The Dallas Cowboys are set to take on the Washington Football Team in Week 14 this Sunday. Normally, Cowboys fans wouldn’t have much to fear about this NFC East rival, but the WFT is on quite a hot streak.
In miraculous fashion, the WFT is on a four-game winning streak, while the Cowboys have lost three of their last five games. Now, let’s be clear that Washington isn’t winning any of these games in dominating fashion. Regardless, they are still finding ways to win games they have no business winning.
This matchup is a big deal for both teams in terms of the NFC East division race. If the WFT can extend their win streak to five, they boost their chances of making the playoffs. If the Cowboys win, they can wrap up their dominance of the NFC East with a nice little bow.
America’s Team is getting some key players back from injury and the COVID-19 list, which should help give them a leg up in this game. But you can never count out a team that’s on a hot streak. Here are some key players Cowboys’ fans should keep an eye out for in Week 14.
3 Washington Football Team players that Cowboys’ fans should be concerned about
3. Daron Payne, DT
It’s no secret that the Cowboys have been struggling with the run this season. RB1 Ezekiel Elliott has been battling a bruised knee, and even though Tony Pollard has shown flashes of brilliance, the run game has been dismal.
Outside of Pollard’s 58-yard touchdown and CeeDee Lamb’s 33-yard run in Week 13 against the New Orleans Saints, Dallas accumulated 58 yards on 19 carries. In the last three games, Pollard and Elliott have rushed for only 201 yards on 54 carries. This isn’t the reliable run attack we have seen out of the Cowboys. Add in Pollard’s lingering foot injury, and the picture might get worse before it gets better.
Pair the struggling run with an improving rush defense for WFT, and you’ve got a problem. Through 13 weeks, Washington was averaging 91.3 rushing yards allowed per game. Now, they rank third in the league. In the last three weeks, they’ve gotten even nastier, allowing a minuscule 73.7 yards per game.
WFT has been led by defensive tackle Daron Payne. Payne’s 90.2 overall PFF grade places him second only behind defensive superstar Aaron Donald. Payne has 37 tackles and 2.5 sacks so far this year. And, if Payne can’t do the damage against the run, his next-door neighbor Jonathan Allen will be right there to help, too. Allen has 6.5 sacks and 38 tackles on the year.
Here’s to hoping that the 10-day break for the Cowboys gave Kellen Moore and the offense some time to figure out how to improve the run. We also hope it gave Elliott some much-needed time off to heal his ailing knee.