Week 17: Dallas Cowboys At Washington Redskins
- QuarterbackTony Romo continues to try to rebuild his reputation and he will have his chance in this game against the Redskins. The winner of this game wins the NFC East, and Romo may have added motivation after the Cowboys were beaten so thoroughly by the Redskins on Thanksgiving in Dallas. Romo needs to get off early to have his best chance.RGIII is one of the most impressive rookie stories in years and he can earn his first divisional title if the Redskins can win this game. RGIII is a far better passer than many scouts thought. He also reads defenses like a 10-year veteran in addition to his spectacular running ability.
- OffenseThe Cowboys have plenty of talent on the offensive side. It’s been quite a turnaround for Dez Bryant, who made one rock-like decision after another earlier in the year. Bryant has cut down on his mistakes and has a ton of clutch plays. DeMarco Murray (foot) is not 100 percent, but he gives the Cowboys a decent threat on the ground.No doubt that the threat of RGIII running the ball must take up a big part of Rob Ryan’s defensive gameplan as the Cowboys prepare. However, Alfred Morris is a top power runner who is capable of punishing the defense. Santana Moss is a solid receiver at this point, but he’s not comparable to the most explosive receivers in the game.
- DefenseThe Cowboys have been mediocre on defense, ranking 14th overall, 14th against the pass and 15th against the run. Anthony Spencer has had an excellent year. He leads the team in tackles and also has a double-digit sack total. DeMarcus Ware should be at his best in this game and he will face a huge challenge from RGIII.The Redskins are not going to measure up to the best teams from a statistical point of view, as they rank 28th overall in defense and 30th against the pass. However, the Redskins have shown the ability to come up with key stops in big situations. Veteran linebacker London Fletcher is a sure tackler who leads the team in that category.
- Special TeamsThe Cowboys have been ordinary with their special teams coverage on both punt and kickoff returns. However, they believe that Bryant and Dwayne Harris are capable of coming up with explosive punt returns. Dan Bailey has been quite consistent for head coach Jason Garrett.Special teams looked like they would be disastrous for the Redskins early in the season, but they turned things around when they cut Billy Cundiff and brought in Kai Forbath to handle the placekicking chores. Sav Rocca is a solid punter for head coach Mike Shanahan.
Few would have thought the final game of the season between the Cowboys and the Redskins would have meant the NFC East title, but both teams have played well to put themselves in this position. The Cowboys are the better defensive team, but the Redskins have RGIII and that could be the difference.