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Redskins schedule preview: Weeks 7 and 12 vs Cowboys

Redskins schedule preview: Weeks 7 and 12 vs Cowboys

We’re previewing every game of the 2018 season with a look forward and a look back. Up today, it’s the two games against Cowboys. 

Week 7 October 21, FedEx Field

Week 12 Thanksgiving, November 22, AT&T Stadium

2017 Cowboys: 9-7, second in NFC East 

Projected 2018 wins per Westgate SuperBook: 8.5

Early line: Week 7 Redskins -1, Week 12 Cowboys -6

Key additions: LB Leighton Vander Esch, WR Allen Hurns

Key losses: WR Dez Bryant, TE Jason Witten, LB Anthony Hitchens, G Jonathan Cooper

Notable: Witten retired shortly after the draft to become the lead analyst on Monday night football and Bryant was cut a month after free agency started.

Biggest questions: 

  • How will quarterback Dak Prescott respond to the loss of his security blanket tight end Witten?
  • And regardless of the availability of his targets, is Prescott more like the QB he was his rookie year (7.3 adjusted net yard/attempt) or what he was last year (6.0 ANY/A)?
  • Was the 14.5-sack season by Demarcus Lawrence, who had nine sacks in his first three years on the league, a contract-year fluke or something he can produce consistently?

Series history

Cowboys lead all-time series 70-44-2; Dallas has won the last four in a row and six of the last seven.

Series notables

The first time: October 9, 1960, Griffith Stadium—Ralph Guglielmi completed just 10 passes, but they were good for 257 yards and a touchdown in the Redskins’ win. Bobby Khayat provided the margin of the 26-14 victory by kicking four field goals.

The last time: November 30, 2017, AT&T Stadium—The wheels were starting to fall off of the 2017 Redskins when they took the field for this Thursday night game. The Cowboys, who had scored a total of just 22 points in their previous three games, scored 17 unanswered in the second quarter to take command of the game. They were able to keep the Redskins at arm’s length the rest of the way thanks in no small part to old friend Alfred Morris rushing for 127 yards and a touchdown. The game was really as close as the 38-17 final indicated. 

The best time: NFC Championship Game, January 22, 1983, RFK Stadium—Looking to avenge their only defeat of the year and advance to Super Bowl XVII, the Redskins jumped out to a 14-3 halftime lead over the hated Cowboys on the strength of John Riggins’ running and Joe Theismann’s passing. Adding to the delight of the frenzied crowd was the fact that Dexter Manley had knocked Danny White, Dallas’ starting quarterback, out of the game and any Cowboy comeback would have to come from the arm of the untested Gary Hogeboom. 

There were echoes of Clint Longley as Hogeboom moved his team up and down the field and Dallas cut the home team’s lead to 21-17 going into the fourth quarter. It would take two key defensive plays put the Redskins in the Super Bowl.

The first, less remembered play was Mel Kauffman’s leaping, over-the-shoulder interception of a Hogeboom pass that set up a 29-yard Mark Moseley field goal. The seven-point lead was better, but the crowd was still uneasy. Relief—and ecstasy—would come on Dallas' next play from scrimmage.

From the Dallas 20, Darryl Grant sensed a screen pass, a play that had worked well for Dallas earlier in the game. He stopped rushing and drifted off to the right side, around the 10 yard line. Manley, sensing another quarterback kill, went right after Hogeboom and tipped his pass high in the air. Grant caught it and high-stepped the 10 yards into the end zone as a roar of sonic boom proportions exploded from the RFK stands. That made the final Redskins 31, Cowboys 14

The worst time: November 5, 1989, RFK Stadium—The Cowboys came into Washington winless in its previous eight games and they would not win another game the rest of the season. But the Redskins let Paul Palmer run wild as the Dallas back gained 110 yards on 18 carries, including a 47-yard jaunt to set up the game’s only touchdown in Dallas’ 13-3 win.

“It’s a real low point for us,” Joe Gibbs said afterward, speaking not only for himself and the team but Redskins fans everywhere. The loss turned out to be especially brutal as the Redskins finished the season 10-6 but out of the playoffs on tiebreakers. 

Redskins schedule series

More 2018 Redskins

- 53-man roster: Three up, three down
- The draft: Grading the Redskins' draft
- The future: Redskins should get 4 additional picks in 2019 draft
- The buzz: Redskins part ways with long-time executive

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

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2019 Redskins Draft Bracket: DK Metcalf and TJ Hockenson would inject the offense with needed talent


2019 Redskins Draft Bracket: DK Metcalf and TJ Hockenson would inject the offense with needed talent

NBC Sports Washington wants Redskins fans to help decide the team's ideal 2019 first-round pick by voting in the Redskins Draft Bracket on Twitter. Before you vote, though, take in this breakdown of the next matchup.

Looking for a stat to describe the rough season the Redskins receivers had in 2018? Well, there's tons to choose from.

The team's wideouts had the second-fewest catches of 20-plus yards in the league. Antonio Brown had more grabs, yards and touchdowns than Washington's top three targets combined. Josh Doctson led the squad in receiving yards — with a measly 532.

You could easily find plenty more, but those three are all you need to realize that DK Metcalf should absolutely be on the franchise's mind when it comes to their first-round pick this April.

While Metcalf's numbers at Ole Miss won't overly impress you, his athleticism and potential explosiveness as a pro absolutely does. That's why it's no surprise the WR met with the Redskins while at the Combine, as Jay Gruden and Co. are well aware that they must become more dangerous on the outside.

As with any prospect, there are questions with Metcalf. He only had 67 catches in 21 games in school, and while he shredded most of the drills in Indianapolis, his short area agility numbers were worse than Tom Brady. That's not great.

Regardless, he'd instantly become the offense's scariest athlete, and you have to like his chances of at least contributing splash plays early while he learns the nuances of the NFL.

The 'Skins don't just need improvement out wide, however. Jordan Reed was largely ineffective despite playing for much of 2018, Vernon Davis is 35 years old and Jeremy Sprinkle isn't much of a threat in the air at tight end.

Perhaps TJ Hockenson could be their answer. says the Iowa product "is an ascending talent with a chance to become one of the best all-around tight ends in the game." 

One problem the Burgundy and Gold have encountered in recent years is Reed and Davis don't help much as blockers, while Sprinkle won't worry a defense with his hands. Taking Hockenson at pick No. 15 would mean Gruden could finally have a guy who excels in both areas.

It remains to be seen whether Metcalf or Hockenson will last until the Redskins' choice, as they could continue to rise up boards as the draft draws closer. If both or either is there, however, they need to be heavily considered. 

While the offense may have to be run-oriented again in 2019, it still needs more weapons for whoever is under center. They won't be able to grind out 13-play scoring drives every time they need a TD, and grabbing Metcalf or Hockenson would go a long way in introducing a new element to the group.

You've heard the case for both players. Now, retweet or like depending on whom you'd prefer to see move on in the bracket.


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Five of the most memorable and wild Redskins upsets from the past 10 years

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Five of the most memorable and wild Redskins upsets from the past 10 years

Upsets get a lot of attention in March, due to the allure of the NCAA Tournament and the non-allure of everyone who loves to talk about how THEY CALLED that upset that YOU DIDN'T.

With that being said, upsets happen every month of the year, and they go down weekly in the NFL. So, how about we look back at some of the Redskins' particularly surprising wins from the past decade?

Here are five of the most memorable. 

5) 2014 - Redskins 27, Eagles 24

The Eagles came into FedEx Field late in 2014 with a 9-5 record needing a win to remain squarely in the playoff hunt. The Redskins, meanwhile, were just 3-11 and had changed quarterbacks a depressing five times.

Yet in this matchup, Robert Griffin III managed the offense well and DeSean Jackson had more than 120 receiving yards against his former team because DeSean Jackson is awesome.

Yes, the 'Skins were outproduced in nearly every major stat category. But Mark Sanchez — sorry, future Redskin great Mark Sanchez — had two costly turnovers and Cody Parkey missed two field goals (Philly fans have probably forgiven him by now), allowing the home team to squeak out a W.

4) 2009 - Redskins 27, Broncos 17

This is one of those random Redskins games you've probably forgotten about because it came in a lost season, but it was still a miraculous victory.

The most iconic play from this one was a Hunter Smith to Mike Sellers TD on a fake field goal — a fake, mind you, that came after a timeout by Jim Zorn because the unit's first fake punt attempt included only 10 players on the field.

Denver was 6-2 but lost Kyle Orton to injury at halftime. Jason Campbell, on the other hand, helped the Burgundy and Gold score more than 17 points for the first time all year.

"We've had a desert experience -- very arid, if you will -- for the last few weeks," Zorn said postgame. "So to be able to come out with a win, you almost don't know how to feel."

The Zorn Era was terrible, but you have to give the dude credit for working "very arid" into an NFL press conference.

3) 2012 - Redskins 40, Saints 32

There was plenty of hype surrounding RG3's debut, but there was no way he was going to lead the Redskins to a win over the Saints... in his debut... in the Superdome... right?

Wrong. Incorrect. Not right.

Griffin found Pierre Garcon early for an 88-yard score and the offense stayed hot all afternoon, outpacing a New Orleans squad that was favored by more than a touchdown. If you want a further reminder of how impressive this effort was, look back at what happened to this franchise in the Superdome this past season. 

2) 2014 - Redskins 20, Cowboys 17

Dallas' six-game winning streak stood no chance against Colt McCoy, as the Texas legend went into the Cowboys' house for a wild Monday Night triumph.

Kai Forbath's field goal sealed it in overtime and Bashaud Breeland dominated Dez Bryant, but McCoy was the star. On the way to his first successful start in close to three seasons, the signal caller went 25 for 30 in the air and found the end zone on the ground, too.

1) 2017 - Redskins 17, Seahawks 14

If someone in your life thinks they can't do something, just pull up the box score or highlights from this contest. They will then realize that nothing is impossible, because the Redskins beating the Seahawks on this Sunday should've been impossible, yet it somehow happened anyway.

Washington went into Seattle's harsh environment down six starters, including three on the O-line, but Kirk Cousins kept things together and found Brian Quick and Josh Doctson for long completions on a harrowing last drive to steal this result. It wasn't quite UMBC over Virginia, but it was absolutely a stunning final nonetheless.