Dallas Cowboys’ head coach Jason Garrett must have gotten the ‘go for it on fourth and close’ memo from owner Jerry Jones because he went for it twice against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 6 and they went on to win easily, 40-7.
Quarterback Dak Prescott only threw for 183 yards in that game but for two touchdowns and zero interceptions in what was considered the Cowboys’ best outing on both sides of the ball this season. Now their record is even at 3-3 and they’ll face the current leader of the NFC East, the Washington Redskins, and get a chance to hand them their third loss and take over the division momentarily.
The Washington Redskins lost both matchups against Dallas last season so they’re going to be looking to redeem themselves with a hometown win here. Fresh off narrowly defeating the Carolina Panthers 23-17 last week, the 3-2 Skins hope their new highly paid franchise quarterback Alex Smith can begin to prove his worth.
Smith is currently ranked 24th in passing yards per game (241.0), his passer rating is 91.9 but he’s only thrown for 6 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions. Their opponent, the Cowboys, are eighth against the pass but winless on the road, so it will be interesting to see which of those tendencies will prevail against the Redskins.
If the Cowboys win this matchup, they’ll move to 4-3 and into the NFC East lead, alone of tied depending on how the 3-3 Eagles fare against the 3-2 Carolina Panthers. But if the Redskins come out on top, they’ll be 4-2 and a game in front of the Cowboys and at least even or better against the defending Super Bowl Champions.
Who’s favored to win this Week 7 Cowboys-Redskins matchup?
Which team has a better offense? Defense? Special teams?
Which team’s quarterback is more likely to lead his team to victory?
We’re going to compare the Cowboys and the Redskins and attempt to answer those questions and more.
The 2018 Cowboys offense back in gear
The Cowboys’ offense, ranked 25th overall in the league, scored 40 points against the Jaguars thanks in large part to the production of quarterback Dak Prescott (17/27, 183 yards, 2 TDs), wide receiver Cole Beasley (9 catches for 101 yards and 2 touchdowns) and running back Ezekiel Elliott (24 carries for 106 rushing yards and a touchdown plus an 11-yard catch).
So much for missing wide receiver Dez Bryant – now everybody gets a piece of the Prescott pie.
In addition to tight end Geoff Swaim catching two balls for 21 yards, Prescott completed a pass to six other receivers. The Redskins ‘only’ rank 9th against the pass (compared to the Jags, who rank first) so this matchup should see Prescott distributing the wealth even more.
The 2018 Redskins offense dinged up
With four running backs, three wide receivers and a tight end all on injured reserve (IR), it’s a wonder the Redskins’ offense has been productive at all. Ranked 12th in rushing yards per game (116.8) but 24th in passing yards per game (227.2), Washington’s offensive production has only led to an average of 21.2 points per game, 24th best in the league.
Quarterback Smith has had to rely more on tight ends Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis, who have stepped up their receptions with all the injuries the Redskins receivers have received. Second-year receiver Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson and Maurice Harris all had three receptions last week against the Panthers.
7x Pro-Bowl and 4x first-team All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson spent most of his 12-year NFL career in Minnesota, but as a Redskin for five games he’s carried the ball 77 times for 339 yards and 3 touchdowns while caching 7 balls for 136 yards.
They’ll be facing a stingy Cowboys defense that’s not used to giving up many yards or points.
Cowboys Defense ranks 4th in the league, Redskins D ranks 5th
This is where the real battle should take place – both teams are neck-and-neck in some major stats. Dallas’ opponents move the ball 315.2 yards while scoring 17.2 points per game. Washington’s opponents gain 326.2 yards per game and score an average of 20.8 points. The Cowboys have 2 interceptions and 18 sacks while Washington has 4 picks and 10 sacks.
This game will most likely come down to halftime adjustments – a battle of wits and strategy between head coaches Jason Garrett and Jay Gruden fueled by both men’s desperation to keep their jobs, something a divisional win and/or a playoff appearance might ensure.
Altogether, these two teams have matched up 116 times, and currently the Cowboys lead 70-44-2. But the Redskins lead in the one category that’s most important to both of these teams, and that’s playoff wins. Washington is ahead of Dallas 2-0 in that category.
Special Teams Stats Comparison
Dallas’s punter, Chris Jones, has been in the league and with the Cowboys since 2011. So far, he’s punted 25 times for a net average of 39.2 yards per punt, ranked 20th in the league.
Washington’s punter, Tress Way, in his 5th season, all with the Redskins, has punted 21 times for a net average of 38.3 yards per punt, ranked 25th in the NFL.
Dallas’s newest placekicker, Brett Maher, got hired after the surprising release of veteran Dan Bailey. Maher is 15-for-16, including going 4-for-4 against the Jags last week and kicking his career longest, a 55-yarder. He hasn’t missed any extra point attempts (10/10).
Washington’s placekicker, Dustin Hopkins, in his 5th NFL season (his fourth with the Redskins), is 10-for-11, his longest has been a 56-yarder which he kicked last week against the Panthers. He hasn’t missed any extra point attempts (10/10).
Dallas’s punt returner, wide receiver Tavon Austin, is ranked 43rd in the league in return average. He’s returned 10 punts for 58 yards and no touchdowns, averaging 5.8 yards per return, his longest for 22 yards.
Washington’s punt returner, Greg Stroman, is ranked 25th in the league in return average. He’s returned 3 punts for 25 yards and no touchdowns, averaging 8.3 yards per return, his longest for 25 yards.
Cowboys-Redskins prediction and odds
The oddsmakers have the Redskins favored over the Cowboys by 1.5 with an over/under of 41.0.
CBSSports.com has two final score predictions:
Pete Prisco goes with the over and has it Redskins 23, Cowboys 20
John Breech takes the over and predicts it Cowboys 26, Redskins 23