I’m just going to let the cat out of the bag-I think the Dallas Cowboys will lose to the Washington Redskins. Despite the fact that the Cowboys play at home, a combination of; an emotional win against Cleveland, the loss of Tyron Smith and the Cowboys’ inability to play well against average to below-average teams, means I just don’t think they can pull out another victory. Like Cleveland, Washington is better than their record, and they are actually only a combined seven points away from leading the division (since they would have the tie breaker against the Giants.) As I wrote when they played Baltimore, if fans want to see a “Looking Forward” article with a positive spin, go elsewhere. I’m sure the Cowboys’ official website can provide that. If you want what I actually expect, stay here, but I don’t think you’ll like the end result.
News and Notes:
Tyron Smith is injured. The closest thing the Dallas Cowboys have to a decent lineman, Smith suffered a high ankle sprain and didn’t play at all in the second half. While Jerry Jones said that ‘The trainers were a little more optimistic than usual that it Smith’s sprain won’t be as bad as many high-ankle sprains” (quoted from ESPN Dallas). In another situation involving a team optimistic about an important player down with a high ankle sprain (the Atlanta Falcons about Michael Turner in 2009), Turner missed three games, and only rushed one time against the Jets. Considering that NBC Sports in their article covering the situation said the average recovery time was 4-6 weeks, the Falcons were right to be optimistic, but Turner still missed three games. Obviously, an offensive lineman doesn’t have to cut like a running back, so the injury might not knock him out of many games, but I’d still be surprised if he missed less than two. Considering Jeremy Parnell is the backup and will likely have to play right tackle, I would say that puts a more than significant dent in the Dallas Cowboys already slim playoff chances.
The Redskins blew out the Eagles. I need to point some things out: First, the Eagles were forced to start QB Nick Foles who is drastically less mobile than Michael Vick, and he plays behind an offensive line that is as bad as the Cowboys’. Second, the Redskins played at home. Third, I would argue that the Redskins are simply better than the Cowboys, despite their 4-6 record. With that set aside, the Redskins still played a great game. Considering the Cowboys’ offense still couldn’t crack twenty (though in fairness the punt return could have lead to an offensive touchdown), I’m highly concerned about the Cowboys’ ability to score on the Redskins. The only thing saving this from a blowout is the fact that the Cowboys play at home and may be a marginally better team there.
Tony Romo throws three touchdowns but also gets sacked four times. The Browns got to Romo seven times yesterday afternoon, and honestly I don’t see anything changing. With Tyron Smith out, Jeremy Parnell comes in, and considering he played one year of defensive line in college (he came to Ole Miss to play basketball) something tells me that he might not be up to NFL snuff yet. Luckily, the Washington Redskins statistically have the worst pass defense in the NFL (they allow over 300 a game), so I don’t think that (despite the pressure) Romo will be entirely helpless throughout the game. I just don’t think the Cowboys offensive line will be able to keep Tony Romo off his back very often.
The Redskins win 31-24
As much as the Cowboys fan in me wants to give the game to my team, I just can’t. Despite only being 4-6, the Washington Redskins are simply a better, more complete, team. Much like the Browns (who obviously gave a bigger fight than I thought), the Redskins play better than their record indicates. They have only been blown out once, and they literally are seven points away from leading the division (because of a tie breaker). As much as it kills me to admit it, the Redskins are the better team and the better team typically wins the game, even when they are playing on the road.