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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Demarcus Lawrence, Dallas Cowboys
Demarcus Lawrence, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /

Cowboys vs Washington: Gut projection

Prediction: Cowboys 27, Washington Football Team 17

I expect a bit of an old-school, gritty NFC East feel to this game. Both teams know there is a lot on the line in the division and playoff race. The Cowboys don’t want this division race to get close and hear media talk of a collapse. Washington needs this game to continue their chase down of the Cowboys and keep afloat for the Wild Card.

Washington has allowed the third-fewest rushing yards while giving up the fourth-most passing yards. Quite the difference in defensive output. They have also given up the most passing touchdowns in the league. These statistics bode well for the Cowboys.

Attack Washington with Cooper, Lamb, and Gallup being fully healthy and keep them honest with the backs. With Zeke just barely coming off of a knee injury that really hobbled him and the questions with Pollard’s foot, I would go against the grain here and use the passing game to set up the running game.

Throw it on first downs with easy targets to Schultz, catch the defense with well-timed draws, and get some jet sweeps going. The run game doesn’t have to be between the tackles in the NFL anymore. Use the edges, have some wide receivers toting the rock, and get creative on the ground after you loosen them up with the pass. Even use flat passes with blocking and quick hitters as an extension of the run game. Don’t get caught up that the “run game” HAS TO be an inside handoff.

Earlier, I talked about loading the box against the WFT offense, and here is why. The Cowboys will be playing with a healthy Demarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory that get to pair with Micah Parsons, who somehow continues to step up each week and find new ways to amaze us. The Cowboys need to win first down on defense by shutting down the run game. Go heavy against it, and force Washington into passing situations. Any time it is an obvious passing down, the Cowboys should bring out their dime or nickel package of five or six defensive backs. Drop into coverage, and let Lawrence, Gregory, and Parsons rush the passer. Good luck, you can’t double them all…

The Dallas Cowboys know what this game means. A win gives them a three-game lead with just four to play. They could put a stranglehold on the division very early and give themselves some much-needed breathing room over the final month of the season.

This game will get a little chippy and feisty, but that’s what I want to see from the Cowboys when they can go for a kill shot in the division. The Cowboys pull out one that is a bit of a grind and fly back to Texas with separation in the NFC East and a strengthening pulse on their march to the playoffs.