After getting back on track with a win last Thursday, the Dallas Cowboys travel to Washington to take on the Football Team this Sunday. Before the two teams square off in the biggest game of the season for both sides, here are three bold predictions for Sunday’s matchup.
1) Cowboys force Taylor Heinicke into two interceptions
In the Washington Football Team’s four-game winning streak, Taylor Heinicke has been playing his best football of the season. The signal-caller has completed nearly 77% of his passes, averaged a Pro Football Focus passing grade of nearly 74, and tossed seven touchdown passes to just two interceptions during the hot streak. Heinicke really has turned things around from his rough start to the season, but on Sunday afternoon the Cowboys are going to force him to revert to his old habits.
One thing the undrafted free agent has struggled with this season is performing when under pressure.
Heinicke has just a 58.4% completion percentage this season when under pressure and has tossed just five touchdown passes to four interceptions. His Pro Football Focus offensive grade is a 70.4 when kept clean, as opposed to a 57.9 grade when under pressure. The signal-caller also has thrown at least one interception in seven of ten games that he has been sacked at least one time.
With Randy Gregory, Neville Gallimore, DeMarcus Lawrence, and Micah Parsons all healthy and playing in this game, the Cowboys are going to put constant pressure on the Washington signal-caller. The Football Team offensive line has given up 19 sacks over their last six games, and that number is going to go up by a few on Sunday.
A healthy Cowboys pass rush will force Heinicke into making some bad throws, and the Dallas secondary will take advantage. Trevon Diggs and Jourdan Lewis both haul in interceptions as Heinicke has his first multi-interception game since Week 8.
2) Amari Cooper goes for over 110 receiving yards and scores two touchdowns
Since joining the Cowboys back in 2018, Amari Cooper has played five games against Washington. Below are his stat lines from those games.
- Week 12, 2018 = 8 catches,180 yards 2 TDs
- Week 2, 2019 = 4 catches, 44 yards 1 TD
- Week 17, 2019 = 4 catches, 92 yards
- Week 7, 2020 = 7 catches 80 yards
- Week 12, 2020= 6 catches, 112 yards 1 TD
If you put it all together, Cooper has averaged nearly six catches for 102 yards and a touchdown against Washington since joining the Cowboys. On Sunday, he’s going to make those numbers even higher.
It’s been a while since Cooper has had a really big game. His last really great performance came in Week 8 against the Vikings in which he caught eight passes for 122 yards and a touchdown. Since that game, Cooper has had to deal with missing two games with COVID and playing very limited snaps in his return against New Orleans last week.
This week, with a 10-day break in between games, Cooper will be fully ready to go and good to play as many offensive snaps as possible. This does not bode well for a Washington secondary that has struggled this season, ranked as the eighth-worst coverage unit in football, according to PFF. Washington does not have the playmakers in the secondary necessary to slow down the explosive Cowboys offense, and Cooper’s going to be the one to make them pay Sunday. He goes for over 100 receiving yards and scores two touchdowns playing a pivotal part in the Cowboys walking out with a win.
3) Cowboys record a double-digit victory
The Cowboys and Football Team are not on the same level. Dallas has a significantly better offense, and without Chase Young and Montez Sweat, the Cowboys might even be better on the defensive side of the ball as well.
It’s been a month, since Week 10 against Atlanta, that we really saw the Cowboys play to their full potential. This Sunday at FedEx Field the Cowboys offense comes back to life and we see a dominating performance. Washington is unable to stop Dak Prescott and the Cowboys’ passing attack, helping Dallas get out to an early lead. With Washington playing from behind, the Cowboys are able to send tons of pressure at Taylor Heinicke, resulting in him turning the football over.
The Cowboys walk out of Washington with their fifth double-digit victory of the season and take a commanding lead over the Football Team in the NFC East.