The Redskins host the Cowboys at FedEx Field this weekend in the heavily anticipated rematch to our disappointing 27-10 loss to the 'Boys in September.
Most of the nation will be watching the game so here's to hoping we give them something worth watching. Weather should be chilly this Sunday with highs in the 50s and lows in the 30s. As always the game will be aired for free on Triple X Radio here.
Redskins injury report is grim. Santana Moss is the only player listed as questionable (hamstring), though projected starters listed as probable include: Mark Brunell (ribs), Jon Jansen (calf), Brandon Lloyd (shoulder), Lemar Marshall (ankle), Clinton Portis (ankle), Antwaan Randle-El (heel), Carlos Rogers (thumb), and Chris Samuels (lower leg). Of those I think pretty much everyone will play though I heard this crazy, completely unsubstantiated rumor that Jason Campbell was a lock to start.
The Cowboys injury report is uninformative. DE Jason Hatcher probably won't play and FB Oliver Hoyte might not either.
Here's how we win this game:
Dallas has a stout defense that is strongest against the run. Unfortunately that's where we're strongest as well, so don't expect an easy mismatch on the ground. If we're to win this game it will have to be in the air, making the absence of Santana Moss all the more damaging.
The good news for us is that defensively we are fielding a more complete unit than we have all season. Shawn Springs is healthy and Carlos Rogers will return to his backup role where he looked much more comfortable than he has this season. We can afford to leave Springs on an island much of the game which gives Gregg Williams the necessary flexibility to operate his blitz happy packages. Players who have underperformed this year -- looking at you Archuleta -- can be played to their strengths. In clear rushing downs or blitzes Archuleta is actually a pretty decent player, so long as he doesn't have to cover anyone. Recent free agent pickup Troy Vincent should get the look in passing downs and is an enormous improvement.
The best way to beat the Cowboys this year has been turnovers. I don't know where Tony Romo is at yet developmentally, but forcing some bad decisions out of him is important. Pressure up front would be great, though I think we're more likely to get it on some disguised blitzes (the Eagles did this very effectively when they beat the Cowboys).
Offensively we have to get around their Cover 2. Dink and dunks will not do the trick, especially without Santana Moss (who is our only persistent deep threat thus far). Looking for a big game out of Chris Cooley in the middle the field.
Last September Saunders said he wanted to establish the run, so let's hope he starts doing so this week. I'm tired of seeing the Redskins abandon the run too soon, especially after just a few bad rushes. We need to cram it down their throats for the entire game to yield meaningful results, but have been woefully unwilling to do that this year.
All in all this is going to be a very difficult game and the Redskins need to play better than they have this far to pull it off. The Cowboys are red hot under new QB Tony Romo and looking to build his confidence. A decisive win on Sunday (with some confidence killing interceptions) would go a long way towards taking the wind out of the Cowboys' sails and perhaps sending their season into a tailspin.
If the season is to be salvaged, which is by no means a likelihood at this point, this is a must-win game. We cannot go 0-4 against division, especially 0-2 against a potential wild card rival, and make the playoffs. Nevermind being 2-6.
Let's get after them. HTTR.