on the move. He's a dangerous football player, there's no question about that."

"It's a real challenge. ... and he's a big part of it."

After rushing for 815 yards and seven touchdowns in his stellar rookie season, Griffin has run the ball just 18 times for 72 yards thus far. The former Baylor standout, though, feels rejuvenated after getting five days off during the bye week and could start to use his legs more going forward.

"The only way to come back from an injury like that is to play," Griffin said. "I feel good about what we were able to do from a groundwork standpoint, building up each game. But now it's time for us to make that breakthrough, and we have to do it.

"Whenever you set a precedent of how you are going to play week-in, week-out like we did last year, there's going to be high expectations because that's what you want. I don't think we've disappointed anybody more than ourselves the first four weeks of the season."

The Redskins entered their bye with some momentum after winning 24-14 at Oakland on Sept. 29. Griffin threw for 227 yards and a score and was turnover-free for the first time this year.

Despite its record, Washington is one-half game behind Dallas and Philadelphia for first place in the wide-open NFC East.

"The start of the season didn't go the way we wanted to, but we got the win before the bye, and that's what we've got to keep doing," Griffin said. "We know we can still go out and win this division. We've got to take it one week at a time, and it starts with the Cowboys."

Alfred Morris appears good to go after leaving Week 4's win with bruised ribs. While the second-year running back is averaging 5.3 yards per carry, he has received just 14.0 rushing attempts per game, way down from last season's mark of 20.9.

Morris ran for 313 yards and four touchdowns against Dallas last year.

With Cowboys receiver Miles Austin (hamstring) out the last two weeks, Williams has stepped up with 11 receptions for 222 yards and a score.

"I think how he's playing with more confidence shows up anywhere," Garrett said of Williams, one of Griffin's favorite targets at Baylor. "He beats defenders. He catches the ball and makes contested catches."

Austin returned to practice Wednesday and could play in this game.

Dallas is 17-4 at home against Washington since 1992.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-4-0
coleryan Posts:13321 Followers:19
10/12/2013 10:39 AM

The Redskins listed defensive tackle Chris Neild (calf) as doubtful with linebacker Brandon Jenkins (ankle) and TE Logan Paulsen (knee) questionable.

Wide receiver Miles Austin (hamstring) should make his return for the Cowboys while linebacker Justin Durant (groin) is questionable. Running back Lance Dunbar (hamstring) and defensive end Edgar Jones (groin) won’t play for Dallas.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 9-4-0