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Cowboys @ Washington Football Team: What the experts are predicting about the game

Time to take a look at what the experts are predicting for this week’s Cowboys game.

NFL-Dallas Cowboys at Washington Football Team Photo by Jonathan Newton /The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys, after a tough but satisfying win on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, must now turn around on a very short week to face off against the Washington Football Team. That beat them pretty bad the last time they met. Both teams are going into the game on wins but only one will come out on Thanksgiving number one in the division. So let's take a look at who the experts are picking for this game.

ProFootballTalk (Mike Florio): Cowboys 27, Washington 20

Strength coach Markus Paul’s medical emergency wiped out Tuesday’s practice and left the players and coaches rattled. Playing on Thursday could be a welcome respite, and a way to pay tribute to Paul.

We’ll have to see how the tragedy of this week affects the team.

ProFootballTalk (Michael Smith): Cowboys 28, Washington 14

It sounds ridiculous for two 3-7 teams, but this is a big one in the NFC East race. I think the Cowboys are going to make a statement.

It’s amazing how one win can change peoples perspectives on things.

Athlon Sports (Rob McVey): Washington 24, Dallas 20

The Cowboys looked like a much-improved team in their win against the Vikings last week. Dallas also carries some much-needed momentum into this matchup courtesy of last Sunday’s upset victory. And it’s hard not to like the Cowboys’ chances against a Washington team that has beaten them just once in nine previous Thanksgiving matchups. If the Cowboys truly have their mojo back, a Dallas win is not only possible, it’s likely. On the other hand, it’s difficult to trust a Cowboys team that has yet to put together back-to-back wins all season, especially against a Washington team that held them to just three points and 142 yards of total offense just a few short weeks ago.

It will be closer this time around, but the Washington pass rush will once again prove to be too much for Dallas to handle. The Washington Football Team escapes “Jerry World” with a narrow Turkey Day victory to complete the regular-season sweep of the Cowboys and propel itself into first place in the NFC East.

The pass rush will be a problem but the new look offensive line should handle it.

ESPN (Todd Archer): Cowboys 27, Washington 17

With first place in the NFC East on the line — at least until Sunday — which team will make fewer mistakes? The Cowboys have had at least one turnover in every game since the season opener and have 21 on the season, second most in the league. Washington has 17 giveaways, which is tied for fifth most. While the teams’ 3-7 records indicate how poorly the season has gone, there is still a chance to make the playoffs by winning the division. Taking care of the ball matters even more when the margin for error is so small.

They need to get to Alex Smith the way they did Kirk Cousins last week.

ESPN (John Keim): Cowboys 27, Washington 24

In three home games against Washington, Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has averaged 113.3 yards and 1.3 touchdowns. So naturally, he will rush for 113 yards and a touchdown on Thursday. Washington’s run defense has been inconsistent at best, partly because some of its linemen continue to use two-gap techniques in a one-gap system and then the linebackers don’t attack often enough. Quarterback Alex Smith will keep Washington in this game, but when Elliott cracks 100 yards, Dallas is 23-4.

Wow, the Washington beat writer believes Zeke will hit 100 yards again against this line. (Gregg Rosenthal): Washington Football Team 24, Dallas Cowboys 21

Alex Smith vs. Andy Dalton in what is annually the most-watched time slot of the NFL season feels like taking a portal back to the innocent days of 2015. While the Dallas defense has greatly improved over the last month, Smith is playing better than I imagined possible for a plucky Washington outfit and is ready to spread some holiday cheer.

We will see if Smith will be able to sling it around.

Right now, it looks like the Cowboys are the favorite in most of the experts eyes thanks to an impressive win against a good Vikings team. This game for the Cowboys hinges on their ability to keep Chase Young and company at bay long enough for Dalton to push the ball down field and give Zeke holes big enough to force them to back off of their pass rush.

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