The Dallas Cowboys hope to sidestep their December woes and stay in the NFC East race as they take on the Washington Redskins on Sunday afternoon at FedEx Field.
The Cowboys (7-7) have little room for error and have to win their last two games in order to make the playoffs, with no chance for a wild card spot after last week’s 37-36 meltdown against the Green Bay Packers.
The Cowboys moved to 11-17 with quarterback Tony Romo under center in December despite holding a 23-point halftime lead. Head coach Jason Garrett also faced intense scrutiny for his decision to keep passing the ball even though running back DeMarco Murray was punishing the Packers defense at 7.4 yards per carry.
Romo threw consecutive interceptions on Dallas’s last two drives, and the last place Cowboy defense allowed Green Bay to reach the end zone on five straight possessions in the second half.
Owners of the second longest current losing streak in the league, the Redskins have dropped six straight but nearly stopped the bleeding in last week’s 27-26 letdown to Atlanta.
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It was the first start of the season for quarterback Kirk Cousins, with Washington (3-11) opting to sit Robert Griffin III with no shot at the postseason. Cousins nearly led the Redskins to victory by capping a 13-play, 80-yard drive with a touchdown pass to Santana Moss with 18 seconds remaining, but failed to connect with receiver Pierre Garcon on the two-point conversion attempt. Garcon wound up with seven receptions for 129 yards and a score.
Cousins finished the game going 29-for-45 for 381 yards and three touchdowns with two picks, which both came in the second half. Running back Alfred Morris continued his stellar season with 98 yards rushing, just shy of his fourth 100-yard game of the year.
Unfortunately for Morris, his play in the last six games has only resulted in one trip the end zone.
Containing Morris will likely be a key component of Dallas’s defensive game plan, but they’ve had significant trouble containing opponents all season, ranking 32nd against the pass and 28th the rush. Also in the last two games they’ve given up 82 points and 923 total yards.
Dallas might have an easier time with rookie Washington tight end Jordan Reed placed on the injured reserve list earlier this week. Reed had hauled in 45 catches for 499 yards and three touchdowns in nine games this season.
The Cowboys also have their injury concerns with linebacker Sean Lee missing a second straight game with a neck injury, and corner back Morris Claiborne doubtful with a bad hamstring.
Betting Odds: Dallas favored by 3 points
Over/Under: 54 points
Time: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
TV Channel: FOX
Online Stream Info: NFL Sunday Ticket
Prediction: Dallas 30, Washington 20