Big Picture: Storylines For Cowboys & Redskins

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One game left in the regular season and the Cowboys not only have work to do, but can only hope for outside help. The Redskins, meanwhile, also have question marks regarding their coaches and players and could end up with one of the top draft picks next season.

Here are some key storylines for each team.

Redskins

  • A loss would be a win for the Redskins. But not a win that would see right away. With a 3-11 record, the Redskins would secure the No. 2 overall pick in next year's draft if they lose to the Cowboys and fall to 3-13. Cincinnati (1-14) is locked in for the No. 1 pick, but should the Redskins beat Dallas, and the Giants, Dolphins and Lions lose, they could fall down to as No. 5 in the 2020 NFL Draft. That's not to say the Redskins are tanking the game, but a loss would set them up next year rather nicely.
  • The Redskins are limping to the finish line of this season. Remember when the season began, Jay Gruden was still the head coach before he was dismissed and Bill Callahan took over under the interim tag. As of late, the Redskins have been more competitive, either winning some games as they did against Carolina and Detroit, or falling close in games to the Packers, Eagles and Giants, who needed overtime last week to win 41-35.
  • Injuries have been a major problem to the Redskins throughout the year, evident by their quarterback play. Three different guys have started games, including Case Keenum on multiple occasions. He will start in place of Dwayne Haskins on Sunday. Ironically enough, if Keenum starts, he will break a five-game streak against the Cowboys of playing a different quarterback. Since the second meeting of the 2017 season, the Redskins have started Kirk Cousins, Alex Smith, Colt McCoy and Keenum, who will likely start again.
  • One of the worst parts of the Redskins' game this year is their inability to get off the field. Washington ranks last in the NFL in opponent's third-down percentage. Teams are converting 48.6 percent of its third-down plays, staying on the field and extending drives. On the flip side, the Cowboys have been among the best all season at converting third-downs. They rank third in the NFL now at a 46.5 conversion rate.

Dallas

  • The Cowboys still have a shot to make the playoffs, although they will need some help. It starts with a win over the Redskins on Sunday at AT&T Stadium. And then they would need the Eagles to lose to the Giants at the Meadowlands. That would put the Eagles and Cowboys tied at 8-8. Since the teams split the season series, the next tiebreaker would be division record. Since the Eagles would've lost to the Giants to set up this scenario, they would fall to 4-2 and the Cowboys must beat Washington, which would make them 5-1 in the NFC East. Should either the Eagles or Cowboys finish in a tie, the Eagles would win the division.
  • Sunday could be the final game for several familiar faces, including head coach Jason Garrett, who is wrapping up the final season of his contract. The same goes for Amari Cooper and Dak Prescott and even Jason Witten, who admitted this week that it could be his final game, although he's not allowing himself to think past Sunday.
  • Dak Prescott's right shoulder injury is becoming news again. After missing most of practice last week as the Cowboys limited their starting quarterback during the week, Prescott again is resting his shoulder during the middle of the week. Cooper Rush is taking first-team reps, but once again, Dak is expected to play and start against the Redskins. Last week, he didn't have his best outing by far, missing several open throws against the Eagles and failed to lead the offense to the end zone in the 17-9 loss.
  • The Cowboys are dealing with more injuries than just the quarterback. Left tackle Tyron Smith missed two straight days of practice this week with a back injury. Antwaun Woods is on the injury report with hip/ankle injuries and DeMarcus Lawrence has missed two practices now with a shoulder injury.

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