By Mike Fisher
FRISCO (105.3 The Fan) – In Week 1, the Cowboys lost at the buzzer, 20-19 to the New York Giants, and the Redskins were blown out by the Pittsburgh Steelers 38-16.
And now comes a “Rivalry Game,’’ an NFC East dual between the division’s last two champions … and somebody is about to start 0-2.
“I’m not used to losing at all,’’ said running back Ezekiel Elliott, the rookie from Ohio State. “But I think I’ve done a good job realizing you’re not going to win every game in this league.”
It’s a smart, measured response … but you don’t want to get too comfortable with losing. NFL teams that start 0-2 end up turning things around and making the playoffs only 12 percent of the time. So while there are 16 “must-games’’ in a season, this Sunday’s noon start at Washington is a pressure cooker for all involved.
Both teams rely on relative kids at the two key offensive spots. Dallas’ quarterback is Dak Prescott, making only his second NFL start after a solid showing in the opener (227 yards on 25-for-45 passing) in which he could’ve used more red-zone help from receivers Cole Beasley and Dez Bryant. The Washington QB is Kirk Cousins, who threw two interceptions and no touchdowns in the Redskins’ opening loss.
Elliott has “star’’ written all over him but managed only 51 yards and a 2.6-yard average on 20 carries for the Cowboys in Week 1. His Washington counterpart, Matt Jones, also struggled, rushing only seven times for 24 yards for a 3.4-yard average.
Both Prescott and Elliott have this week told the DFW media that it’s “not time to panic.’’ And they are right. But it is time to win. The loser of this game digs itself a traditionally deep hole. The winner could find itself in a first-place tie in the very winnable NFC East.
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