This is what the season comes down to. The Redskins vs. the Cowboys at FedEx Field with the NFC East title on the line. RGIII has had an additional week of rest and in order to beat the Cowboys he is going to have to be at the top of his game. It isn’t because they have a great defense ranking 21st and 17th against the pass and run respectively. The Cowboys have the third best passing offense in the NFL and the Redskins secondary is well the Redskins secondary.
In the fourth quarter against the Saints last Sunday the Cowboys appeared to be down and out, but then scored two touchdowns in three minutes to send the game to overtime. With Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, and Miles Austin the Cowboys have that type of offense. They can strike and strike quickly, and the Redskins secondary has done little to stop any sort of passing attack all season long. If there is a strength to the Redskins defense it is an important one as they are tied for the fifth most interceptions in the league, and Tony Romo and the Cowboys are tied for fourth in interceptions.
The Redskins best chance in this game is to lean on the two rookies that have gotten them to this point, RGIII and Alfred Morris. While RGIII gets the attention, the Pro Bowl appearance, and is the likely Rookie of the Year, Morris has the fourth most yards and third most touchdowns for running backs. Morris has given the Redskins that every down back that can pound the ball up the middle, run the clock, and get the tough yards. It is rare to see Morris get taken down by the first tackler or go backwards on a play.
Running the ball and controlling the clock are going to be important for the Redskins. The less time Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, and Miles Austin spend on the field the better. The Redskins rushing attack has been great this season and ranks first in the NFL averaging 162.3 yards a game. If the Redskins offense can do what they have done all season long and control the ball and the clock that only increases their chances to beat the Cowboys. The Redskins may need RGIII to make a play or two with the increase in strength of opponent from the Eagles to the Cowboys.
Against the Eagles RGIII was more of a game manager doing just what he needed to do and not putting himself in harms way. The Cowboys are a much better team and RGIII is going to have to get out of the pocket and run at least a couple times to show he is fully healthy and can do it. If he can’t do that and the Cowboys defense can play the Redskins offense straight up then the Redskins offensive line is going to have to do some work to keep DeMarcus Ware out of the backfield. If the pistol and the zone read is a go for Sunday that is just another advantage the Redskins will have against the Cowboys.
This is about as even as a match-up can get, but this is the most important game that has been played in DC this century. The Redskins last NFC East title came in 1999. One criticism of FedEx Field is that it has never been as loud as RFK, but I have a strong feeling that won’t be the case this Sunday night with the Cowboys in town and the division title on the line.