Redskins Offense vs. Dallas Defense
The Redskins have a chance to lock up the NFC East divisional title with a win over the Dallas Cowboys on the last regular season game of 2012. Washington still can get into the playoffs with losses by both Chicago and Minnesota, even if they lose to the Cowboys. Leading Washington’s 5th overall offense will be a healthier Robert Griffin III, facing him will be a banged up Demarcus Ware and the Cowboys 19th ranked overall defense.
RG3 and Weapons vs. Cowboys Secondary
Robert Griffin III was limited last week, and saw fewer designed runs than any other time this season. It will be important for Griffin to try to display some scrambling ability against the Cowboys. Griffin and Alfred Morris running the option play effectively sets up the quick play action, which allows for RG3’s big pass plays downfield. Having both players successfully running the ball gives Washington their three-headed attack, and greatly increases The Redskins chances of success. Washington has 4 receivers with 500+ yards, showing Griffin’s tendency to spread the ball. The three starting Dallas cornerbacks, Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, and Mike Jenkins have been guilty of mental mistakes this season, and their play will be critical for Dallas to contain RG3 and the Redskins potent offense. Safeties Danny McCray and Gerald Sensabaugh have been overmatched at multiple times, and if RG3 throws for 4 touchdowns against the Giants, as he did in their last meeting, then this may be a long game for the Cowboys secondary. Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan called the RG3 match up “a nightmare”, but Ryan will have some new looks to throw at Griffin this time.
Alfred Morris vs. Run Defense
Griffin and Alfred Morris running the ball was critical to Washington’s success in their last meeting. “The Butler” is looking to serve up another touchdown and 113-yard performance against the Cowboys, and his success may dictate whether the Redskins come out on top. Morris has been successful without RG3, and with Griffin in a limited role like last week. Morris has been successful with his offensive line failing to open holes, and receivers not blocking downfield. Morris is a successful running back, and the talent he shows makes it obvious why Shanahan declared him their primary back at the beginning of the season. Morris has 1,413 yards rushing, good for 4th in the NFL, and he leads all rookies in rushing. Morris is both elusive and powerful; he likes to juke defenders to hit holes, and then carries them for extra yards. The Cowboys are 17th against the run, and without nose tackle Jay Ratliff Dallas will need big performances from middle linebackers Dan Connor and Ernie Sims. Jason Hatcher is a good run defending 3-4 defensive end, and outside linebacker Anthony Spencer is solid against the run, but with Demarcus Ware not 100% there may be too many holes in the Dallas defense to fill.