Matchups

Dallas (13-2) at Washington (8-7)

Dallas Cowboys Defense
4th Ranked against the Run
13th Ranked against the Pass
Dallas Cowboys Offense
12th Ranked in Rushing
4th Ranked in Passing

Washington Redskins Defense
8th Ranked against the Run
17th Ranked against the Pass
Washington Redskins Offense
13th Ranked in Rushing
14th Ranked in Passing

The last time the Redskins faced off against Cowboys QB Tony Romo, he threw 4 touchdown passes to wide receiver Terrell Owens for all of the points scored by Dallas that afternoon. And for Washington, 3rd year quarterback Jason Campbell completed 33 of 54 passes for 348 yards. In all three statistics – completions, attempts and passing yardage – it was by far the best performance of Campbell’s young career. Washington actually led 10-7 at halftime but could not contain Owens later in the game.

Some things haven’t changed since then. The Cowboys were playing .900 ball at that time while the Redskins were just barely keeping their heads above the .500 mark, and both teams are roughly at the same winning percentages coming into this Sunday’s game. Other things will be quite different however. Neither Campbell nor Owens, the two most prolific forces during their last meeting will be playing this week. Campbell’s season ended in Chicago earlier this month when just before halftime Bears defensive end Mark Anderson hit Campbell in the middle of his throwing motion and then fell across the back of his left leg driving Campbell’s kneecap into the ground and dislocating it. And Owens is listed as inactive against Washington owing to a high ankle sprain that, according to Owens is nowhere near as serious as his previous ankle injury.

But each side has fielded new talent to replace the old. At quarterback for Washington is the veteran Todd Collins who replaced Campbell in Chicago and passed for 200 yards in just two quarters of football. Collins has provided a spark that has lifted the Redskins to three straight wins, and if you take the passing that Collins has accomplished on a per quarter basis it would yield an average that would be good for 2nd place in the league for yardage alongside Tony Romo, and would have a touchdown count that would put Collins in the top ten QB’s in the NFL.

Dallas for their part has a good tight end in Jason Witten who is 4th in the league with 94 catches this year, and Patrick Crayton at the wide receiver slot has one of the better averages this year at more than 14 yards per catch. Should the Cowboys get any significant lead however the Redskins will probably get a steady diet of Dallas’ power running back Marion Barber.

The Redskins did some tough running inside themselves with running back Ladell Betts against the Giants a couple of weeks ago and Clinton Portis, Washington’s primary weapon in the ground attack has 10 rushing touchdowns this season. The Cowboys may well attempt to shut down the Redskins ground game with their highly ranked run defense and force Collins to throw by stacking up the defensive tackles, but if they do they will have to make sure that Washington tight ends Chris Cooley and Todd Yoder don’t sneak in behind the linebackers and burn Dallas in the secondary.

The game is of little consequence to Dallas as far as the playoff picture is concerned. They are division champs and have already locked up the top seed which includes a bye week, and have home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Redskins meanwhile have very few outs left if they lose this game. Only a Vikings loss to Denver, a game which will be played at the same time that Washington has their hands full of Cowboys would offset a loss to Dallas and get the Redskins into the playoffs.

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