5 Keys to the game: Cowboys vs Redskins
1. Don’t turn the ball over:
-Turnovers have been an issue all year, but typically it had been 2 or 3 a game. That’s bad enough, but last week the Redskins had 7 turnovers and basically handed the game to the Falcons. That is completely unacceptable and can’t come close to happening if the Redskins want to win this game. Even 2-3 turnovers should be unacceptable this week, and the Redskins really need to find a way to play mistake free in this rivalry game. Cousins needs to make better decisions with the football because while he had a good game in general last week, he made two costly mistakes that didn’t need to be made.
2. Don’t allow any big returns (or other special teams blunders):
-Last time the Redskins played the Cowboys they allowed a punt returned for a TD a kick-off returned 90 yards and had a personal foul called on their special teams coach. That has almost been par for the course for this special teams unit, and they typically make at least one big blunder a week. It would be nice if for just one week they could avoid that and actually have at least an average game. The good news for the Redskins is Dwayne Harris is out for this week so he at least won’t be able to give the Redskins problems again.
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3. Get pressure on Tony Romo:
-The Redskins defense isn’t doing much right, but at least they are able to generate a solid pass rush. Sure it could be better, but between Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Barry Cofield and the rest of the defense the Redskins have gotten a solid number of sacks/pressures. Romo is one of the better quarterbacks at buying time in the pocket and still making good plays, but if you can still get consistent pressure on him, he has been known to make some poor throws.
4. Establish the run early:
-The Cowboys defense is just bad in general, but we’ve seen them really struggle against the run of late. This is a great match-up for Alfred Morris and he could be looking at 200+ against the Cowboys again. The Redskins need to get their ground game going to slow up the Cowboys pass rush and really open up things down the field for Kirk Cousins. If the Redskins can run the ball effectively early they should be able to jump out to an early lead and keep the pressure up on the ground.
5. Don’t hold anything back:
-The Redskins are playing for pride and the chance to spoil the Cowboys season, now is not the time to be conservative. The Redskins should pull out all the stops this week to try and beat their biggest rival so that means everything is on the table. Whether it is going for it on 4th down, trick plays or even going for two the Redskins should consider anything in the right situation. It might not always be “by the book”, but playing by the book hasn’t exactly been successful for the Redskins this season (or in Mike Shanahan’s tenure). The Redskins need to get creative and get the win for their fans.