TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 17: Dallas Cowboys At Washington Redskins

Cowboys
Redskins
Dallas Cowboys 38 - Philadelphia Eagles 33
(Credit: Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
(Credit: Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
Quarterback
Tony Romo continues to try to rebuild his reputation and he will have his chance in this game against the Redskins. The winner of this game wins the NFC East, and Romo may have added motivation after the Cowboys were beaten so thoroughly by the Redskins on Thanksgiving in Dallas. Romo needs to get off early to have his best chance.
Winner RGIII is one of the most impressive rookie stories in years and he can earn his first divisional title if the Redskins can win this game. RGIII is a far better passer than many scouts thought. He also reads defenses like a 10-year veteran in addition to his spectacular running ability.
Offense
Winner The Cowboys have plenty of talent on the offensive side. It’s been quite a turnaround for Dez Bryant, who made one rock-like decision after another earlier in the year. Bryant has cut down on his mistakes and has a ton of clutch plays. DeMarco Murray (foot) is not 100 percent, but he gives the Cowboys a decent threat on the ground.
No doubt that the threat of RGIII running the ball must take up a big part of Rob Ryan’s defensive gameplan as the Cowboys prepare. However, Alfred Morris is a top power runner who is capable of punishing the defense. Santana Moss is a solid receiver at this point, but he’s not comparable to the most explosive receivers in the game.
Defense
Winner The Cowboys have been mediocre on defense, ranking 14th overall, 14th against the pass and 15th against the run. Anthony Spencer has had an excellent year. He leads the team in tackles and also has a double-digit sack total. DeMarcus Ware should be at his best in this game and he will face a huge challenge from RGIII.
The Redskins are not going to measure up to the best teams from a statistical point of view, as they rank 28th overall in defense and 30th against the pass. However, the Redskins have shown the ability to come up with key stops in big situations. Veteran linebacker London Fletcher is a sure tackler who leads the team in that category.
Special Teams
Winner The Cowboys have been ordinary with their special teams coverage on both punt and kickoff returns. However, they believe that Bryant and Dwayne Harris are capable of coming up with explosive punt returns. Dan Bailey has been quite consistent for head coach Jason Garrett.
Winner Special teams looked like they would be disastrous for the Redskins early in the season, but they turned things around when they cut Billy Cundiff and brought in Kai Forbath to handle the placekicking chores. Sav Rocca is a solid punter for head coach Mike Shanahan.

The Winner Is

Dallas Cowboys 38 - Philadelphia Eagles 33
Winner Cowboys
3 out of 4

Few would have thought the final game of the season between the Cowboys and the Redskins would have meant the NFC East title, but both teams have played well to put themselves in this position. The Cowboys are the better defensive team, but the Redskins have RGIII and that could be the difference.

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  1. EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 25:  Odell Beckham #13 of the New York Giants breaks a tackle by Josh Norman #24 of the Washington Redskins in the second half at MetLife Stadium on September 25, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 25:   Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers runs the ball against Everson Griffen #97 and Tom Johnson #92 of the Minnesota Vikings in the 1st half during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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  2. KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 25: Center Mitch Morse #61 of the Kansas City Chiefs prepares to snap the ball to Alex Smith #11 at Arrowhead Stadium during the second quarter of the game against the New York Jets on September 25, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images) PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 25: Quarterback  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers passes against  Bennie Logan #96 of the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on September 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
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  3. ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 25:  Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys throws against the Chicago Bears in the fourth quarter at AT&T Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Running back Carlos Hyde #28 of the San Francisco 49ers rushes for a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on September 25, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the 49ers 37-18.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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