When the Cowboys and Redskins play, it’s just a big game. That’s always been the case and it probably always will be.
But that being said, there seems to be even more on the line this time around, even if it’s still early in the season. The Week 2 matchup could be big dividends down the road, depending on the outcome.
The Cowboys certainly want to carry the momentum from last week’s win over the Giants and start the season 2-0 in the division. As for the Redskins, it’s the exact opposite. Starting the season 0-2 with the losses to the Eagles and Cowboys would be devastating for their chances to rebound and win the division.
This historic rivalry has seen its share of wild games, and there’s no reason to think Sunday won’t have its own share of fireworks.
In preparation, let’s look at the big picture for both teams.
Here are five quick storylines for each team to get us ready for the action.
- The Redskins were so excited about the return of Derrius Guice, who missed all of last season with a knee injury. But it didn’t last long as Guice suffered an injury to his other knee, resulting in further evaluations this week. His timetable for return is unclear but it won’t be this week against the Cowboys.
- Future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson is now expected to play more this week for the Redskins with Guice injured. Peterson wasn’t happy about being inactive for the Week 1 matchup against the Eagles. His teammates didn’t take it well either, as lineman Morgan Moses called it a “slap in the face” not to have a Canton-bound player on the field.
- Case Keenum, who played his college ball at Houston and has been around the NFL since 2012, has yet to face the Cowboys in a regular-season game. That will likely change on Sunday as he gets the start. It was a tale of two halves for Keenum, who set a career-best with 253 passing yards in the first half alone last Sunday in Philly. He finished with 380 and three touchdowns but he wasn’t effective in the second half as the Redskins lost a 17-point lead.
- Jonathan Allen, a first-round pick in 2017 from Alabama, suffered a sprained knee last week and didn’t return. Head coach Jay Gruden said Allen is “week to week” and he hasn’t been ruled out yet for Sunday’s game.
- Pro Bowl tackle Trent Williams remains in a contract dispute although there have been reports that he might return in time to play the Cowboys on Sunday. The former first-round pick back in 2010 has been a staple on the Redskins’ offensive line for year, earning seven Pro Bowl selections. He still has two years left on his deal but is seeking a new contract.
- If there wasn’t already enough talk about Dak’s contract and the ongoing negotiations, his performance didn’t do anything to slow them down. In fact, the question now is if Dak’s “perfect” game on Sunday might have raised his price tag even higher. Owner Jerry Jones said the deal is “imminent” and could be done soon although the two sides remain in talks. Prescott was the first player in Cowboys history to post a perfect QB rating of 158.3 with at least 20 attempts.
- Unlike Dak, Ezekiel Elliott got a new contact before the start of the season but he certainly didn’t have the same kind of results. That was to be expected considering he missed all of camp and the preseason. Still, rushing for 53 yards with a touchdown was a good start for Zeke, who got only 13 carries. The Cowboys also gave 13 carries to Tony Pollard, who will remain the second back. The team released Jordan Chunn on Tuesday and has an open roster spot heading into Wednesday.
- The Cowboys escaped Sunday’s game without major injury. However, safety Jeff Heath might be limited this week with a pair of nagging injuries that he called “football stuff.” Wide receiver Randall Cobb had sore ribs but could be ready to play this week as well.
- If there was a weakness on Sunday, it would be the Cowboys’ inability to stop the run consistently. The big chunk was a 59-yard run by Saquon Barkley, who finished with 120 yards. Overall, the Giants rushed for 151 yards with an 8.9 yard average. Now, they’ll get to face a future Hall of Famer in Adrian Peterson.
- There aren’t many teams in the league that had a first-round pick and a second-round pick both healthy, yet inactive for the game. That was the case for the Cowboys, who didn’t have room on the 46-man game day roster for Taco Charlton and Trysten Hill. Things could change this week against the Redskins, perhaps the Cowboys even dress more linemen considering it’s still early in the season and the 1 p.m. (ET) kickoff will certainly bring warmer temperatures.