Thanksgiving Pick: Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys
Washington Redskins (6-4 SU, 7-3 ATS) vs. Dallas Cowboys (5-5 SU, 5-5 ATS)
NFL Football Week 12
Date/Time: Thursday November 22nd, 2018. 4:30PM (EST)
Where: AT&T Stadium Dallas, T.X.
By Jay Horne, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: WAS +8/DAL -8
Over/Under Total: 41
Thanksgiving Day! The best time each year for family, food and also football! This Thursday while everyone celebrates this special holiday, a colossal battle in the NFC East will take place when the Dallas Cowboys host the Washington Redskins at AT&T Stadium. The Redskins currently hold the lead in the NFC East and could take complete control if they can manage to pull out another victory over the Cowboys. The Redskins beat the Cowboys back in week 7 in a 20-17 victory at Landover and were seemingly in control of the division prior to start of week 1. However, the Redskins suffered a loss to the Texas while the Cowboys rattled off their 2nd straight upset in a row. Now the stage is set for another classic Redskins vs. Cowboys Thanksgiving Day affair!
Alex Smith out for the season
It’s crazy how fast things can change in just one week of football. Last week, the Redskins had an opportunity to have a two game lead in the division but were beat in a close 23-21 loss to the Texans. However, the loss in the box score did not hurt nearly as bad as the loss on the field when quarterback Alex Smith suffered a broken leg when he was sacked by Houston’s J.J Watt and Kareem Jackson. The immediate impact was not nearly as detrimental as the potential long term impact. With the trade deadline passed, the Redskins are in a bind where they have only a few moves with all signs pointing to backup quarterback Colt McCoy stepping into the starting role.
When Smith went down on Sunday, McCoy came off the sideline to complete 6 of 12 passing for 54 yards with a touchdown. McCoy also added 5 rushes for 35 yards which is possibly the biggest upside for the backup quarterback. Obviously Alex Smith is the better quarterback when comparing talents, but perhaps McCoy will be able to make up for his shortcomings and inexperience by making some plays with his legs. Either way the loss of Smith has definitely put the Redskins in tough situation. McCoy’s career numbers entail 26 touchdown passes and 23 interceptions and he will have the unfortunate task of going against a tough Dallas pass rush in his first start of the season.
Cowboys defense battling back from injuries
A lot of people were surprised by the Cowboys 2nd straight road win last week. After going on the road to beat Philadelphia, the Cowboys went on the road and took down the Falcons to climb back to the .500 mark on the season within striking distance of the playoffs. Last week’s win over Atlanta was most impressive when you consider the Cowboys defense held the explosive Atlanta offense to just 19 points with a makeshift defensive line. The Cowboys defensive front was without two starters (DE Taco Charlton and DT Antwaun Woods) and two backups (DT Daniel Ross and DT David Irving).
The Cowboys were so thin along the defensive line that they were willing to move linebackers up if needed. Despite all the concerns, the defense played great led by the outstanding play by DE DeMarcus Lawrence and LB Leighton Vander Esch. This week the Cowboys defense needs another big performance in an opportunistic matchup against this Colt McCoy led offense. The good news is that the Cowboys should get Taco Charlton and Antwaun Woods back for this week’s matchup and have an outside shot of having everyone back to help keep a fresh rotation along the defensive front.
Redskins vs. Cowboys game prediction
I obviously have some concerns for the Redskins quarterback situation against this tenacious Dallas pass rush. However, I liked the Cowboys in this revenge spot well before Alex Smith went down. The Cowboys’ coaching staff was heavily criticized following the loss to the Titans for abandoning running back Ezekiel Elliott after a terrific 1st quarter start. In the last two weeks, Elliott has been the focal point to this offense averaging nearly 200 yards from scrimmage in the run and passing games combined. In last week’s win against Atlanta, Elliott rushed for 122 and caught another 7 passes for 79 yards with 1 touchdown. Obviously this is the formula that works for the Cowboys and I don’t see them getting away from it again. More importantly the Redskins rank 28th in DVOA run defense. We are talking about a defense that has allowed over 100 yards rushing in each of the last two weeks to the likes of Houston and Tampa Bay who ranks towards the bottom in the NFL in rushing because they are primarily passing offenses. Needless to say, I believe this is another smash spot for Elliott as the Cowboys cruise to victory!
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Cowboys -8