By Zach Walker
Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys
Monday – October 27 – 7:30 pm
AT&T Stadium – Arlington
Who do you the Cowboys need to shut down?
LB Ryan Kerrigan – Kerrigan is by far, Washington’s best player on defense, a J.J. Watt type of player, who will move around and find his ideal matchup. Kerrigan has 6.5 sacks and his move is straight power, the bull rush, and no bull, it’s effective in affecting a quarterback. Kerrigan has the same ability to bat passes into the air for a teammate to collect. Kerrigan is the NFC’s Watt, and against the Cowboys’ offensive line, he’s really going to have to work to get after Romo and Murray.
Who on the Cowboys, needs to step up?
LB Bruce Carter – The “Welcome back” game for Bruce Carter, and he’s got quite the task, covering Jordan Reed, the talented tight end. Reed got injured against the Texans in Game 1, and returned against Arizona and played very well, and having two games under his belt going into this game, Reed should be very fresh and very effective in the middle of the field for the quarterback. Carter is returning from a thigh injury, and a Monday night game might give him that extra day of recovery that make all the difference in his performance.
Which group will give the Cowboys fits?
The Washington Receivers – It really doesn’t matter which quarterback is in the game for Washington, he’ll have one of the best receiver tandems in the NFL. Pierre Garcon, isn’t as dangerous as Dez Bryant with the ball in his hands, but is seemingly built like a tight end and always seems to peel away from defensive backs. Then, there’s DeSean Jackson, still possibly the fastest receiver in the league, and a player who can take a two yard hitch or slant the entire length of the field. If Brandon Carr can’t go, or is even hamstrung by his calf injury, that shifts burden to the next guy, Orlando Scandrick then that brings Sterling Moore into the starting lineup. Corners are running thin for the Cowboys.
Which group will give the Redskins fits?
The Cowboys Pass Rush – The way that they can shorten the field for the Cowboys is with a hounding of the quarterback by the Cowboys “Rushmen.” The pass rush was there against Eli Manning last week, but was supremely underwhelming, but I don’t think this team let’s anything from the last game effect the team’s performance in the next game. That being said, they know that they have to be better against Washington and they will be, knowing that they have the world’s stage to get after Washington.
What will it take for the Cowboys to win?
Containing the Washington running backs. And not just on the ground. Morris takes most of the Washington leg work, then they’ll put in Roy Helu, and he’ll take a pass out of the backfield for 12 yards. My theory with Washington is always; if they were to go 1-15 in a season, but they beat the Cowboys for that lone victory, it’s all good. That’s obviously untrue, but Washington always get up to play the Cowboys, and this is a Monday night game, and crazy things happen in Monday night games. Washington would be so supremely foolish to roll out Robert Griffin for this game, when he’d be at 60% health, so I fully expect Colt McCoy to play, and play to the fullest of his abilities. But it has back-fired before when the Redskins try a ride with the swing quarterback, like the previously highly thought of Kirk Cousins taking over for Robert Griffin against Jacksonville.
Prediction: Washington 16 – Dallas 31
Something about Monday night football brings the strange out of these two teams, but I have never, nor will ever give any faith into Colt McCoy being able to play in the NFL. I see the Cowboys teeing off on McCoy, and I believe that this is the game for the defense to dominate.