While winning the NFC East is likely out of the question, both the (5-6) Washington Redskins and (5-6) Dallas Cowboys still have a sliver of hope of making the playoffs, but for the losing team of this week’s head-to-head, that all ends on Thursday night (8:25 PM ET on NBC).
The rivalry between the Cowboys and Redskins is well storied and documented through the years. So much so that in 2005, Sports Illustrated referred to it as the top rivalry in all of the NFL and one of the greatest all-time in sports. Beginning in 1960, this rivalry has seen the two franchises win an impressive 31 combined division titles and eight Super Bowl championships.
This has meant that typically, when the two teams meet head-to-head, something big is on the line. In this case, while neither is likely to win the division this year, staying alive in the postseason race is what is on the line. It’s certainly something that both of these teams are going to be fighting for.
No Zeke, No Touchdowns
One of the biggest stories swirling around the Cowboys for the better part of this season was regarding the ‘will they’ or ‘won’t they’ saga with running back Ezekiel Elliott and his potential suspension. Following the filing of injunction after injunction, appeal after appeal, the six-game suspension was finally enforced starting with week nine of the season.
Up to that point, the Cowboys were 5-3 on the season and were coming off a three-game winning streak which included a victory over the Redskins and a pretty convincing one at that. Elliott ran for a season high 150 yards in that game and scored two touchdowns.
The next week, the Cowboys played the Atlanta Falcons and somehow the wheels just fell off the wagon. In the first game without Elliott, Dallas managed just seven points, which was their lowest outcome of the season by far (previous low had been 17). Worse than that, a defense which had shown itself to be formidable throughout the year, also seemed to suffer from Elliott’s absence as they allowed 27 points, which was their worst outing since week five of the season.
The ensuing weeks did not get any better. Dallas has scored a total of just 15 points in their last two games, all of them coming off of five field goals and no touchdowns. In these three losses, their defense has allowed 27, 37 and 28 points respectively. It’s hard to believe one player having that kind of impact on an entire team, but without Elliott the Cowboys can’t seem to get anything going. That’s not even to say their running game has been bad in this stretch as Alfred Morris has filled in admirably in Elliott’s absence.
The main person who seems to be suffering from Elliott’s absence is Dak Prescott, who has gone from A-level quarterback to a complete shell of himself. Prescott’s regression started the moment Elliott left the field as the young QB hasn’t been the same since. Prescott hasn’t thrown for over 200 yards in the last three games nor has he thrown for a touchdown. He has however thrown five interceptions and lost three fumbles.
Can Washington Overcome Injuries?
The Cowboys are riddled with issues all stemming from Elliott’s suspension, but the Redskins have issues of their own. No team in the NFL has been bitten worse by the injury bug than Washington. The injuries have piled up all season, with each seemingly more devastating to the Redskins’ playoff chances than the next.
In a game against the New Orleans Saints, one which the Redskins really should have won but didn’t due to New Orleans’ incredible comeback, Washington lost dual-threat running back Chris Thompson to a season-ending injury. Losing Thompson in the third quarter was a huge blow to the Redskins especially given his presence could have made a huge difference in what Washington would have been able to do in the waning moments of that loss.
It’s not just Thompson however. Washington’s entire offensive line is barely patched together at this point, making it even more surprising that Kirk Cousins has managed to stay healthy. The same can’t be said for Cousins’ top receiving threat, tight end Jordan Reed, who hasn’t played in four weeks. It’s been a tough go for the Redskins but they’ve managed to keep their heads above water better than most may have in this situation. That’s because the team has been fortunate enough to have some of their younger players step up including Josh Doctson, who has had a strong sophomore season as one of Cousins’ new go-to weapons, and Samaje Perine, who has filled in for Thompson with over 100 rushing yards in each of the past two weeks.
Neither Doctson nor Perine had much impact in the first meeting against the Cowboys but with both now in prominent positions in the offense, Washington will be looking for their production on Thursday night.
Redskins vs. Cowboys Statistics In A Nutshell
- The Redskins have been 9-1 ATS in their last 10 road games in Dallas.
- Washington have gone over the bookies’ points total mark in their last seven straight NFC East road games.
- The Cowboys are just 6-12 ATS in their last 18 overall games.
- Dallas are 1-4 SU in their last five home games.
Our Preview’s Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys Predictions & Betting Picks
When the odds from the best of the USA offshore sportsbooks opened for this game, Dallas despite their woeful three game stretch, were favorites at home. Since then, the line has moved and it’s the Redskins who now find themselves with the backing of the books. Washington is currently sitting on 1.5 points with the game total projected at 45.
- Washington has a great ATS record while playing the Cowboys in Dallas. Without Elliott and with Prescott showing major signs of regression, it’s easy to see that continuing. Our pick is to bet on the Redskins -1.5pts @ -110 with Bovada.
- My total points betting prediction is to go over 45 points @ -115, again with Bovada.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.