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Cowboys news: Final injury report, matchups to watch, and game predictions for the Washington game

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NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Brett Favre’s biting Cowboys critique; 10 other notes - Jon Machota, The Athletic

How offensive coordinator Kellen Moore feels about the team’s backup quarterback.

9. Start No. 2 for Andy Dalton.

The Cowboys starting QB is hoping his second start in Dallas goes much better than the first. The problem is that Washington’s defensive front is more talented than the one that was all over Dalton Monday night.

“We’re feeling like we made some tremendous strides this week, this second week with this group essentially,” Moore said. “I thought Andy battled. He fought. Those are challenging circumstances. You’re playing from behind. They’re playing two-man, they’re going to cover everyone really well, they got a really good defense, and their front four was getting after it. That’s a tough situation for any quarterback, and he hung in there, took a couple shots while he stood in there and threw some balls. And respect the heck out of him. I think we’re all really, really excited about where hopefully this thing is going.”

Of course, Dalton won’t be able to do very much if that offensive line doesn’t hold up as they are missing several pieces. Here is this week’s final injury report for both teams:

Keys to Victory: Cowboys Will Win This Game If ... Bucky Brooks, Dallas Cowboys

This week’s keys to victory.

The Cowboys will win if…

The blueprint for a Cowboys’ win consists of clean football on both sides of the ball. The offense must avoid putting the team in an early hole with turnovers and silly penalties while establishing a rhythm as a balanced offense. Elliott has to step up as the No.1 offensive player and give the Cowboys 100-plus scrimmage yards as part of a game plan that emphasizes ball control and time of possession. Dalton will need to make a few plays in the passing game to keep the WFT from loading the box but those throws should occur on early downs. If Kellen Moore can scale back on some of the risky throws that lead to interceptions from the veteran, the Cowboys can win with a quick-rhythm passing game loaded with short passes to Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup.

Defensively, the Cowboys need to eliminate the big plays that have hurt them on the ground and through the air. The defense must plug the holes in the box and not allow any of the WFT’s runners to squirt through the line for big gains. In addition, the Cowboys needs to step up their intensity and physicality. They must punish every runner that touches the ball and make them earn every yard.

Washington Vs. Cowboys Preview: Dallas’ High-Powered Offense Comes To FedExField - Zach Selby, Washington Football

A preview of today’s game from the Washington perspective, including...

INTRIGUING MATCHUPS

Antonio Gibson vs. Ezekiel ElliottElliott has been regarded as one of the best running backs in the NFL since being drafted by Dallas in 2016. He has led the league in rushing twice, been to the Pro Bowl three times and was voted first team All-Pro in his rookie season.

Antonio Gibson, who Washington drafted in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft, has only been a full-time running back for six games, but his talent has been apparent in every game. He is the team’s leading rusher with 243 yards as well as its fifth-leading receiver with 147 yards. His 390 total yards are second only to wide receiver Terry McLaurin.

Elliott and Gibson won’t directly compete against each other, but their performances will influence the outcome Sunday. Washington allows an average of 130 yards on the ground, but members of Washington’s defensive line are still performing well this year. Chase Young and Montez Sweat were the third and ninth-ranked edge defender in Week 6, respectively, according to Pro Football Focus. The team has also tried to get more production out of its linebackers by getting Cole Holcomb in the rotation after the former North Carolina Tar Heel missed four weeks with a knee injury. That strategy seems to have worked, as Holcomb and free safety Deshazor Everett led the team with six tackles.

Film room: 3 bold predictions for Cowboys-Washington, including what to expect from Randy Gregory’s season debut - John Owning, Dallas Morning News

Three predictions for today’s game, including how It’s hard seeing this go well for the Cowboys banged up offensive line against this tough Washington front.

Chase Young will equal his season sack total against Dallas

Coming into this game, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where rookie Chase Young doesn’t have a dominant performance.

With Brandon Knight out and Zack Martin’s status up in the air, the Cowboys just don’t have any offensive linemen talented enough to consistently block Young one-on-one, and Washington boasts too much talent upfront to devote significant resources toward stopping any one particular player, as Montez Sweat, Ryan Kerrigan, Jonathan Allen and Da’Ron Payne also present incredibly tough challenges for Dallas’ offensive line in the run and pass games.

Coming into Sunday, Young has officially recorded 2.5 sacks this season — don’t be surprised if the rookie matches that total this week.

Cowboys Trevon Diggs top-3 rookie CBs in completion percentage - Matthew Lenix, Cowboys Wire

If you’re looking for some good news pertaining this Cowboys defense, it’s there. You just have to Diggs a little bit for it.

Trevon Diggs had high expectations placed on him after being selected with the 51st pick in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. It didn’t take long for him to be thrown to the wolves as Julio Jones, DeAndre Hopkins, Odell Beckham Jr, Robert Woods, and D.K. Metcalf have all lined up across from him in his first six games for the Dallas Cowboys.

Through this baptism by fire Diggs has had some struggles but he’s also had a short memory which has allowed him to stay very competitive. After six weeks, Diggs is allowing the third-lowest completion percentage for all rookie cornerbacks.

Gut Feeling: Predictions For Cowboys-Washington - Staff, Dallas Cowboys

A gut feeling for today’s game.

David Helman: I don’t remember the last time I was so unhappy about picking a game. Even after everything that’s gone wrong … I hate myself for saying that the Cowboys still look like the better team on paper. Terry McLaurin scares me, but I can’t say I trust Kyle Allen to get him the ball on a regular basis. Washington’s offense looks completely toothless. Having said that, Washington’s greatest strength is easily the Cowboys’ greatest weakness. Those guys employ five first-round picks on their defensive front, and the Dallas offensive line is obviously in shambles. Hopefully, Kellen Moore and Andy Dalton spent the week scheming up ways to get rid of the ball quickly. I’m guessing it’s going to be hard to do, and that’s why I think it’s going to be a sloppy, ugly game. I’m thinking there will be a lot of field goals, and four combined turnovers from both teams. At the end of the day, Dallas ekes out a 18-16 win to reclaim their division lead.

Expert predictions for Cowboys-Washington: Can Dallas get on track, prove it’s capable of winning the sorry NFC East? - Staff, Dallas Morning News

Game predictions that are pretty conflicted when it comes to which team will emerge today.

Some have the Cowboys pulling out the win...

John Owning

Washington’s defensive line is going to have a field day against Dallas’ rag-tag offensive line, but I’m not sure Washington’s offense is good enough to consistently move the ball, even against Dallas’ defense. It’s going to come down to turnovers, and while Dallas has been horrible in that department thus far, they’re bound to regress back to the mean eventually — might as well start against Washington. Cowboys 17, Washington 13

And some do not...

Jean-Jacques Taylor

The offensive line is in shambles and Washington has one of the NFL’s best young defensive lines. Arizona showed that relentlessly attacking the Cowboys and quarterback Andy Dalton will lead to mistakes and turnovers. Washington is a bad team; the Cowboys are worse. Washington 23, Dallas 9

Is the game televised in your neck of the woods? Check out this week’s TV coverage map courtesy of 506 Sports.

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