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Can Adrian Peterson carry the Redskins to victory over the Cowboys on Thanksgiving?

Adrian Peterson is now the weapon the Cowboys will zone in on. Will they have issues stopping him?

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

After suffering a gruesome leg injury against the Houston Texans last week, Alex Smith will not be playing football for the remainder of the 2018 season. In his place is Colt McCoy who has been a veteran backup quarterback in the league for eight years. McCoy has been a spot starter for the Redskins, 49ers, and Browns, and has accumulated a 7-18-0 record since entering the league in 2010. With the Redskins downgrading at quarterback, the Redskins offensive success will likely flow through their running game with Adrian Peterson.

Peterson, now 33, has had a relatively great season, given the expectations placed on him when signing with the Redskins back in August. Peterson has started 10 games this season, has carried the football 171 times, for 723 yards (4.2 YPC), and six touchdowns. Peterson has also added 14 receptions, for 168 yards, and a touchdown to his stat line as well. He has been inconsistent, but at times has also showed flashes of being the player he once was with Minnesota when he was a MVP candidate and NFL rushing leader year after year.

Through Washington’s 10 games, Peterson has had five games in which he rushed for at least 90 yards on the ground. He’s also had three games where he rushed for 20 or fewer yards on the ground. Last time the Cowboys saw Peterson, he had a very nice day against the Cowboys stout run defense. In their week seven matchup, Peterson rushed for 99 yards on 24 carries. Peterson didn’t take over the game by any means, but he was able to break off a handful of big runs that helped push the Redskins to victory. Can the Cowboys run defense find a way to keep Peterson from single-handedly winning this huge divisional game?

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys already rank near the top in every defensive rushing category in the NFL. Currently, Dallas is ranked fifth in total rushing yards, fifth in rushing yards per game, tied for third in rushing touchdowns allowed, fourth in yards per attempt, 12th in first down runs. They certainly sound like they’ll have some reinforcements coming back to help. After missing last weeks game in Atlanta due to being the concussion protocol, Antwaun Woods, the Cowboys starting 1-technique, will be returning to help the defensive line control Peterson and Co. Woods has been on of the most consistent defenders on the Cowboys this season playing well inside against the running game, and actually providing a bit of a push when rushing the passer.

Along with Woods, Taco Charlton and Daniel Ross have practiced in limited fashion on both Monday and Tuesday. Daniel Ross has had a solid season playing defensive tackle, and if able to return, will have a favorable matchup against a banged up Washington interior offensive line. Charlton is also on track to return after missing the last two games with a shoulder injury. Charlton, while struggling to bring the QB down, has played well against the run at times this season.

With Alex Smith, Paul Richardson, Jamison Crowder, and Chris Thompson all likely OUT against Dallas, the Redskins will have to rely on their running game to find any success on offense. Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard will be sure to put emphasis on stopping Adrian Peterson, and not allowing him to single-handedly win this game for the Redskins.

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