MNF - Redskins at Cowboys
September 24, 2011
The NFC East usually sees plenty of storylines week in and week out, but it was turned up this week with Tony Romo and Michael Vick's injuries. Romo is expected to start on Monday night when the 1-1 Cowboys host the 2-0 Redskins, as the quarterback looks to capitalize on the dramatic comeback victory at San Francisco last Sunday.
The roles flipped around in the span of seven days after Jason Garrett's club blew a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter of a Week 1 loss to the Jets, as the Cowboys rallied from a 10-point deficit at Candlestick Park. Romo suffered bruised ribs and a punctured lung, but led Dallas on two scoring drives to force overtime, while connecting on a key 77-yard pass to Jesse Holley to set up the winning field goal. The Cowboys pushed as three-point favorites, bailing out Dallas backers when it looked like all hope with lost with Romo's injury.
Washington has turned into one of the league's early surprises after being picked by many to finish in the cellar of the NFC East. The Redskins are 2-0 following home victories over the Giants and Cardinals, capped off by overcoming a late 21-13 deficit in a 22-21 triumph against Arizona. Mike Shanahan's team failed to cover as four-point favorites, as the Redskins' offense ranks 11th in the league through two weeks by posting 393.5 yards/game (Dallas ranks fourth at 431 yards/game).
Past Romo's internal injuries, the Cowboys are dealing with the bumps and bruises of running back Felix Jones (shoulder) and wide receiver Dez Bryant (quad). Both Jones and Bryant are expected to play on Monday night, as the former Oklahoma State standout missed last week's win at San Francisco. Miles Austin is unlikely to play for the Cowboys with a hamstring injury, as the receiver hauled in nine passes for 143 yards and three touchdowns against the 49ers.
The Redskins covered two of three road games against division foes in Shanahan's first season as head coach, including a 33-30 loss at Dallas as 9 ½-point 'dogs. Washington compiled a 5-2 ATS record when receiving points on the road last season, while going 9-3-1 ATS since 2009 as an away 'dog.
Dallas isn't exactly the best team to back as a home favorite, putting together a 1-5 ATS mark last season, including 0-3 ATS record with Romo under center. The offense clicked in those three losses to the Bears, Titans, and Giants in 2010, but the defense was shredded by allowing an average of 34 ppg. The 'over' hit in all eight games at Cowboys Stadium, while cashing in 14 of the last 15 overall since Week 4 of last season.
America's Team is just 1-5 ATS since 2006 under the Monday night lights, including a 41-35 home loss to the Giants last season as 3 ½-point favorites. That defeat sent Dallas to 1-5 as Romo's season ended with a broken collarbone in the first half. The Cowboys are 0-4 ATS in this stretch against NFC East opponents, while facing Washington on Monday night for the first time since 2005. That loss still stings Cowboys fans after blowing a late 13-0 lead in a 14-13 setback to the rival Redskins as six-point favorites.
Washington's record against division foes on Monday night isn't any better with three double-digit defeats over the previous two seasons, including an embarrassing 59-28 whitewashing by the Eagles in 2010. The last time the Redskins were victorious on Monday night was in 2007 as Washington won at Philadelphia, 20-12 as seven-point underdogs.
The Cowboys are listed between 4 ½ and 5-point favorites, as the line will stabilize once the status of Romo, Jones, and Bryant becomes clearer. The total is set at 45 ½ as the game will kick off at 8:30 PM EST from Cowboys Stadium and will be televised nationally on ESPN .