Week 12: Washington Redskins At Dallas Cowboys
- QuarterbackRobert Griffin III is starting to learn how tough and physical life is in the NFL. He has had an excellent rookie season where he has shown off his athleticism, arm strength and intelligence, but he has also been hit hard. Griffin will continue to sell out in his rookie season, but he has to realize quickly that taking hard shots is not going to be good for his long-term future.Tony Romo is probably the key to the Cowboys’ chances of winning a playoff spot. When he is on, he gives the Cowboys’ offense a dangerous quality. He knows how to escape pressure in the pocket and then throw one of the most catchable passes in the NFL. However, when he makes an early mistake or two, he doesn’t know how to get out of the vortex and they tend to pile up.
- OffenseThe Redskins try to help out RGIII with a complementary running game. Rookie Alfred Morris is not going to win too many 100-yard sprints, but he is a powerful runner who will punish opposing tacklers because he packs a hard punch. Leonard Hankerson is becoming a dependable option for RGIII at the wide receiver position but Santana Moss remains the team’s best big-play threat.The Cowboys can be explosive and score points in bunches, but they are not consistent. The biggest issue may be the lack of a dependable ground game. DeMarco Murray has been injured through much of the season and that’s the primary reason. Tight end Jason Witten is the team’s most dependable receiver. Athletic Dez Bryant turns as many games against the Cowboys as he does for them because he regularly makes undisciplined mistakes.
- DefenseThe Redskins play with effort on the defensive end, but they make foolish mistakes and are often out of position. They are near the bottom because they struggle in coverage and they don’t put enough pressure on opposing passers. London Fletcher is a hard working tackler who will lead the team in tackles most games. Cornerback DeAngelo Hall is athletic and talented, but he does not always perform to his ability level.The Cowboys are going to get after RGIII with a speedy pass rush. Outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware is among the best pass rushers in the league and he plays best when challenged by an outstanding athlete like RGIII. Anthony Spencer can also get after the quarterback while inside linebacker Sean Lee is a sure tackler.
- Special TeamsThe Redskins have struggled with their coverage teams throughout the season. Opponents have the edge on them in kickoff and punt returns. Cutting Billy Cundiff after the first four games has turned out to be the right move since Kai Forbath has not missed a FG attempt this season.The Cowboys have been sensational at punt coverage this season, but that advantage has not carried over to their kickoff coverage. Jason Garrett is waiting for Bryant to make an explosive punt return. Placekicker Dan Bailey struggles on field goal attempts of 50 yards or longer, but is dependable on his shorter attempts.
The Cowboys have all the edges but they are not big advantages. While the Redskins are playing for respectability, the Cowboys still have reasonable hopes of playing in the postseason. If they don’t push hard out of the gate, they will give the Redskins reasonable hope that they can steal this game.