The Dallas Cowboys are 3-0 in December and are knocking on the door of securing a division title. And because of some much needed dominoes that have fallen across the conference, the Cowboys are squarely in the thick of things for a higher seed heading into the playoffs.
The Washington Football Team found themselves taking a demoralizing loss to division rival Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday night, meaning their slim division-winning hopes died, as well as putting their playoff hopes as a whole on life support. These are two very different teams heading in two very different directions this season, but with all that being said, this is a hated rival and a division foe, so you know this game has the chance to be dicey for the Cowboys. Especially if the WFT comes into this game with a “we have nothing to lose” attitude.
Here are five things to watch this week:
1. Dak Prescott and the offense need to find rhythm.
The time to kick the can down the road is over. The time to produce and find offensive production needs to start now. This team is far too talented on the offensive side of the ball to have a feeling of skating by or going through the motions. If this team wants make some serious noise in the playoffs, the offense needs to get back to the way they were in the first seven weeks of the year, and it all starts with number four.
2. Kellen Moore needs to reach into his bag and find a way.
The bottom line is the first two things to watch in this game have to do with the offense. That is how vital this team’s biggest aspirations are tied to that unit. Moore needs to find a way to get creative again, try and identify what exactly isn’t working, and start exploiting defensive weaknesses like they did early on. Some have mentioned that Moore has been holding back some in hopes of unveiling a potent passing attack on unsuspecting defenses come playoff time, but we all would like to just see the offense look complete and in rhythm for a change.
3. More Malik Hooker.
Malik Hooker is supremely talented, that has never been in question. It has always been about health when it has come to Hooker, and the former first-round pick is finally rounding into form; we are definitely starting to see what he can bring to this defense and the different ways Dan Quinn and staff are starting to deploy him. Securing his first interception of the season last week while also being all over the field making tackles and making his presence felt was such a welcome sight. Especially for a defense that seems to have more and more talent up and down the unit than we originally thought heading into the season.
4. Trevon Diggs vs Terry McLaurin round two.
Diggs won round one in a shutout fashion. Zero yards on zero receptions versus Diggs will surely inspire some motivation for the young wide receiver out of Ohio State. The Cowboys are clearly the vastly superior team, but that does not mean that the Football Team is devoid of talent, and McLaurin is one of the game-breaking type of players. Diggs will need to come and have another strong showing to ensure the WFT does not come out of Sunday night with the upset victory at the hands of McLaurin.
5. Can this running game continue to improve?
Ezekiel Elliott is getting healthier by the week, Tony Pollard is back in the rotation, and Connor Williams has been put back at his starting left guard spot. All of these things surely factored into the Cowboys rushing attack looking much better last Sunday. The Cowboys will need to continue more of the same on Sunday night as the one thing we know heading into the playoffs is that a running game travels in any weather. It is clear that this team is at its best when the running game is cooking and the Cowboys would be wise to feed them backfield duo come Sunday.