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coleryan
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Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins

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On 12/17/2013 06:13 AM in NFL
The Dallas Cowboys are fighting for a playoff spot, while the Washington redskins are losing badly to end the season. However anything can happen when these two teams head out on the field because they have an intense rivalry. The Redskins seemed to have played much better with kirk Cousins at quarterback, while the Cowboys were having their biggest meltdown of the season. Read More Here

Check back all week as this thread will be updated on a regular basis with information on this game and a free pick by gameday!
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Pfile Nickname coleryan
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12/17/2013 03:02 PM

Just before kickoff each of the past two Sundays, a report about the dysfunction plaguing the Redskins has surfaced in the national media.

After this week’s 27-26 loss in Atlanta, though, Coach Mike Shanahan praised his team for remaining focused despite the outside “noise,” as he called it.

“You know, I can’t control that,” Shanahan said during his Monday news conference. “You know that as well as I do. All we can do is concentrate on the Dallas Cowboys or [last Sunday] the Atlanta Falcons. I thought our football team did a great job of concentrating on the job at hand. I thought the coaches did a great job of preparation during the week.”

Two weeks ago, there was an ESPN.com report about Shanahan and an alleged rift with Dan Snyder over the owner’s preferential treatment of quarterback Robert Griffin III. Three days ago, there was a CBSSports.com report about offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and the composition of the Redskins' coaching staff as well as another ESPN article about Mike Shanahan’s desire to return in 2014.

Each of the articles leaned heavily on anonymous sources, raising questions about the trend of damaging leaks originating from within the organization. Asked about the leaks, Shanahan hinted that some of the information could also be coming from former colleagues.

“I think we’ve got our players really playing right now, very hard, despite some of the distractions,” Shanahan said. “I think they’re handling it very good. I can’t do anything about those reports. I can guess where they come from. I know there’s a lot of people in my past or maybe Coach [Jim] Haslett’s past … not everybody’s happy, and when you do have three wins, it can be a little bit tough.”

“A lot of things do come out," he continued. "It’s part of this business, but you’ve got to be tough enough to work through it. And I think our organization and our football team is tough enough to work through it.”
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Pfile Nickname coleryan
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12/18/2013 04:22 PM
Much of this year Redskins fans have been unhappy with Alfred Morris' lack of carries in the secondnd half of games. After last week's loss to Green Bay, Dallas fans feel the same way.

In four career games against Washington, Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray has been held largely in check. His best effort came late in 2011, his rookie season, when he gained a combined 105 yards.

However, over his last two games this season, Murray has been a beast, accounting for more than 300 total yards and a touchdown. Despite his recent success, the Cowboys curiously stopped calling Murray's number last week against Green Bay.

In the first half last week, Murray was dominant, averaging more than 7 yards-per carry and carving up the Packers defense. But in the second half, the Cowboys got away from the run, and eventually choked away a 23-point lead.

Cowboys legend Emmitt Smith chimed in this week about the lack of second half calls for Murray.

"I'd be so mad. I really would be extremely mad, " Smith said. "And I'm mad just thinking about how we lost the game. Notice I said we lost the game. It's not like Green Bay took it from us. We actually gave them a chance to come back and play."

Washington fans may feel familiar with the sting of giving up on the run in the second half of games, something that numbers suggest has happened with second-year stalwart Alfred Morris. As a defense, the Redskins have had some success stopping the run, and historically perform well against Murray. It will be interesting to see how much action Murray sees on Sunday against the Skins, particularly in the second half.
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Pfile Nickname coleryan
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12/19/2013 02:42 PM
Even after two disastrous losses have left them a game back of the NFC East lead, the Dallas Cowboys control their playoff fate with two games to play.

They'll try to remain in that position with a road win Sunday over the Washington Redskins in their final game before a potential Week 17 showdown with Philadelphia for the division title.

The Cowboys (7-7) have made things difficult on themselves with consecutive losses to backup quarterbacks at Chicago and at home in particularly crushing style against Green Bay. But they now get a shot at the struggling Redskins (3-11), who have dropped six straight and are electing to end the year with their backup quarterback on the field.

"We still control what we feel like we can get done," quarterback Tony Romo said. "It just doesn't feel like it right now because we let it slip away."

Had Dallas held a 26-3 halftime lead Sunday against the Packers, it would be in position to clinch the NFC East this week. That didn't happen, so a loss or tie against the Redskins would keep the Cowboys out of the postseason for a fourth straight year if the Eagles beat Chicago on Sunday night. Otherwise, Dallas would play in Philadelphia next Sunday for the division crown.

"The trend's not going to continue because we're going to do what we need to do," said wide receiver Dez Bryant, who set season highs with 11 catches and 153 yards against the Packers. "This whole group in this locker room, we believe and we're going to keep working."

The 37-36 disappointment against Green Bay was the latest example of the Cowboys' late-season, end-of-game futility guided by Romo. He threw two interceptions in the final 3 minutes, the first of which set up the Packers' go-ahead touchdown with Dallas in position to potentially run out the clock with a five-point lead.

Romo and the Cowboys have now lost their last four December games after closing 2012 with back-to-back losses.

While the focus for the late-season struggles inevitably gets piled on Romo, the Dallas defense hasn't done him any favors. The Cowboys are 2-3 since Nov. 10, and they've allowed a league-worst 35.2 points in that time. They let Josh McCown and the Bears score on every possession until a late kneel-down in a 45-28 loss in Week 14.

"If you have the right kind of guys on your team, you handle the inevitable adversities of the season better than if you don't," Garrett said. "If you put emotion into something, passion into something and it doesn't work out, sometimes that's hard to swallow. But again, you have to regroup."

For the season, they're allowing a league-worst 427.3 yards per game, 297.4 of which come through the air.

They'll get a third straight shot at a backup quarterback in Washington, which chose last week to sit starter Robert Griffin III for the final three games of the season.

Kirk Cousins, however, didn't have much trouble moving the ball against Atlanta, another bottom-five defense, in a 27-26 loss that was a failed two-point conversion attempt away from ending the Redskins' losing streak. Cousins went 29 for 45 with 381 yards, three TDs and three of the team's seven turnovers in his first start of the year.

"Those are four plays right there, if they go differently, it was probably a much better result," said Cousins of the turnovers and failed conversion. "It's a tough one to swallow right now, and we'll learn from it and get better."

In 29 career starts, Griffin hasn't come within 50 yards of Cousins' yardage total, which opened the door for questions on whether there was room for competition entering next season. Redskins coach Mike Shanahan reiterated Griffin is the starter, but didn't shut that door entirely.

"The thing that you want on your football team is that you want competition, legitimate competition," Shanahan said. "The better players you have, the more people compete. When you look behind your shoulder and you know that guy's pretty good, it makes you work a little bit harder."

Cousins' audition continues against a Cowboys team that beat Griffin 31-16 on Oct. 13 in Dallas despite being outgained 433-213.

Dallas' defense, already in bad shape, placed linebacker Justin Durant on season-ending injured reserve Tuesday due to a hamstring injury suffered against the Packers.

The Cowboys played most of the game without their top four linebackers, and whether they'll be any healthier against the Redskins hinges on if Sean Lee can return from a neck injury.
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Pfile Nickname coleryan
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12/20/2013 10:32 PM
It will be another week without linebacker Sean Lee (neck) for the Cowboys. Cornerback Morris Claiborne (hamstring) said he’s out this week, although the Cowboys listed him as doubtful, and wide receiver Dwayne Harris (hamstring) will also miss the game. Wide receiver Terrance Williams (hamstring) is questionable for Dallas.

There are just three players on the Redskins injury report. Fullback Darrel Young (hamstring) is questionable and the only one whose status is in doubt.
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Pfile Nickname coleryan
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12/20/2013 10:57 PM
The Redskins have absolutely no pressure even if they lose Sunday's game. But it would be a nice send-off for the fans if they can knock off the Cowboys and make their season just as miserable.

So how can the Redskins accomplish the improbable task? It's easy: by protecting the football and getting running back Alfred Morris off to a strong start. Morris bounced back from three straight subpar performances by collecting 98 yards on 18 carries against the Falcons. Morris, who already eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for a second straight year, has rushed for 394 yards and five TDs in three meetings against the Cowboys.

Cousins, of course, has to play well even though the Cowboys are simply dreadful on defense. Dallas now has some film on the Michigan State product, both from the preseason and last Sunday. The Falcons struggled against Cousins, who became the first Redskins quarterback in the Super Bowl era to throw for 300 yards in each of his first two career starts.

He threw for 248 yards in the first half on Sunday, the most in a first half by a Redskins quarterback since Mark Rypien passed for 259 yards in the first two quarters versus Atlanta on Nov. 10, 1991.

"I didn't do enough to win," said Cousins, who was sacked just once. "Two interceptions that were on me, a fumble that you don't want to have, the two- point conversion the failed attempt there; I felt like that was on me.

"Those are four plays right there where if they go differently, it's probably a much better result. I felt like we had them on the ropes and I, we just didn't do enough to execute but it starts right here with me."

Dallas has a potent offense that carries its mediocre defense and Romo will be out to quiet his critics once again. With the help of Murray running the ball and wide receiver Dez Bryant controlling his temper on the sideline, Sunday's game should be a breeze for the Cowboys.

Bryant, of course, left the field with time on the clock in the fourth quarter and was upset with himself and the team for blowing a missed opportunity. He took to Twitter to discuss why he exited during another mental breakdown on the sideline.

"I walked back to the locker room because I was emotional...it had nothing to do with my teammates we had it... We fought and didn't finish"

Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware missed practice Wednesday and it's not considered serious. He has played the last five games after suffering a quadriceps strain against the Redskins in October and owns 11 sacks in the last 15 meetings with Washington. His presence alone could keep Cousins guessing and under pressure all afternoon.
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