The Dallas Cowboys (1-0) go on the road for the first time in the 2019 season on Sunday, travelling to take on the Washington Redskins (0-1) at FedEx Field. Dallas is coming off a 35-17 victory over the New York Giants in Week 1, when their offense was about as good as you can get.
The Redskins, on the other hand, came out firing on all cylinders to begin their Week 1 matchup, leading the Philadelphia Eagles 20-7 going to halftime. Washington looked primed to pull off the big upset, but in the second half Philly put their foot on the gas. The Eagles outscored Washington 25-7 from halftime on, giving them a 32-27 victory.
Despite the loss, veteran quarterback Case Keenum played very well leading the Washington offense. He was 30/44 for 380 yards and three touchdowns. The loss proved to be even more costly for the Redskins on Monday, as they found out that two of their better young players, running back Derrius Guice and defensive tackle Jonathan Allen, went down with injuries. Both will be out this weekend against Dallas.
Even though they started hot in Philly, Washington is a lot like the New York Giants, not a great football team. They do have better players top to bottom than New York, and likely will give Dallas a good fight as they always do, but simply put, if Dallas wants to be a playoff team, they should not lose this game.
Before the Cowboys and Redskins square off once again on Sunday, check out our three predictions for this Week Two divisional matchup.
1. Tony Pollard has a big day, including scoring his first touchdown
Despite being back for two weeks now, Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott will likely still not be up to his normal carries. This means we will get to see more of rookie runner Tony Pollard in the backfield. The rookie logged 13 runs for a rather unimpressive 24 yards in his first regular season appearance.
Tony Pollard is a good athlete and could be a great runner some day, but he isn't right now. He needs to become more comfortable out of the backfield. That'll come with reps. Coulda set this one up better. He'll get there, and he's be a great COP guy. Too much recovery time pic.twitter.com/WEKvWG1OPt— Dalton Miller (@DaltonBMiller) September 10, 2019
Despite being without Jonathan Allen, the Redskins still do have an extremely physical defensive line. Da’Ron Payne, another first-round pick out of Alabama, is a solid player, as is Matthew Ioannidis. No matter who is on the line, games between the Cowboys and Redskins are always physical, and this will take a toll on Zeke who is probably not back in 100% football shape.
The Redskins gave up 123 yards on the ground and 313 through the air in their Week 1 matchup with Philadelphia. This shows you can move the ball on their defense, and Tony Pollard will play a big part in that. Remember the wheel route Dallas ran with fullback Jamize Olawale last weekend? Olawale seemed to be past his man, but quarterback Dak Prescott made one of his only poor throws of the game and rushed the pass.
Live, I didn't love the Jamize Olawale wheel route.— Tom Downey (@WhatGoingDowney) September 10, 2019
But upon further review, I actually don't mind it.
Giants brought a well-timed blitz and had it not come, I think Dak would have been able to connect.
Now wait until the wheel route is run with Zeke or Tony Pollard! pic.twitter.com/lCZeP7qm3C
Well I think you are going to see this wheel route again this weekend, but I believe Pollard will be on the receiving end. In the end I think Zeke does the heavy lifting, but Pollard comes in for some splash plays, going for about 100 total yards and scoring his first touchdown.
2. Dak Prescott comes back to earth, throwing for less than 250 yards
You could make the argument no one in the NFL played better than Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott in Week 1. The Dallas signal-caller went 25/32 for 405 yards and four touchdowns. Prescott only got 77 total rushing yards from Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard combined, but it didn’t matter.
Prescott made some outstanding throws in the game, including nice touch passes to Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup.
Dak Prescott 21 yard touchdown pass to Amari Cooper Dallas Cowboys versus New York Giants Week 1 2019 NFL regular season pic.twitter.com/ttoMRKPGnT— ✭ Cowboy X Factor #CowboysandRedskinsWeek (@CowboyXFactor) September 12, 2019
How to go from your own 20 to your opponents 20 in two plays, starring Michael Gallup. pic.twitter.com/xWGzHki8fc— Dan Rogers (@DannyPhantom24) September 9, 2019
Despite having a career day, I think Prescott comes back to earth this weekend against Washington. The Redskins have a much better secondary than the Giants one that Dallas faced last weekend. Josh Norman and Landon Collins are seasoned veterans who still can put together Pro-Bowl level performances, and younger players Jimmy Moreland, Quinton Dunbar, and Montae Nicholson can be effective.
Prescott won’t have a bad day, but it will not be close to the perfect rating game he had in Week 1. This week it is all about ball security for Dak. If he does not turn the football over, Dallas wins the game. Expect a game much like many we saw from him last season. He will complete about 65-70% of his passes, throw for around 200-215 yards, run for about 25-30, and throw one or two touchdowns.
The Redskins defense is just more physical and overall more talented than the Giants was, so don’t expect to see guys streaking wide open down the field time and time again like we saw last weekend.
3. Maher’s redemption. Dallas wins the game on a Maher 49-yard field goal
Last season when the Dallas Cowboys traveled to Washington in Week 7, the game came down to a field goal try to send it to overtime. After a snap infraction penalty, the kick was moved five yards back, and Dallas kicker Brett Maher hit the left upright and missed. Dallas fell to 3-4 on the season and things looked bleak, but we all know how that turned out.
On Sunday, Maher will get his chance at redemption, and this time he will not miss. Last season the Cowboys’ kicker registered his first two game-winning kicks against the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons, and on Sunday afternoon he will get his third.
In the large scheme of things, Dallas is a much better team than the Redskins, but after losing Week 1 Washington will come into this game desperate for a victory and play the Cowboys tough. Whenever these two teams match up, the games are always physical, close games, especially at FedEx Field.
The Dallas offense will play good football, not great football, but will do just enough to get them in position for a game-winning field goal at the buzzer. The defense has a great day, holding the Redskins’ passing offense in check, allowing Brett Maher to walk it off with a final score of 20-17.