The Turkey Bowl is finally upon us! One of the biggest highlights on the Dallas Cowboys calendar happens this Thursday, when they host their NFC East rival, the Washington Commanders. Both teams are in very different places as they get set to square off this Thanksgiving, but how does both teams offense’s matchup against each other? Let’s find out.
Dak Prescott threw his 18th touchdown of the season with an 18-yard pass to Luke Schoonmaker to open the scoring against the Carolina Panthers last week. The Cowboys dominated during the Week 11 matchup, and once again Dak earned an early finish and spent the fourth quarter on the sideline watching Cooper Rush close out the contest. Prescott earned a 95.2 quarterback rating Sunday and stayed clean by throwing zero interceptions. The Panthers managed to get within one score of the Cowboys, but Dallas went from 17-10 at the end of the third quarter, to 30-10 with 14 minutes of the fourth quarter left to play, a dominant display. This week Dak faces a Washington defense that just allowed third-string rookie quarterback Tommy DeVito to throw for nearly 250 yards and three touchdowns. The Commanders defense is allowing the second-most passing touchdowns and seventh-most passing yards in their last three games. While Dak is first in passing touchdowns, second in passing yards and third in completion percentage over that same time frame.
Sam Howell, believe it or not, is leading the NFL in passing yards and has thrown 18 touchdowns this year, which is fourth-most. But his stats are slightly misleading due to the fact the Commanders defense is playing so badly, and allowing 373 yards per game. Another stat to prove the point, Howell is throwing the ball so much to try and keep games competitive is he also leads the NFL in pass attempts, but more importantly he leads the NFL with 12 interceptions. He’s also throwing a completion rate of 66%, which ranks 14th among starting quarterbacks, and he’s averaging only 6.9 yards per attempt, which is 20th.
The Cowboys offense being led by Dak has the team scoring an averaging of 30 points per game, where Howell and the Washington offense is scoring an average of 21 points per game.
Tony Pollard/Rico Dowdle
Tony Pollard has been ascending as a rusher the last few weeks and after his last performance against the Panthers, fans should feel excited about the direction the running game is now heading. Pollard averaged 5.1 yards-per-carry last week and found the endzone for a fantastic effort score. He also added to his tally by making four catches for 19 yards. Hunter Luepke also needs his flowers for some fantastic blocking last week and is really showing his worth as a traditional fullback. His blocks in the second level really helped Pollard get extra yards and into the endozne.
Antonio Gibson missed the last game against the New York Giants with a toe injury, his status for this Thursday’s game is unknown. Leading the team in rushing is Brian Robinson. He’s rushed for 558 yards this year which ranks 17th among starting running backs, and has scored five rushing touchdowns, which is more than Pollard. Unfortunately for the Commanders, Robinson is the only guy with any sort of production out the backfield, and the team has no one else they can rely on to relieve Robinson when they need it. As a result, the Commanders rank sixth-worst as a team in rush yards, and have less rushing yards than Dallas.
The Cowboys defense did enough to keep the Panthers rushing attack from getting too much traction last week and is allowing an average of 109 yards per game this season. Washington is allowing 114 yards per game.
CeeDee Lamb/Brandin Cooks/Michael Gallup
Since Week 8, CeeDee Lamb has been targeted 53 times, made 40 receptions and scored five times. That’s an incredible stat line from the Cowboys leading receiver. Both he and Brandin Cooks had slow statistical games last week, but they also exposed the Panthers discipline issues and caused a few defensive penalties which kept drives alive. Dak really spread the wealth with ball last week with four receivers going over 30 yards receiving and nine players recorded a reception.
On the Commanders side, for all the yards Howell has thrown for this season, only Jahan Dotson has a 100-yard game under his belt. As for “Scary” Terry, he does lead the team in receptions and receiving yards, but he’s only scored twice this year. His 644 receiving yards this season ranks 24th-most. Dotson is leading the team in touchdowns, with four. But he also leads the team in dropped passes.
The Cowboys defense is still allowing the second-fewest receiving yards this year and is allowing an average passer rating of 78.2, fifth-lowest allowed in the NFL. The Commanders defense however is allowing third-most receiving yards, the most passing touchdowns and the worst passer rating allowed of 100.8
Jake Ferguson played a fine game last week. He made three receptions off five targets for 32 yards. He didn’t score for the first time in four weeks, but he was very effective as a run blocker.
Logan Thomas has 409 receiving yards this season, that ranks 15th among tight ends. He ranks second on the teams score sheet with three touchdowns, but his last score came four weeks ago.
A big boost for Luke Schoonmaker came in last week with his second touchdown on the season, which is more than Jason Witten’s rookie year. Although Ferguson doesn’t have as many receiving yards as Logan Thomas, he has scored more. Ferguson we could say is a better blocker than Thomas at the moment.
The Cowboys offensive line has gone two weeks without allowing a single sack. Although Terence Steele allowed the most pressures last week (five), he was instrumental as a run blocker, on one play taking two Panthers defenders out on a toss play. One element which has helped Pollard in the run game is there seems to be a shift on the offensive line on using more zone concepts as apposed to gap power. It makes sense for the coaches to stick with this trend this week against a Commanders defensive line that has issues against zone blocking schemes, and is allowing the third-most rush yards-per-attempt this season.
So let’s talk about the Commanders offensive line. Well they are allowing the fourth-most pressures in the league and Howell has been sacked 51 times this season, the most in the league (Zack Wilson is second-most at 38 sacks). With the Cowboys pass rush being so effective this season, this will be giving Howell and his offensive line major headaches. The Cowboys defense rank fifth in sacks this season and made six sacks last week against Bryce Young. As for their run blocking, it’s close but the Cowboys have improved the past couple of weeks and are slightly better than the Commanders at this stage.
Which team has the better offense?