The Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys will do battle on Sunday, and to get a glimpse of what fans are thinking on the dark side, I was able to ask Dave Halprin, Editor at Blogging the Boys, a few questions leading up to the game.
What new faces have the Cowboys added (via draft and FA) that have you feeling like the 2016 Cowboys are better than 2015's version?
The big addition for the Cowboys is running back Ezekiel Elliott. Picked fourth overall in the draft, he is expected to add explosion out of the Cowboys backfield, both running the ball and catching it. He's also a very adept pass protector, so he can play all three downs. Obviously he struggled in Week 1, the Cowboys run game was a little bit of a mess, but I'm sure they'll be feeding him the ball again this week. Another big addition from the draft is Dak Prescott, although at the time of his draft he was not being thought of as a big deal for this season. Injuries have a way of changing things. He's definitely a better option as a backup QB who has to step in for tony Romo than any of the three QBs Dallas employed last year in the same position.
Dallas didn't do a lot of free agent shopping, but they did add your old friend Alfred Morris. He looked really good in a limited role backing up Elliott in Week 1. Also defensive tackle Cedric Thornton is a free agent who is in the rotation at defensive tackle.
Dak Prescott has looked pretty good for a fourth-round rookie thus far into his young career. Tony Romo is expensive and 36 now. What do Cowboys fans feel the future holds for the Cowboys QB situation (both this season and next)?
I won't speak for all Cowboys fans, but my opinion is that when Romo is healthy again this season, Dallas will insert him back into the starting lineup. I'm guessing somewhere around Week 5 we need to start the watch on his return. My opinion is that Prescott is a viable option at QB, but at this point he's not as good as a healthy Romo. I think Romo's future in 2017 and beyond will come down to can he make it through the rest of 2016 healthy. If he can do that the Cowboys would like to get a year or two more out of him. If he breaks down again in 2016, then they will need to seriously consider turning the team over to Prescott.
The Redskins coverage of Antonio Brown obviously wasn't good enough in week one. The defense has a lot to prove now facing off against Dez Bryant. Breeland and Norman have both had some success against Dez in the past. How do you see Dez Bryant's afternoon going on Sunday against those two and the rest of the Redskins defense?
Dez Bryant had an awful Week 1. There were some catches he might have made that he didn't and that helped shape the loss. He only caught one ball for eight yards. So, I'm guessing that the Cowboys are going to try and get Dez involved early and often. You might see some short passes like a hitch or quick slant just to get the ball in his hands and get him going. Dak Prescott will probably look his way a little more although he claims he'll just go through the reads. I expect Dez, most of all, will be anxious to erase the Week 1 showing. He'll likely be very active and looking to put on a show.
Which player on offense and defense has to play well Sunday for the Cowboys to beat the Redskins? The key players or "X-factors" if you will.
On offense, Dak Prscott is the x-factor and will be every week he plays. A lot is on his inexperienced shoulders. If he can play with limited turnovers, good poise in the pocket and push the ball downfield on occasion, the Cowboys can win football games. He did enough in Week 1 but he was let down by those around him. But he has to do it every week, something that is always a question mark about a rookie QB.
On defense, I'll go with safety Byron Jones. He may see some coverage duty on Jordan Reed and I think a big part of slowing down the Washington offense is controlling Reed.
Who wins this game and why? Give us a score prediction.
I got to go with the Cowboys. As a fan, I just can't stomach the idea of starting a brand new season by already going 0-2, and both those games being division losses! Dallas should be able to run the ball on Washington, and when they run the ball, they play much better as a team. Also, they've beaten Washington the last three times they have played them on the road. So they have confidence they can with up there. Dallas 27 - Washington 20