Win it and their in it. It’s that simple for the Dallas Cowboys playing the Washington Redskins in the regular season finale this Sunday night. It’s much easier said than done. The Cowboys makeshift defense will be hard pressed to stop the powerful Redskin offense led by rookie star quarterback, Robert Griffin III.
These two teams played recently on Thanksgiving Day at Cowboy Stadium. The Redskins led at halftime by a score of 28-3 but the Cowboys battled back only to fall short, losing 38-31. In that game, Cowboy’s Quarterback, Tony Romo, ended up throwing the ball an unimaginable 62 times completing 37, with 3 Touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Cowboy running back, Felix Jones, believe it or not was the team’s leading rusher gaining only 14 yards on 6 attempts. Talk about being out of balance.
Conversely, Robert Griffin III, only threw the ball 27 times, completing 19, with 4 touchdowns and only 1 interception. Their running back, Alfred Morris, rushed 24 times for 113 yards and 1 touchdown. Talk about balance.
To win the Dallas Cowboys will have to do the following:
They cannot afford to get far behind in this one. The Redskins fans will already be in a frenzied state at the start of this game and if the Redskins jump out to a big early lead; the crowd noise will become another detriment to a struggling Cowboy offensive line. This will undoubtedly lead to false start penalties and blocking assignment confusion from this already mistake prone unit.
Dallas needs to establish a running game by calling running back, DeMarco Murray’s number at least 18 times. The Cowboys are 9-0, going back to last year, when DeMarco Murray carries at least 18 times in a game. Additionally, this will help the Cowboys control the clock and keep the Redskin offense off the field.
Limit the stupid penalties. The Cowboys lead the league in penalties. More than 8 penalties in this game, more than likely means they lose this one. This stalls drives and puts the offense in third and long situations.
They must protect the ball. This used to be limited to Tony Romo interceptions and fumbles. Unfortunately, now we must include DeMarco Murray in this sentence since he has now fumbled at critical moments in the last two games.
The Cowboy defense must bend not break. That is the best you can hope for with their current starting defensive personnel. They need to find a way to force the Redskins into kicking a couple of field goals in lieu of giving up touchdowns.
This also means don’t give up the big play. In their last meeting the Cowboys gave up two long touchdowns for 68 and 59 yards to Redskin wide receivers. The Cowboys can keep their safeties deep in this game since its more than likely RG III will not be a running threat with his injured knee.
Where oh Ware are you? I know he is hurt but this is the stuff that makes legends. Cowboy’s linebacker, DeMarcus Ware, needs to come up big in this game and especially in the fourth quarter. A repeat by fellow linebacker, Anthony Spencer’s 2 sack performance against the Redskins wouldn’t hurt either.
Lastly, the Cowboys need to keep their timeouts for the offense driving down the field late in the fourth quarter. This game may very well be decided by which offense has the ball last. The Cowboys can ill afford to burn timeouts because the defense has 9 or 12 men on the field. The same goes for the offense using a timeout to avoid a delay of game penalty.
All year long, Cowboy fans have waited for a near perfect game from this team. I am sorry to say this is not going to be the one.
However, if they can accomplish all of the attainable goals mentioned above; they will win this game and be NFC East Champions. Wow what a season.