Game Preview, Week 13: Redskins at Dallas

November 29, 2017

by Steve Thomas and Sean Conte

It’s Dallas week everyone! Get excited! No matter how good or bad each team is in a given year, this is the game we want the Redskins to win, no matter what.  Unfortunately, it hasn’t gone according to plan nearly at much as we’d like, but that’s the way it is.  This year’s Dallas matchup in Dallas is interesting in that their most important player, ____ Elliott (I refuse to say his first name anymore, because I’m sick and tired of hearing it.  Oh, yeah, I actually need to write his full name for purposes of the article linker system.  Ezekiel Elliott.  There.  Never again.), is serving his inevitable six game suspension.  Regardless, the Cowboys have been in something of a slump since they lost their bell-weather back to suspension, but don’t be fooled: Dallas always seems to play the Redskins tough.  In terms of the Redskins, this is yet another must-win game.  That is true for the remainder of the season, actually, but particularly for this NFC East game.  Playoff teams don’t go 1-4 in their own division.  Coming off of last week’s slop-fest against the Giants doesn’t inspire confidence, but we promise you: this game is winnable.  The Cowboys just aren’t quite as good as all of the fawning prognosticators predicted they’d be, the absence of Elliott notwithstanding.  Just how, exactly, can the Redskins earn a victory Thursday night, while no doubt wearing those tacky, god-awful color rush uniforms?  Here’s what we think:

Game time & location:            Thursday, November 30, 2017, 8:25 p.m. ET, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX; Parking lots                                                          open at 2:30 p.m.; gates open at 5:30 p.m.

Television:                                NBC and NFLN

Television announcers:          Mike Tirico, Cris Collinsworth, Heather Cox


DC-area radio:                         ESPN 980

Redskins radio network:

Cowboys radio network:

Satellite radio:                         XM: 81 (Redskins broad) Sirius: 81 (Redskins broad); internet: 831 (Redskins broad.)


Redskins roster:            

Redskins depth chart:   

Cowboys roster:            

Cowboys depth chart:  


All-time head-to-head record vs Cowboys: 42 – 69 – 2 (last 10: 3 – 7)

Last meeting:  L, October 29, 2017, 19 – 33

Early odds: Dallas, -2.5







OFFICIAL INJURY REPORT (as of Friday (active roster only)) (starters in bold)

LP – limited practice                           FP – full practice                     DNP – did not practice

NIR – not injury related                      Q – questionable                      O – out

D – doubtful

Redskins Cowboys
DL T. McClain, toe; Mon: DNP; Tues: DNP; Wed: DNP; game: O T L. Collins, back; Mon: DNP; Tues: DNP; Wed: DNP; game: Q
S M. Nicholson, concussion; Mon: DNP; Tues: DNP; Wed: DNP; game: O LB J. Durant, concussion; Mon: DNP; Tues: DNP; Wed: DNP; game: O
TE J. Reed, hamstring; Mon: DNP; Tues: DNP; Wed: DNP; game: O LB A. Hitchens, groin; Mon: DNP; Tues: LP; Wed: LP; game: Q
C Chase Rouiller, hand; Mon: DNP; Tues: DNP; Wed: DNP; game: O LB S. Lee, hamstring; Mon: DNP; Tues: DNP; Wed: DNP; game: O
T T. Williams, knee; Mon: DNP; Tues: LP; Wed: LP; game: Q DT M. Collins, foot; Mon: LP; Tues: LP; Wed: LP; game: Q
LB Z. Brown, shoulder/achilles; Mon: LP; Tues: LP; Wed: LP; game: Q G Z. Martin, concussion; Mon: LP; Tues: LP; Wed: LP; game: Q
DL M. Ioannidis, hand/ankle; Mon: LP; Tues: LP; Wed: LP; game: Q T T. Smith, back/groin; Mon: LP; Tues: LP; Wed: LP; game: Q
T M. Moses, knee/ankle/ankle; Mon: LP; Tues: LP; Wed: LP; game: Q WR R. Switzer, ankle; Mon: LP; Tues: LP; Wed: LP; game: Q
G B. Scherff, knee; Mon: LP; Tues: LP; Wed: LP; game: Q  
LB M. Spaight, knee; Mon: LP; Tues: LP; Wed: LP; game: Q  
T T. Nsekhe, core muscle; Mon: LP; Tues: LP; Wed: LP; game: Q  
WR J. Crowder, back/knee; Mon: FP; Tues: FP; Wed: FP  
DL A. Lanier II, knee; Mon: FP; Tues: FP; Wed: FP  
RB S. Perine, finger; Mon: FP; Tues: FP; Wed: FP  



The Redskins are an upper-middle offense this year, generally – 12th in points scored, 11th in total yards, 11th in passing yards, 18th in rushing yards – even after the big win against the Giants on Thanksgiving Day.  The principal offensive stat I’d like to point out this week is red zone efficiency.  This season, Washington has scored a touchdown on 58.33% of its red zone trips, which is ranked 8th in the NFL.  Last season, the Redskins were one of the very worst teams in the NFL in the red zone, and the fact that they’ve gone from essentially worst to top 10 in an amazing turnaround.  Finally this week, please notice that quarterback Kirk Cousins continues to post quality numbers this year (2nd in total passing yards, 7th in QB rating) despite the well-documented injury problems along the offensive line, and a lack of dynamic, healthy threats.  Pay attention, Redskins front office decision makers.

Defensively, the Giants game provided a fairly significant across the board uptick in defensive statistics; nonetheless, Washington is still well below average in most areas, including the most important stat, points allowed (ranked 25th). The horrendous injury situation and a schedule that has been the toughest in the NFL certainly played a major part in the defensive numbers, but still: the Redskins need to put their “defensive help wanted” sign back in the window of Redskins Park once the offseason begins.

A quick final note: the Redskins punt return team continues to be abysmal, with the team now ranked 31st in the NFL in average yards gained per punt return.

Record 4 – 6 (3rd) (Home: 2 – 4; NFC: 3 – 5; NFC East: 0 – 3)

All-time franchise record: 590 – 578 – 28


Offensive rankings 12 (points) (trend even) / 11 (total yards) (trend -2) / 11 (yards per game) (trend -2) / 8 (yards per play) (trend even) / 11 (passing yards) (trend -4) / 3 (passing yards per att.) (trend +1)  / 18 (rushing yards) (trend even) / 23 (rushing yards per att.) (trend even)
Points for 258
Yards per game 356.1


376 att (15th); 249 comp; 66.2% comp per. (7th); 8.1 Y/A; 2769 net yds; 19 TD; 6 Int
       Passing leader Cousins (376 att, 3038 yds (2nd), 66.2% comp perc., 19 TDs / 6 Int, 101.1 QB rating (7th)
      Receiving leader Crowder (561 yds (37th), 72 targets (37th), 46 rec (32nd), 1 TD, 12.2 Y/C)
Rushing 296 att (16th); 1148 yds; 3.9 Y/A; 104.4 Y/G (18th); 9 TD
      Rushing leader Perine (113 att, 427 yds (33rd), 1 TD, 3.8 Y/A (25th), long 30)
Sacks surrendered / rank 31 / 23
Ave time of possession / rank 31:01 / 8
3rd down conversion rate / rank 35.7% / 25
TD percentage in red zone / rank 58.33% / 8


Defensive rankings 25 (points) (trend +6) / 20 (total yards) (trend +4) / 20 (yards per game surrendered) (trend even) / 23 (yards per play) (trend +3) / 25 (passing yards) (trend -8) / 24 (passing yards per att.) (trend) / 15 (rushing yards) (trend +4) / 22 (rushing yards per att.)  (trend even)
Points against 276
Yards per game surrendered 346.0
Opponent’s passing 368 att (11th); 228 comp; 62.0% comp perc. (15th); 7.5 Y/A; 2576 net yds; 18 TDs; QB Rating 87.6 (16th)
Opponent’s rushing 288 att (13th); 1230 yds; 4.3 Y/A; 8 TD; 111.8 Y/G (15th)
Sacks / rank / Sack leader 28 / 14th / Kerrigan (9.0)
Tackles leader Brown (73)
Int / rank / Int leader 12 / 5 / Fuller (4)
Opponent 3rd down conv rate / rank 39.31% / 18
Opponent TD percentage in red zone / rank 61.76% / 27

Special Teams

Kick returns 20.6 Y/R (23rd), 17 returns, long 29 yards, 0 TDs
Punt returns 5.0 Y/R (31st), 19 returns, long 18 yards (29th), 0 TD
Kick return defense 19.7 Y/R (7th), 19 returns, 0 TD
Punt return defense 9.5 Y/R (23rd), 22 returns, 0 TD
Punting 44.9 Y/P (19th)

Turnovers (lost by O / recv’d by D / net / rank): 16 / 16 / 0 / 16

Penalties (total accepted # / rank): 64 / 3


Statistically, the Dallas Cowboys are a middle of the road at best passing team (27th in passing yards, 19th in QB rating) and an elite rushing team (4th in rushing yards and 2nd in rushing yards per attempt).  Alfred Morris has kept up Dallas’ ability to effectively run in Elliott’s absence, although no stats can quantify the attention Elliott draws from opposing defenses.  Dallas is elite in the red zone – ranked 4th in the league, due in no small part to the success of their running game and the 13 rushing touchdowns (for the sake of comparison, the Redskins have 9).  Dez Bryant is Dak Prescott’s favorite target this year, although Dez has only caught 53 of his 102 targets.

Dallas does not have a particularly strong defense.  The stat show that, in most areas, they are a lower-ranked team: for example, they are 24th in points allowed, 22nd in total yards, 25th in rushing yards per attempt, 26th in interceptions, 29th in third down defense.  This defense is not strong in any one particular area, and there is no doubt that a strong Redskins offensive performance this week should provide many scoring opportunities for Washington.

Record: 5 – 6 (2nd, tied) (Home: 2 – 4; NFC: 4 – 4; NFC East: 2 – 1)


Offensive rankings 15 (points) / 16 (total yards) / 16 (yards per game) / 14 (yards per play) / 27 (passing yards) / 23 (passing yards per att.) / 4 (rushing yards) / 2 (rushing yards per att.)
Points for 248
Yards per game 333.5
Passing 350 att (26th); 222 comp; 63.4% comp per. (11th); 6.6 Y/A; 2186 net yds; 16 TDs; 9 Int
      Passing leader Prescott (347 att, 2318 yds (19th), 63.7% comp per., 16 TDs / 9 Int, 87.6 QB rating (19th))
      Reception leader Bryant (578 yds (34th), 102 targets (7th), 53 rec (20th), 4 TD, 10.9 Y/C)
Rushing 314 att (10th); 1483 yds; 4.7 Y/A; 134.8 Y/G (4th); 13 TDs
      Rushing leader Elliott (191 att, 783 yds (6th), 7 TDs, 4.1 Y/A (19th), long 30 yds); Morris (51 att, 296 yds,  0 TDs, 5.8 Y/A,  long 70)
Sacks surrendered / rank 24 / 21
Ave time of possession / rank 29:51 / 18
3rd down conversion rate / rank 43.8% / 6
TD percentage in red zone / rank 61.54% / 4


Defensive rankings 24 (points) / 22 (total yards) / 22 (yards per game surrendered) / 20 (yards per play) / 21 (passing yards) / 20 (passing yards per att.) / 17 (rushing yards) / 25 (rushing yards per att.)
Points against 270
Yards per game surrendered 348.3
Opponent’s passing 383 att (21st); 256 comp; 66.8% comp per. (27th); 7.4 Y/A; 2593 net yds; 21 TD; QB Rating 101.4 (29th)
Opponent’s rushing 284 att (11th); 1238 yds; 4.4 Y/A; 7 TD
Sacks / rank / Sack leader 28 / 14th / Lawrence (11.5)
Tackles leader Lee (41)
Int / rank / Int leader 5 / 26 / various players (1 each)
Opponent 3rd down conv rate / rank 44.76% / 29
Opponent TD percentage in red zone / rank 56.41% / 22

Special Teams

Kick returns 25.7 Y/R (4th), 19 returns, long 61 yards, 0 TDs
Punt returns 5.4 Y/R (29th), 17 returns, long 21 yards (23rd), 0 TDs
Kick return defense 21.3 Y/R (20th), 23 returns, 0 TDs
Punt return defense 4.5 Y/R (2nd), 12 returns, 0 TDs
Punting 43.7 Y/P (28th)

Turnovers (lost by O / recv’d by D / net / rank): 16 / 12 / -4 / 21

Penalties (total accepted # / rank): 65 / 4


* Statistics courtesy of,,,,,