Dallas Cowboys (8-7 SU, 6-9 ATS) vs. Washington Redskins (9-6 SU, 10-5 ATS)
NFL Football Week 17
When: Sunday, December 30, 2012, 8:20PM EST
Where: FedEx Field - Landover, Maryland
by Bob, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Dal +3/Wash-3
Over/Under Total: 48.5
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What a game this could be!! Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys will invade the nation’s capital and battle RG3 and the Washington Redskins, in what is essentially the first playoff game of the 2012 NFL season. No, it’s not technically a playoff game, but lets call a spade a spade. Winner advances, loser goes home, yea, that’s a playoff game my friend. The winner will take home the NFC East title along with a spot in the playoffs, while the loser will prepare for the NFL draft this coming April. These two teams met on Thanksgiving Day and the Skins went into Dallas and shocked the Cowboys by winning 38-31. Let me tell you, I watched that game and it was nowhere near as close to the final score. Washington dominated that game from start to finish. In my mind, the game was never in question. Now, where to begin with these two teams: I will start with Dallas. Up until a month or so ago, I used to call Dallas, “The Notre Dame of the NFL.” Why? Well, it’s because just like Notre Dame, Dallas would all the preseason hype, all the ESPN news, all the headlines, all the high hopes, only to finish nowhere near what most thought they were capable of. Well, Notre Dame is in the BCS Title game, so I cannot really say much about them now. Will Dallas shut me up too or will Washington send them back to the drawing board with Jerry Jones leading the way for another “Super Bowl Run” for 2013?
Robert Griffin III has been the story of the year. Well, he, Andrew Luck, and Russell Wilson have all done pretty well for rookies but most of the attention is on RG3 simply because it appears that his team has the best shot of making a run deep into the NFC playoffs. Check these stats by RG3: As a rookie, he has thrown for over 3,000, 20 TDs, and only 5 picks. Yea, that’s right, a rookie has only thrown 5 interceptions. Of course some of that can be credited to the coaching staff giving him high percentage plays, but its still rather impressive. Griffin has put together one hell of a rookie campaign, but he isn’t the only bright spot on the Redskins team. With all the rookie of the year hype around Robert Griffin, another skins’ rookie is getting left out in the dark: Alfred Morris. This kid is a 6th round pick out of Florida Atlantic and he already rushed for over 1,400 on the season. Yea, that’s right, a rookie has gone for over 1,400 yards. I don’t know what’s in the water up in the nation’s capital, but Washington is straight up legit. Coming into this game, they rank 1st in the NFL in offensive rushing, 5th in run defense, and 18th in passing. Of course the 18th in passing isn’t stellar, but when you are a pretty average passing team, along with the best run team in the NFL, that’s recipe for success. The main key for Washington is to contain the Dallas passing game. Washington is only ranked 30th against the pass. If they can tighten up enough to force Romo into some bad throws, the Skins season could only just be beginning.
The Dallas Cowboys want this game bad. A few weeks ago, no one would have thought Dallas was going to be in the playoff hunt, now they are one win away. Just one. Win Sunday and you will not only be in the playoffs, but you will host a game in Jerry’s World. One thing I know Dallas has to their advantage is experience. They have been here before. Dallas has made the playoffs with many of these guys, and they have played in big games with the current roster they have. Has it been a total success? No, but sometimes having the failure is what makes you succeed later on. I went on and on about the talent Washington has because many weren’t aware of it. We all know what Dallas is. They are the Cowboys, gun slingers. They will come out against Washington and throw, throw, throw. Why wouldn’t they? I told you Washington was near the worst in the league in pass defense, therefore, Dallas will need to exploit that if they are going to have a chance to win this game. With the 31st rushing offense in the NFL, that sure isn’t going to be what wins this game. Not against a run D like Washington has. The only stat worthy of discussion for Dallas is their passing. Romo is averaging over 300 yards a game, good enough for 3rd in all of the NFL. But, as great as the Cowboys and Romo have been on offense, here we are in a do or die game. Tony Romo in “win or go home” games sits at a 1-5 record. The guy just hasn’t been very clutch in his career. It’s not all him, but if a QB is going to take all the credit for the good times, then it’s only fair he take the blame for the short comings. Dallas has a couple of keys to get the “non clutch” monkey off their backs: Stop the Washington run game. Alfred Morris needs to be shut down, and force RG3 to beat you. Yes, that sounds insane, but I would rather make the rookie beat me with his arm than let another rookie just run on me all day. More can play into your favor when the ball is in the air. The next key to victory, score. Dallas needs to come in and get momentum early. Do not let the fans dictate the atmosphere in this game. The Cowboys need to set an early tone, or it could be a very long day.
Bob’s Pick To Cover the Point Spread: This is going to be a great game, no question. Where I am a little hesitant to pick the young team with the rookie Quarterback, I am nearly as reluctant to take the team that we see fail in these games year after year. This game could go either way. I could seriously see both of these teams either losing this game by 2 TDs, or winning it and getting hot and making a run to New Orleans for the Super Bowl. It’s one of those matchups. With that said, I am going to go with pure gut instinct here. I like the Redskins. I think they have been the more consistent team this year, it appears fate and destiny are on their side, they are better coached, and they are at home. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t see Washington blowing out Dallas by any means, but when its all said and done, I like Washington, 27-23. PICK: RG3 and the Skins! -3
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