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MNF Preview Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys

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I don’t know what’s been more offensive coming out of Washington lately – the quarterback play or the team name. The team name may offend a certain section of the community, but the quarterback play offends everybody else. We’ve had a quarterback that can’t slide, a quarterback that can’t play, and now get stuck with a guy that couldn’t keep the backup job at the Browns. Anyone tipping Washington?

Dallas on the other hand, they have impressed. More recently known for choking in the big moments, instead they’ve been the ones suffocating opponents. After a loss to the Niners in week one, they’ve won six straight, and don’t look like slowing down. Especially not to the mess that is Washington.

Not exactly a blockbuster, but hey, it’s Monday Night Football, so you know you’ll be watching. But before you do, here are 3 things you need to know about the game :

1. We Are Getting A Whole Lot Of Good Romo

One of the most underrated facets of the season is the play from one Tony Romo. This guy has been playing flawless football since halftime of their week one game against San Francisco. Since that point, Romo has thrown 14 touchdowns to only 3 picks.

He’s been very solid for a Cowboys outfit that has been dominating on the ground, and if he keeps being put in a position where he doesn’t have to force plays, but rather be a complimentary piece to this offense, his terrific play should continue

2. When Times Get Tough, One Of These Teams Runs And Hides, Especially On Third Down

An effective indicator of a good offense is their ability to come through on third down. Generally if a team is more than a few yards out on third down, you can safely bet the balls going through the air. This means the defense can sell out to the pass, and pass rushers can pin the ears back.

Teams that don’t have good protection, don’t have receivers that can make plays on the ball, and don’t have a quarterback with good composure tend to struggle here.

No surprises here, the 6-1 Cowboys are by far the more effective team on third down. In fact, they are the most effective team in the entire league, converting 57.45 percent of their third downs into firsts. Washington on the other hand, rank 31st in the league, successful on only 31.71 percent of third downs.

Dallas certainly make things easier for their offense on third down with a terrific running game, which limits the need to sell out to the pass, and allows them to utilize play action effectively. Washington don’t. They average 60.3 yards LESS a game on the ground then the ‘Boys, and only average 68 yards rushing over their last three games. This does not bode well for the boys in red.

3. Washington Just Sucks. No Seriously, They Do

As well as the Cowboys have done so far this season, you have to think at some point, they have to have a let down game. A Monday night game against a struggling team seems like a good spot for that to happen, coming up against a divisional opponent they may overlook. But Washington just aren’t good enough. The thing that amazes me about this team, isn’t the areas they are struggling statistically. It’s where they look good by the numbers.

This team is fifth in total yards per game, and sixth in total yards allowed. They are 10th in total rushing defense and 14th in total passing defense. They allow 5.2 yards per play, good for 10th in the league, and are making an impressive 6.2 yards per play themselves, 3rd best in the league.

These are very impressive numbers, and you would expect that a team with those numbers would easily have a winning record. The problem? They can’t turn that offense into points. Why? Two reasons. Red zone offense, and turnovers.
They have a serious problem in the red zone.

Offensively, this team has only converted 25 percent of red zone drives into touchdowns over the past three games. That is worst in the league. They may get the yards, but consistently getting held out of the red zone is killing this team. 21.6 points a game isn’t going to cut it for a team that’s averaging almost 390 yards of offense every week.

The other issue is turnovers. This team has given the ball away 15 times this season, tied with the Jags for worst in the league. This is a huge issue for this team right now, and whilst a change at the quarterback position helps, we still don’t know if Colt McCoy is going to be able to protect the ball until RGKnee gets back. These stalled red zone drives and turnovers don’t seem random right now, and I envision this being an issue all season.

Final Prediction

I have Dallas winning this fairly comfortably. I think we see a lot of Terrance Williams in this one, with Demarco doing his usual thing. For Washington, all I see is more struggles in the red zone and more turnovers. Look for them to test the Dallas secondary with Desean stretching the field.

Dallas Cowboys 29 – Washington (insert offensive team name here) 17

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