Cowboys vs Washington Week 14: History, players to watch, gut projection

Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /
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Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys
Dalton Schultz #86 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

Cowboys vs Washington: “Under the Radar” Players

Dallas Cowboys: Dalton Schultz, TE

Washington Football Team: Curtis Samuel, WR

Boy, oh boy, was the Jayron Kearse breakout performance pick spot on last week! Did he ever show up?! Kearse showed out with nine total tackles, two for loss, and an unbelievable toe-drag interception. I can only hope this week prevails just as well.

This is only the second game in a while that the Cowboys will get a truly healthy trio of Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup. So why did I pick Dalton Schultz? I picked him because it doesn’t make sense, it shouldn’t make sense, but that’s just how these things go. Well, it sort of makes sense. Let me explain.

With the running back situation just a little dicey, my gut tells me that the WFT is going to be sitting in some nickel and dime packages to not get hurt by the three-headed monster at wide receiver. Dak Prescott and Kellen Moore either know this, or should recognize it early, and take 7-10-yard easy completions over the middle to Schultz all day long.

No need to force it to the outside weapons when the easy throw to Schultz can move the ball down the field. Factor in the wind potentially being an issue, underneath throws may be most effective. I think Schultz finds the end zone once and gives us roughly 8 catches for 75 yards with a good chunk of those moving the sticks.

Washington is not loaded like the Cowboys are offensively, but they can hurt you. Although a division rival, I am a huge fan of Terry McLaurin. That dude is gritty, makes the contested catch, and for being a bit smaller, welcomes every hit. He can play.

The Cowboys match up well with him by letting Trevon Diggs do his thing in man coverage. With that matchup outside, I wouldn’t be afraid to routinely put seven defenders in the box and dare Heinicke to throw it.

With tight end Logan Thomas going on the injured reserve, the secondary threats will need to come from elsewhere. I think Curtis Samuel is a name to look out for on Sunday. He has been quiet this year with some injuries. But think of him as a knock-off Deebo Samuel. In his previous two years, which were with the Panthers, he had no fewer than 54 receptions and 19 carries. He can hurt a team in multiple ways.

Coming off of an injury and getting back into the swing of things, I think the WFT works Samuel back into the offense in a multitude of ways. The Cowboys would be wise to be prepared for Samuel in motions, on reverses, and even lining up in the backfield. Samuel has big-play explosiveness, but limit this, and the Cowboys defense could feast.