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Cowboys vs. Washington: Three Things To Watch For

A few items that could turn the complexion of the game.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Three easy things to watch for tonight that could have huge impacts on the game tonight.

1. Lately, the issues of sacks, or more accurately, lack of sacks, for the Dallas Cowboys has been much discussed. We have done our fair share here on BTB (OCC hereneithan20000 hereDawn here). Tonight's game should be interesting to see if the Cowboys linebackers, now that all three starters are healthy and ready to play an entire game together, can generate some much-needed heat on Colt McCoy that could either result in sacks, or create them for the linemen. In particular, Bruce Carter being back should be the real impetus. He's been as good at getting to the passer as anyone the Cowboys have had this year. So will his return spark a big night in the sack department for the Cowboys defense.

2. The Washington secondary against the Cowboys receivers. Everyone knows the Cowboys are going to run the ball, but when they go to the air, they are just as effective. Tony Romo is killing it this year: He's second in completion percentage (69.2) and fourth in yards per attempt (8.26), those are two of the most important categories for a QB. Since the 49ers game, he's only thrown three interceptions. He's got Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams, and Washington has rookie Bashaud Breeland and second-year player David Amerson starting at corner. Teams are obligated to stack the line to stop the Cowboys running game, leaving the corners on islands much of the time. There is a reason Romo has those completion percentage and YPA numbers this year.

3. Jeremy Parnell. Last week, Parnell held up pretty well, but watching the tape there were definitely some issues. His recognition/reaction to speed rushes was decidedly slow. I would expect Jim Haslett to target him with speed rushes, but he'll also use complex stunts and blitzes to confuse him. And don't forget, Tyron Smith has been struggling a bit, is his ankle injury bothering him more than we thought? I don't think Washington can stop the Cowboys run, so their best bet is to hit Romo and get some turnovers and mistakes out of their pass rush.

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