Three games into Ezekiel Elliott's six-game suspension and for some, it is evident Elliott was the key to the Cowboys’ success as a team. With Elliott, Dallas was off to a 5-3 start, the offense was balanced and moving efficiently in both the run and pass game. Passing lanes were easier for Dak Prescott, as the defense had to pick their poison, and most chose to stop Elliott.
Their defense was fresh, and yes, was led by linebacker Sean Lee. Since the suspension, they have lost three straight, and although Alfred Morris has run well and been consistent, he is not the dynamic back that scares a defense. It is evident that the Dallas coaches have failed to address the void Elliot has left behind. The Cowboys defense has been exposed as one that can't defend a solid passing offense and became unhinged with the loss of Sean Lee. While the offense has had eight turnovers in three games and has not topped over 250 yards of total offense since Elliott’s suspension.
As for Washington, it is essential that they do not let Dallas find their identity against them. The Redskins have not beaten the Dallas Cowboys since the 2015 regular season, and the Cowboys stand in the Redskins way as they are on their last leg for a playoff push for the 2017 campaign. For me, stopping the run is the first key and the biggest, to a Redskins victory Thursday night. Washington excelled against the New York Giants in defense of the run, something that they struggled to do in their match-ups a year ago, and contributed to the demise of their 2016 playoff wildcard spot. However, the Cowboys, although not the same as the great line of a year ago, have a far better offensive line than that of the New York Giants. The defensive line will face a more onerous task in defending the Cowboys, and if Dallas is capable of controlling the line of scrimmage, and keeping their defense off the field, the Redskins playoff hopes are likely finished before week 17 this time around.
What are your thoughts on the game heading into Dallas week? Comment and let us know.