A few weeks ago, it looked like the Dallas Cowboys might run away from the rest of the NFC East. After three weeks, they had a 2-1 record and the rest of the division was a combined 1-8. Entering Week 6, though, a loss could put Dallas in sole possession of third place.
On Sunday Night Football, the Cowboys will host the Washington Redskins, who are coming into the game at 1-3. They sit a half-game behind Dallas and the Philadelphia Eagles for first place.
The Week Five loss to the Denver Broncos was a very tough one to swallow for the Cowboys. The team had an historical night on offense, scoring 48 points. Tony Romo set a franchise-record, throwing for 506 yards and five touchdowns. He ended the contest with a 140.0 passer rating, higher than the 129.6 that Peyton Manning registered.
Despite his record-setting performance, Romo was blamed by many for the loss. He’s been accused of making too many big mistakes throughout his career, and Week Five was no different. His only interception came in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter and deep in Dallas territory. It set up a game-winning field goal for the Broncos.
"Romo played the best game that I've ever seen him play in his career -- not only from the standpoint of how he executed, not only how he created plays, but his leadership," owner Jerry Jones told Cowboys’ website. "If we can have that type of play from him and others, especially on the offensive side of the ball, I think we'll win most of our football games left."
Romo’s pick was costly, but the 51 points allowed by the Dallas defense lost them the game. No other NFC team has allowed more yards through the air. In 2012, the organization drafted cornerback Morris Claiborne sixth overall, with the intention of turning around a much-maligned secondary. The change hasn’t occurred, and Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III could be in for a big day on Sunday.
“I do believe this scheme is going to work,” Jones told105.3 ThecFan this week. “I think it’s going to create turnovers. I think the guys are playing hard for Monte and Rod Marinelli and the rest of the defensive staff. I think it’s going to improve. I don’t think it’s about not having the dogs. Certainly not going to make any excuses when it comes to injuries, but we really do have some really skilled players on our defense that I think are only going to improve.”
Griffin hasn’t been the same player this season, following offseason knee surgery. He’s on pace for just 288 total rushing yards this year, compared to the 815 he accumulated last season. However, the 23-year-old says he’s feeling healthy coming into the weekend.
“I feel good, great actually, rejuvenated,” Griffin said after practice Wednesday. “Everyone’s got a lot more energy coming off the bye week. Just ready to do what we know we have to do. As a team, we’re all just moving on from those first four weeks.”
Start Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
Betting Odds: Dallas-5, 53.5
TV Channel: NBC
Online Stream: NBC Sports Extra Live
Prediction: Dallas 34. Washington 27