The NFC East has been a tight race all season. The divisional title will go to either the Dallas Cowboys of the Washington Redskins, depending on who wins this Sunday’s game. If Washington wins this game then the Cowboys have no chance of seeing the post-season. But if Dallas wins then Washington still has a chance of making the playoffs. If Green Bay wins and Chicago loses then the Redskins get the 6th seed in the NFC even if they lose to Dallas.
Washington is 4-3 this season at home and Dallas is 4-3 this season on the road, however, there is no doubt that the Redskins will be greatly advantaged by playing at home in such an important game. Washington has won 6 straight games and have beaten the Giants and the Ravens at home in that stretch. The Cowboys have been 5-2 in the second half of the season but played most of those games at home and lost to Washington and New Orleans in that stretch.
The Cowboys lost 38-31 to Washington in Dallas in Week 12. Washington was up 28-3 at halftime but true to Dallas form, the Cowboys came back hard late in the game. However the Redskins answered with 10 points in the 4th quarter to keep the Cowboys at bay. The Cowboys played most of the game with starting WR Miles Austin who hurt his hip and they also did not have starting RB Demarco Murray at all that game. Both players are back now and healthy.
The Cowboys have star pass rusher DeMarcus Ware listed as questionable with a shoulder injury. Keep an eye on this situation but expect Ware to push for a start in such an important game. Washington QB Robert Griffin III is reporting that his knee is greatly improved after the injury a few weeks back. He had very few yards last week against Philadelphia, rarely leaving the pocket, but says he should be able to do more this week.
The biggest concern for the Cowboys has to be their ailing defense which has steady slipped down the rankings ladder this season. They made big mistakes last week against the Saints and gave up plays at critical moments. Meanwhile the Redskins have moved their run game up to first in the nation on the back of rookie RB Alfred Morris. The Redskins passing game is not too poor either but it pales in comparison to Dallas’ #3 ranking for pass offense. Washington has a pretty good run defense but clearly their defense had trouble stopping Dallas QB Tony Romo from scoring points last time these teams met.
After their last meeting, it is hard to believe that this game will stay under 48.5 points. Furthermore, if you look at the season averages for points scored or allowed it does not make much sense. Their combined points scored per game average is 51.1 points and their combined points allowed per game average is 49.5 points. Both teams are consistently offense driven teams. The Cowboys have had their last three games end in scores with 3 point or less spreads and have not been below 49 points since Week 11. The Redskins have not been as close on the score board as Dallas but they have certainly show that they can score a lot of points and allow a lot of points.
Every game is different but it does seem as though Washington is on the up right now while Dallas has been just getting by. Washington is the better bet to win the game but it will be hard to predict whether they can cover the spread. Both teams give up a nearly equal amount of points a game and Washington scored just 3.3 points more a game on average than Dallas this season.
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