Who’s ready for some quality NFC East football? All kidding aside, this Sunday is do or die for the Dallas Cowboys. Coming off an embarrassing loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night, Dallas faces a must-win game against the Washington Football Team.
Washington has been one of the worst teams in the NFL this season, but so have the Cowboys. Coming into the season, with a healthy Dak Prescott, this game was seen by the majority as an automatic win. But, with crippling injuries on both sides of the ball, the outcome of this game has gained much more uncertainty.
We’ve seen by their performance on the field the Cowboys aren’t going to be a serious contender this season. Even if they can’t make a deep run in the postseason, if you still believe this team can win the dreadful NFC East, they must win their next two games.
Before Dallas and Washington take the field on Sunday, here’s what we know, don’t know, and will find out.
We know this is the best chance for the Cowboys’ defense to finally generate some turnovers
Once again, the Dallas Cowboys’ defense is struggling to take the football away from opposing teams. Sound familiar? The biggest problem that has haunted the Dallas defense for years on end has continued this year.
The Cowboys are one of two teams in the NFL with just one interception on the season. They also are tied with the Las Vegas Raiders and Green Bay Packers in the basement of the NFL with just three turnovers forced. This problem is one that dates back plenty of years, but if there was one game for the Cowboys to turn their turnover problem around, it’s this one.
The Washington Football team has been generous about giving the ball away six games into this season. Washington is tied for the fifth most giveaways in the league with 10 on the season. The Football Team has turned the ball over in four of their six games, turning it over a stunning five times in their Week Three matchup with Cleveland.
Kyle Allen, their new starting quarterback, has been no stranger to turning the football over in his brief NFL career. Dating back to last season with Carolina, Allen has thrown at least one interception in nine of his last 11 games. Interceptions have not been the only problem, he also has fumbled eight times in those 11 games.
Breaking down James Bradberry’s interception and how Patrick Graham tricked Kyle Allen pic.twitter.com/5aBwkkptIZ— Bobby Skinner (@BobbySkinner_) October 21, 2020
If Dallas finally wants to flip their turnover luck in the slightest way, it must start this week against Washington. This team, and quarterback, will give them chances to take the football away. It’s up to the Cowboys’ defense to actually do it.
We don’t know if the Cowboys’ makeshift offensive line can hold up against the Washington defensive front
There were tons of issues against Arizona last week, but the Cowboys’ offensive line struggles neared the top of the list. After losing All-Pro Zack Martin early in the game, the offensive line was not able to give Andy Dalton much time to throw all night.
Young tackles Brandon Knight and Terence Steele both allowed three quarterback hurries, and Knight was responsible for two sacks. PFF graded both tackles with pass blocking grades below 55 for the game. This week, things don’t get any easier. Dallas will be without Knight due to a knee injury, and will have to start Cameron Erving and Steele at the tackle spots against this dominant Washington defensive front.
If Terence Steele doesn't suck, CeeDee is open for nice pickup pic.twitter.com/Wy5RbAmdgb— Tom Downey (@WhatGoingDowney) October 5, 2020
Washington’s 16 sacks are tied for the ninth most in football this season, and they have four players with at least 2.0 sacks on the year. In comparison, the Cowboys have one player, Aldon Smith, who has registered more than 1.5 sacks on the season.
Rookie stud Chase Young, second-year man Montez Sweat and Pro Bowler Ryan Kerrigan are going to pose a huge problem for the Cowboys offensive line. Dallas is left with just one starter from what they envisioned their offensive line would look like before the season started, and this issue will likely be a problem this Sunday. We saw how much success Arizona had when blitzing against Dallas, Washington has such a talented defensive line they likely won’t even have to blitz to generate pressure.
Young DE Chase Young & Montez Sweat will present problems for this injured Cowboys offensive line. pic.twitter.com/PQHGkqYkOt— Big Game James (@YaitesJames) October 22, 2020
If Dallas wins this game, it’s going to be because their offensive line played much better than they did last week. However, the chance of that happening against this Washington front is definitely not great.
We’re about to find out if it’s time to start scouting some top 10 picks
It’s pretty simple, if Dallas can’t find a way to beat this Washington Football Team, it’s time to start looking at a potential top 10 pick. Even with all their injuries, the Cowboys are still a much better team on paper than Washington. They have so much more talent at skill positions, and despite their poor play to date, their defense has just as many proven talents as Washington.
Now, as we’ve seen six games into 2020, talent on paper doesn’t mean much. Time and time again this season we’ve heard the same story coming out of Dallas. The defense is going to simplify things, the offense is going to cut down the turnovers and get off to a better start, and we’ll finally see a complete game from this team. Six games in, we’re still yet to see this performance.
Sunday is going to be judgement day for the Cowboys. No, if they win they are not going to become a true playoff contender in the NFC East, but if they lose, there’s no way you can argue they aren’t one of the five or six worst teams in football. If Dallas comes out with a win, not much will change, but if they lose, fire up the draft show and look at some players near the top of the board.