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Dallas Week: Big Short Week as Redskins Prepare for Thanksgiving Match-up

John Manuel

By Staff Writer John Manuel:

Now that the Redskins are back in the playoff race (well slightly) after beating a horrible Eagles team, the next two weeks will clearly determine where they end up this season.  Win both and they are sitting in great shape in the NFC East.  Lose both and they are done.

The Redskins vs. Cowboys rivalry heats up on Thanksgiving Day this year with 2nd place in the NFC East on the line.

The Redskins vs. Cowboys rivalry heats up on Thanksgiving Day this year with 2nd place in the NFC East on the line.

Last time we looked at a two game stretch it was New York and Pittsburgh and that didn’t go well.  So let’s just start with Dallas for now and Thursday’s game.  Here are five things that must happen to win there.

1- Dallas seems to play everyone the same no matter how good or bad a team is.

Go to Atlanta and barely lose, home to Cleveland and barely win.  Each week their opponent is in the game so it comes down to things like turnovers and penalties.

As for penalties, we must worry because the Skins are the worst.  So this needs to change right away.  The Dallas crowd doesn’t really concern me so hopefully false starts will be at a minimum.  We can’t get 15 yarders either.

As for turnovers, Griffin has been amazing but they cannot have key fumbles like the second half of the Giants game.  Have to get to Romo also but we look at that next.

2- And here we go on Tony Romo.

Washington needs to get to Romo early and often.  Last week we said they need to take advantage of the Eagles poor offensive line and they did.  Time to do this again.  And if the ball bounces off Dez Bryant‘s hands they need to be there to snag it.  That’s if Bryant doesn’t break curfew Wednesday night, a traditional party night.

Romo like Griffin can buy time and our defensive backs really don’t like sticking with receivers for long periods of time, so we have to run him down quickly.  I predicted before the season a beginning of the end of Romo’s time in Dallas and this would be a good week to start that.

3- Make Jason Garrett coach.

The Redskins need to get up early and see if Jason Garrett is a true NFL coach.  He was able to bring them back against the Browns last week but that was against a horrible coach in Pat Shurmur.  So it’s time to call out the $7 million tan man Mike Shanahan and see if he can out-coach Garrett.  Shanahan proved me right week one against the Saints but many times has killed me.  A good sign will be Jerry Jones on the sidelines by the mid third quarter if things are going well.

4- Is Brandon Banks still on the roster?

I think so but he is now really only known for being part of shaky offensive play calls.  Do something Banks in the return game and do it this week.  As I have said many times I wouldn’t mind giving Santana a chance on a punt return or two because we need something.

Really think Shanahan blew it not adding Shawne Merriman and dropping someone like Banks or Grossman.  Merriman is older and worn down but he looked pretty good for Buffalo last week.  Key again is that they need something from Banks.  Special teams have covered fine and Kai Forbath has been perfect on kicks, so it’s time for the return game to step up.

5- Finally I think Robert Griffin plays big in a nationally televised game back in his home state.

This season has shown for him not to fold at all under pressure in these types of situations.  RG3 and Luck have gone back and forth all season as the better rookie quarterback and last week Griffin proved better and I think it will continue this week.  The Skins have to attack downfield like last week and look for big plays.

I think they can run the ball against Dallas without a guy like Lee in there but Griffin has to be able to do more than slants and screens.  Garcon although hurt does make the defense have to watch for him, and hopefully he can go.  I could easily see Griffin putting on a show in Big D on Thanksgiving.



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