It's rivalry week! The Dallas Cowboys will face off against the Washington Commanders in this Thanksgiving matchup in Week 12 of the 2023 NFL season. The natural dislike between these two organizations should make this game all the more entertaining, even though the Cowboys are the heavy favorite and have the home-field advantage.
While just about anything and everything can happen in a rivalry game, the Cowboys are clearly the better and more talented team this season. Having said that though, they can't take the Commanders lightly. This is a short week for both teams and that quick turnaround could make this a sloppy game.
To avoid an upset, the Cowboys would be wise to take advantage of certain matchups this week to help sway the game more in their favor. Today we will identify a few we will be watching closely that we believe could help ensure a Thanksgiving victory for the Cowboys.
Cowboys' CB DaRon Bland vs. Commanders' QB Sam Howell
Sam Howell is currently the league leader in passing yards (3,038) and has thrown a total of 18 touchdowns and 12 interceptions so far this season. If he wants to keep his INT total from increasing this week against the Cowboys, he may want to avoid throwing the ball DaRon Bland's way. Bland has been an INT machine since becoming a starter about a year and a half ago. He currently has a total of six interceptions this year, four of which he's returned for a touchdown. Those four pick-sixes tied an NFL record, which he could break if he were to add one more in this Week 12 matchup with the Commanders.
Cowboys' DE Micah Parsons vs. Commanders' LT Charles Leno Jr.
With nine QB pressures, 2.5 sacks, and a 40% pass rush win rate, Micah Parsons was close to unstoppable in Week 11 against the Panthers. He will be looking to carry that momentum over into this Week 12 matchup with the Commanders. Unfortunately for Washington, their LT Charles Leno Jr. gave up eight pressures and two sacks last week against Kayvon Thibodeaux in their loss to the Giants. While Dan Quinn has shown he likes to move No. 11 around to exploit certain matchups, don't be surprised at all if he tests Washington's LT early and often with Parsons crashing off the edge.
Cowboys' C Tyler Biadasz vs. Commanders' iDL
At times last week against the Carolina Panthers, Dallas' interior offensive line were overpowered and outmatched. Look for the Washington Commanders to try to have the same type of success with their interior defensive line, something they've invested quite a bit of money into over the last few years. With the Zack Martin and Tyler Smith playing at a high level, it will be up to Tyler Biadasz to hold his own at the point of attack against Washington's talented defensive tackles, Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen. Whichever team ends up winning in the trenches more times than not will likely be the one to earn the "W".