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Need to Know: First look at Redskins vs. Cowboys

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USA Today Sports Images

Need to Know: First look at Redskins vs. Cowboys

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, October 25, four days before the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys at FedEx Field.

Timeline

Today’s schedule:

Days until:

—Redskins @ Seahawks (11/5) 11
—Vikings @ Redskins (11/12) 18
—Giants @ Redskins Thanksgiving (11/23) 29

First look at Redskins vs. Cowboys

Keeping Zeke average—It looks like Ezekiel Elliott will play on Sunday, barring yet another twist in the machinations of the legal process. In two games against the Redskins as a rookie last year Elliott averaged 90 yards per game and 4.4 yards per carry. Actually, the Redskins would be pretty happy to hold him to that average rather than see him explode for a big day.

Keeping Dak in the pocket—Among the common threads in the Redskins’ three losses in 2017 has been a mobile quarterback playing for the other side. Carson Wentz is second on his team with 196 yards rushing on the season and Alex Smith has 121. Dak Prescott has 152. It’s not just the rushing yards that give the Redskins consistent headaches, it’s the ability to elude pass pressure and get off an accurate pass. Prescott is as slippery as any quarterback out there and he has the ability to get rid of the ball just before going to the ground. The Redskins will need to wrap him up and get him down on the ground. That’s easier said than done as they found out against Wentz (twice) and Smith.

Sacks in bunches—The Cowboys are on pace to get 56 sacks this year. That may be a bit misleading because over half of their 21 sacks came in two games (6 vs. AZ, 5 vs. SF). Still, the total is what it is and the Redskins are going to have to do what they have to do to protect Kirk Cousins. That will be difficult to do with their offensive line as banged up as it is. Demarcus Lawrence has 9.5 sacks already and David Irving and Tyrone Crawford have three each.

Norman following Dez? Jay Gruden said that Josh Norman should return to practice this week so he is on track to start on Sunday after missing two games with a broken rib. Last year the big question was if Norman would shadow Dallas receiver Dez Bryant from side to side; that was something that former defensive coordinator Joe Barry was reluctant to do. Greg Manusky is willing to do what it takes but is it really necessary? Bryant is still an effective receiver but he isn’t the All-Pro that he was a few years ago. He’s on pace to gain about 875 yards. That’s not a receiver you fear. I think they’ll start out going straight up in coverage and only shift to having Norman follow Bryant if things go south.

Potpourri: In their three losses, the Cowboys have given up 42, 35, and 35 points. In their wins, the opposition scored 3, 17, and 10 . . . The combined record of the three teams the Cowboys have beaten is 4-17 . . . WR Cole Beasley is much less of a thorn in the side of opponents. After posting 833 yards receiving last year, he’s on pace for about 350 this year . . . The Cowboys have just two interceptions on the year. They have recovered five fumbles.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Need to Know: Five key moments from Redskins vs. Giants

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Bob Youngentob for NBC Sports Washington

Need to Know: Five key moments from Redskins vs. Giants

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, November 24, six days before the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.

Timeline

Today’s schedule: Jay Gruden conference call 3 p.m.  

Days until:

—Redskins @ Chargers (12/10) 16
—Cardinals @ Redskins (12/17) 23
—Broncos @ Redskins Christmas Eve (12/24) 30

The five key plays from Redskins vs Giants

Giants convert a third and 14 in the second quarter—This play just shouldn’t happen. Prior to this play New York had been 0 for 22 when trying to convert third and 12 or longer. But Eli Manning found Roger Lewis on the right sideline for a gain of 19. That kept alive a drive that ended with the Giants getting on the scoreboard first with a field goal.

Josh Doctson draws a pass interference flag late in the first half—The Redskins offense could get nothing going for most of the first half. After getting the ball at the Giants 48 with 1:04, they utilized Doctson for the first time. On first down, Kirk Cousins launched a pass toward Doctson who had cornerback Ross Cockrell beaten deep down the left sideline. Cockrell decided it would be better to give up a big play than give up a touchdown so he grabbed Doctson’s right arm, drawing a pass interference flag that put the ball at the 11. The Redskins couldn’t punch it in but a Nick Rose field goal tied the game just before halftime.

Kirk Cousins TD pass to Jamison Crowder—Again the Redskins got good field position in the third quarter and this time they took maximum advantage. They drove from midfield to a third and goal at the 15. Cousins couldn’t find anyone and scrambled to his right. That gave Crowder time to find some open space in the middle of the end zone. Cousins found him and fired a strike. It was Crowder’s first touchdown of the year and the Redskins had a 10-3 lead.

Janoris Jenkins 53-yard interception return—Later in the third quarter, Cousins just was looking for a little field position before punting and his pass to new third-down back Byron Marshall near the left sideline sailed high. It bounced off of Marshall’s hands and into the arms of Jenkins. They don’t call him  "Jackrabbit" for nothing and he sped into the end zone to tie the game at 10.

Cousins 14-yard touchdown pass to Josh Doctson—The Redskins were making the cardinal mistake of letting the underdog hang around. With the score still tied, the clock ticked under four minutes as Washington faced a second and eight at the 14. Cousins made a play-action fake and looked to the end zone. Doctson, who had Jenkins, the Giants best defensive back, covering him, lined up on the left and ran towards the post. Just as he got to the goal line he made a cut to the sideline. That got him a little separation from Jenkins and Cousins dropped the pass on the money for the winning touchdown.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.

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Five takeaways from the Redskins' necessary win over the Giants

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Five takeaways from the Redskins' necessary win over the Giants

Here are my five takeaways from the Redskins’ ugly 20-10 win vs. the Giants.

A Win is a Win:
If you are worried about style points you are doing it wrong. This was a banged up team on a short week playing for its life. Perhaps a better start would have made for a more comfortable win but they got done what they needed to do.

Jamison Crowder is on a Roll
:
He gained a career-high 141 yards on seven receptions. The yardage broke his career high of 123 that he set in Week 8. The third-year receiver got off to very slow start, not posting over 52 yards in any game.

But he has broken out of his slump in a big way and Kirk Cousins is very glad to see it.

Perine is Ready:
The rookie was elevated into the starting role after Rob Kelley went onto injured reserve two weeks ago. His importance elevated when Chris Thompson went out for the year with a broken leg.

Fortunately for the Redskins, his play has elevated since becoming the starter. He rushed for 117 yards against the Saints on Sunday. Thursday, four days later, he couldn’t get anything going in the first half, gaining only three yards on seven carries. But he got rolling in the second half and finished with 100 yards on 24 carries.

The Redskins may well have lost this game if Perine, the only back who was on the roster as of three weeks ago, had not gotten himself on track.

MUST-SEE: BEST IMAGES FROM REDSKINS' THANKSGIVING VICTORY

Defense Got Help: 
Eli Manning passed for 113 yards. Only six times in his career, which spans 211 games, has he thrown for fewer yards. There are three entities mainly responsible for Eli’s woes. The Redskins defense did a good job of putting pressure on him and for the most part the back seven played well in coverage. But Eli himself contributed to his own production problems.

On many occasions he had time to throw and a receiver open but he either sailed the ball well over the receiver’s head or threw it in the ground. Finally, when Manning did have time and delivered the ball on the money, his receivers frequently were unable to find the handle; there were several costly drops.

RELATED: BIGGEST UP'S AND DOWN'S FROM REDSKINS-GIANTS

There is Hope:
It’s too early in the weekend to go into much detail about the Redskins chances of making the playoffs but the losses earlier in the day by the Lions and Cowboys certainly helped.

It’s still a tough path to navigate.

But they did what they needed to do today in winning one of six games that looked winnable earlier this week. All they can do is try to get a winning streak together and they did all they could do in that regard on Thanksgiving.

Now it’s on to Dallas to see if they can take the next step.

MORE: THIS ONE THROW SHOWS HOW COUSINS IS EVOLVING

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerCSN and follow him on Twitter @Rich_TandlerCSN.