The Dallas Cowboys will face the rival Washington Redskins in Week 17 of 2012 NFL season to determine who will win the NFC East. the Sunday Night game is essentially a playoff game for both teams: win and they enter the playoffs, but lose and the season is over. Cowboys QB Tony Romo has been playing some of the best football of his career, and WR Dez Bryant is becoming a superstar in front of our eyes. Redskins rookie sensation Robert Griffin III isn’t at full strength, but he will try and cap off his excellent first year with a trip to the playoffs. The SportDFW staff predicts Sunday’s monumental game:
No way I can pick against the new Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys this December, so I won’t this week. They were so close to winning against a New Orleans team that in my opinion was underachieving and has one of the best offenses in the league. Robert Griffin and the Redskins almost lost to a terrible Eagles team. Griffin doesn’t look 100%, but neither is the Cowboys defense including star Demarcus Ware. I think Romo and Dez will be in sync again and this time the Boys will win in the all-important win or go home game and make the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
Dallas Cowboys 27 – Washington Redskins 21
Win and you’re in. It’s that simple. The Cowboys have been in this position before the last couple of years and have failed miserably. Remember the debacle against the Giants last year. I see them having more success this year, but RGIII is healthier and is ready to lead the Redskins to the playoffs. Playing at home is the key. I think the Redskins win a close, exciting game.
Washington Redskins 27 – Dallas Cowboys 24
I think most of us would agree that the Dallas Cowboys’ games typically go in three general directions: a messy blowout (Seattle, Chicago); a game with wild comeback that falls just short (Baltimore, New York, Atlanta, Washington, New Orleans); or a wild comeback that results in a win (Philadelphia both times, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati). I can’t imagine that the Cowboys will get run over like they did the first time since they’ve now played Redskins RG3 and should (I hope) have a plan of attack against him. He also has a hurt knee, which helps.
My guess is that it will be something like 21-24 Washington entering the final minute and Tony Romo makes or breaks the year. The talk of him being a choke artist is overrated. Does no one remember last year? Does no one remember the second Washington game or the ones against Miami or New York or Arizona? He lost the last two, but one was because of his coach and the other because of special teams. He put the team in a position to win in all of those games. That’s the same case this year with Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and New Orleans. He also brought the team back from a 23 point deficit until the defense couldn’t get a key stop. Nicely put, the talk of Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo not having the “clutch gene” over the last two years is asinine.
Which brings me back to the final drive. My guess is that he gets them down to about the 35 when Dan Bailey gets the chance to tie the game. Whether he does or not is up to the offensive line protecting him for those crucial three seconds, but if they do their job I think he does his and the game goes to overtime. After that, flip a coin. I actually did and the first six times the Redskins won. Still, the seventh time it flipped the Cowboys’ way, so out of a desperate need for hope more than anything else I’ll say the Cowboys win 27-24 where they can look forward to getting decimated either by the Seahawks in the Wild Card round or Atlanta in the Divisionals. Such is the life of a Cowboys fan.
Dallas Cowboys 27 – Washington Redskins 24
C. Joseph Wright:
The good news for Dallas Cowboys fans is that even though it is a night game, the weather should not be unbearably cold, nor is it expected to rain or snow. The projection for the low on Sunday is 30 degrees, so it will be chilly, but it won’t be frigid. As noted in a previous post previewing this game, the Cowboys have to do three things to have any hope of winning this game: they can’t turn the ball over; they can’t let the Redskins score quick and long TD’s; and they have to find a way to contain the Redskins versatile rushing attack without loading the box with 8 or 9 men.
If they can do those three things, then the trio of Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo, TE Jason Witten, and WR Dez Bryant (who have all been playing like Pro Bowlers) should be able to score enough points to win. If they can mount any semblance of a running game with DeMarco Murray, that would greatly increase their chance of winning. If the Cowboys can run the ball, it allows Head Coach Jason Garrett to call a balanced game, it helps maintain time of possession, it takes pressure of Tony Romo to win the game by himself, and it keeps the Redskins and RG3 off the field. The Washington Redskins are 5th in the NFL in rushing yards surrendered at just over 95 yards a game, but they are the 3rd worst team at giving up yards through the air, so the low rushing total could be a function of teams being able to pass against them so effectively.
The real question for the Dallas Cowboys offense is the offensive line: can they protect Tony Romo or will he continue to have pass-rushers in his face before he even has time to secure the football, and can then open any running lanes for RB’s DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones?
Tony Romo will find a way to give Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey a chance to win this game. Dan Bailey is having an amazing year. He has made 28 of the 30 FG’s he has attempted, and he hasn’t missed a FG since week 9.
Dallas Cowboys 20 – Washington Redskins 17