For Cowboys fans, there is one positive thing about playing on Monday Night, ten days after the Thanksgiving game: It allows you more time to get your hopes up about the Cowboys again.
After all the woe-is-us chanting following Tony Romo's injury and the loss against the Panthers last week, talk among many Cowboys fans quickly turned towards the woesome state of the NFC East and the fact that the Cowboys are just two games out of the division lead - and have a chance to close that lead to just one game with a win in Washington and a Jets win over the Giants.
National observers are having none of that nonsense, thank you very much.
Currently 92% of the media experts and algorithms tracked by NFLPickwatch.com favor the Redskins, and the eight-man panel of writers we've followed all season unanimously pick the Redskins for the win on Monday:
|Name (Cowboys Accuracy)
Michael Smith, Pro Football Talk (9-2)
||24-10||I don’t think I can pick the Matt Cassel-led Cowboys to beat anyone. Washington will strengthen its hold on the NFC East lead.|
Sam Farmer, LA Times (8-3)
||31-17||Hard to pick against a Redskins team that has been good at home — especially the play of quarterback Kirk Cousins — against a Cowboys team that has yet to prove it can win without Tony Romo, who's out for the year.|
David Steele, Sporting News (8-3)
||20-18||Another throw-the-record-books-out rivalry, as proven when they met on Monday night in Arlington last year, immortalized as the Colt McCoy Game. No Tony Romo for the Cowboys, obviously. Washington and Kirk Cousins have won five straight at home, including two NFC East games. Rivalry or not, all things considered, Washington can’t be taken seriously if it loses this one.|
Elliot Harrison, NFL.com (7-4)
||17-14||Jerry Jones might have said this week he expects Tony Romo to play at a high level for the next four to five years -- but Romo's not walking through that door Monday.|
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports (6-5)
||27-20||The Redskins are in first place and the Cowboys are playing out the string. That's hard to believe. Kirk Cousins has played well at home, but now the pressure is on. I say he plays well in that situation. Redskins keep winning.|
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk (6-5)
||23-17||Washington is hard to beat at home. Dallas without Tony Romo is easy to beat anywhere. Advantage Washington.|
Greg Cote, Miami Herald (4-7)
||23-20||Not a great Monday matchup, but the rivalry has its selling points. Kirk Cousins has won five straight home starts and been terrific in them, yet I don’t quite trust the ’Skins. Dallas has won five of past seven trips to D.C., yet I don’t trust the Tony Romo-less ’Boys. I’ll split the difference. Washers eke it out but don’t cover.|
Peter Schrager, Foxsports (4-7)
||27-20||Don't look now, but Kirk Cousins is making himself quite a bit of coin in his walk year. He's also getting the job done for the Redskins. Washington is a mess on the road, but doesn't lose at home. Without Tony Romo, the Cowboys are just a mess.|
Even ESPN's Todd Archer, whom we hold in high esteem here, doesn't see the Cowboys winning this one.
Kirk Cousins hasn't thrown an interception at home since the season opener and Washington is 5-1 at home this year. The Cowboys and takeaways simply do not go together this year. For the first time since 2010, the Cowboys will finish with a losing record. Redskins 24, Cowboys 20.
So public opinion is stacked against the Cowboys. Big deal.
This is a divisional game, and anything can happen in a divisional game. Last year, the 6-1 Cowboys lost at home to the 2-5 Redskins in overtime in a low-scoring 20-17 affair. Which is why I'm going to predict the opposite, a blowout Cowboys win: Cowboys 34 - Redskins 17.
What's your expectation for the game?