Football Team

WFT can do something it hasn't in 8 years with win in Dallas

Football Team

Thursday afternoon's Thanksgiving tilt between Washington and Dallas is a clash of a pair of three-win teams. But, in the extremely odd and unpredictable year of 2020, the victor of Thursday's matchup will take over first place in the NFC East.

The division lead isn't the only thing at stake for Washington when it travels to Dallas on Turkey Day, though.

A triumph in JerryWorld would mean for the first time in eight years, the Washington Football Team would win both annual meetings with the Dallas Cowboys. Washington won its home matchup with Dallas in Week 7 with ease, a 25-3 blowout victory.

The last time Washington swept Dallas was in 2012, which remains Washington's best single season since the turn of the century.

The Burgundy and Gold finished that campaign with a seven-game winning streak to take the division, capped off with a Week 17 primetime victory over Dallas at a joyous FedEx Field. Washington's season would end the following week, though, with an NFC Wild Card loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

A lot has changed since 2012. Robert Griffin III is no longer the supposed savior of the franchise, while Mike and Kyle Shanahan are no longer with the Burgundy and Gold, either. Nor is Jay Gruden for that matter. Or Bruce Allen. Ryan Kerrigan and Nick Sundberg are the only players still with the team from that season.

Washington has had two head coaches since 2012 -- three, if you include interim HC Bill Callahan -- and started eight different quarterbacks over that span. With just two playoff berths over the past decade, there haven't been a lot of positive things to reflect on in Ashburn.

 

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In recent years, Dallas has completely dominated the rivalry, winning 11 of the last 15 games since Washington swept the series in 2012.

The Cowboys' recent dominance over the Football Team, though, has been a result of the arrival of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott in 2016.

In eight career games against Washington, Prescott's Cowboys have won seven of them. For his career, the quarterback has an impressive 13 passing touchdowns against Washington with just one interception.

Elliott has also fared quite well against Washington over his career. In the six Dallas victories that Elliott has played a part of, the running back has averaged 114 yards per game on the ground with four 100-plus-yard performances. He's also scored in all six of those games.

In each of Washington's two wins over Dallas since Elliott entered the league, the running back has been a non-factor. In those two contests, Elliott notched 33 and 45 rushing yards, respectively, and did not score in either matchup.

Elliott will suit up on Thursday for Dallas, but Prescott will not. The QB suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 5 against the Giants, meaning Washington will go a full year without facing the Pro Bowler. 

Coming off a 3-13 season, Washington wasn't expected to compete for a playoff spot in 2020. But, thanks to an awful division, the winner of Thursday's game has a good shot at hosting a playoff game.

In the year 2020, where nothing has gone as expected, a sweep over Dallas and an eventual NFC East title would be a fitting, crazy end.