Dallas Week culminates when the Redskins take on the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day.
Families throughout the DMV will try to time their turkeys for a perfect golden brown during halftime of the 4:30 kickoff, and considering the game is indoors at Jerry Jones' football palace, weather will not be a concern.
Beware of the food coma as all the coverage starts with Redskins Kickoff on CSN at 3:30. Here are five storylines to watch in the 113th meeting of Redskins vs Cowboys.
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1. Going streaking — The Redskins have not lost a game in more than a month and are coming off their best victory of the season over the Green Bay Packers.
In that game, the Washington offense finally clicked on all cylinders as Kirk Cousins threw for 375 yards and three touchdowns and the team posted more than 500 yards of total offense in a 42-24 romp. Dallas is on their own streak, winners of an impressive nine straight games and in sole possession of the best record in the NFL at 9-1.
Somebody's streak will snap by the time the pecan pie rolls out Thursday night.
2. Yeah, but who have you beaten? — There's some thought that the Dallas win streak is less impressive because they haven't played many tough teams.
It's true that the Cowboys last eight opponents are all below .500, they've only played two teams with winning records, and lost one of them. That said — the Cowboys pulled off a come-from-behind win against the Steelers in Pittsburgh two weeks ago before knocking off the Ravens by 10 points last week.
Neither of those wins was easy.
3. Texas Shootout — Washington's offense ranks second in the league at 418 yards-per-game; Dallas ranks fourth at 413. Kirk Cousins and the 'Skins pass the ball better than Dak Prescott and the Cowboys - Washington ranks 3rd overall in pass-yards-per-game, Dallas is 15th - but the scenario is flipped when it comes to running the ball.
Behind a dominant offensive line, the Cowboys rank 1st in the NFL for their run game that goes for more than 150 yards-per-game. Rookie RB Ezekiell Elliott leads the NFL with 1,102 rush yards. The 'Skins rank 10th at 117 YPG, good but not superb like the Dallas ground game. All signs point to both teams moving the ball on Thursday, just like the first matchup between the team where both offenses went for more than 800 total yards combined.
4. Lessons from September — Looking at the box score from the Redskins' Week 2 loss to the Cowboys, no numbers really stick out. The game was hard fought and tight throughout, but an end zone interception from Cousins cost the 'Skins an imporant chance to score.
In fact, red zone scoring has been the only negative aspect of Washington's offensive game this season, though it seemed the team worked some of that out last week dropping 42 on Green Bay. Jay Gruden talked time and time again of the Redskins attack being capable of scoring inside the 20, and the coach wisely preached patience with his team.
5. Beware of the 2nd quarter— This season, the Redskins defense has repeatedly had letdowns in the second quarter. In multiple games, Washington has gotten out to a 14-0 lead only to see the opponent come back and tie the score or take the lead (vs Cleveland, Philadelphia and Minnesota).
The second quarter woes prompted defensive coordinator Joe Barry to joke that he only remembered the 1st, 3rd and 4th quarters from the Vikings games. In fact, the Redskins have allowed more second quarter points (91) this season than the first and third quarters combined (81). Making that problem worse: Dallas' offense scores the most in the second quarter.
Oddly, the Cowboys have exactly 91 second-quarter points scored this season, the same amount the Skins have given up. For Washington, winning the second quarter leads to a much higher probability of winning the game.
Numbers & Notes:
- A win Thursday would give the Redskins victories in consecutive Thanksgiving contests for the first time in team history.
- A win Thursday would give the Redskins three consecutive seasons with victories in Dallas for the first time since 1987-89.
- If Kirk Cousins throws for more than 400 yards Thursday, he would take sole possession of most 400-yard passing games in franchise history. Currently, Cousins is tied with Sonny Jurgdensen and Mark Rypien, and another 400-yard passing day would make Cousins the only Redskins to accomplish the feat twice in one season.
- If Jamison Crowder scores a TD, it would be the first time in his career to do so in four straight games, and he would be the first Redskins pass catcher with a TD in four straight games since Fred Davis in 2009.
- If Robert Kelley rushes for 10 yards or more, he will become the first Redskins running back to post consecutive 100-yard rushing games since Alfred Morris in Weeks 8-9 of the 2013 season. He would be the first Redskins rookie to accomplish the feat since Morris in Weeks 11-13 of the 2012 season.
- Josh Norman has forced two fumbles this season, and if he can force one more, three forced fumbles would be a career high.
- With one catch Thursday, tight end Jordan Reed will tie Brian Mitchell in 14th place with 232 career receptions with the Redskins. Reed is only seven catches behind Larry Brown on the 'Skins all-time receptions list at 13th place.
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