Cowboys Offense vs. Redskins Defense:
This will come down to the line of scrimmage. Jason Taylor isn't playing for the Redskins and that certainly hurts them. But being able to control the line of scrimmage and bring out the double-coverage on Terrell Owens and Jason Witten, will be important for the Cowboys. If they control the line of scrimmage, the Redskins won't be able to double Terrell or Witten like they want to. The Cowboys will just keep running that ball like they did last week in Green Bay. If the Redskins can stop the run with basically the front-four and not put a lot of guys in the box, they'll put extra guys on the receivers. Running the ball will be critical. But look for the Redskins to mix it up. Washington has two pretty good corners in Shawn Springs and Carlos Rogers. At times, they'll leave them one-on-one with the receivers. It gives the Redskins some flexibility. And the Cowboys will have to beat single coverage when it's there. That's a must. If Rogers and Springs are able to contain the receivers on their own, the Redskins can bring blitzes and it will cause problems against the Cowboys.
Redskins Offense vs. Cowboys Defense:
Stop Clinton Portis, obviously. You always have to stop the run and it's even more important against the Redskins. Washington runs a West Coast offense. The ball is going to come out quick. They want to be in manageable situations . . . third-and-two, third-and-three, third-and-four. They're not really looking to go down the field and make big plays down the field on a consistent basis. That's similar to Green Bay. It all starts with the run. The Redskins like to run the ball, control the clock and control the situation. Stopping the run will be important. Portis is tough. He can run. He can get outside, he breaks tackles. He's explosive, able to turn a short play into a big play very easily. So if the Cowboys can stop the run, especially on first down, it gets the Redskins into passing situations. They want Jason Campbell to throw short passes and not have to throw the ball down the field or in the middle of the field. That's not what the Redskins want to do. It's not that he's not capable, but I don't think the Redskins want him to do that, if they don't have to.
The Cowboys Win If . . .
They play well on special teams. This will be a field position game. I think Nick Folk will have a big day. It will come down to his foot. He will make some field goals. I don't think it will be a real high-scoring game. I think the Cowboys' defense will step up and limit the Redskins from scoring a lot. Washington is No. Two in kickoff coverage. They do a good job of getting down there and covering kicks. Then again, they haven't seen anyone like Felix Jones. And Washington is in the bottom of the league in punt coverage, so Adam Jones has a chance to make some big plays.
The Redskins Win If . . .
The Cowboys turn the ball over. Turnovers and stupid penalties. The Redskins are patient on offense. They don't take a lot of chances. So Jason Campbell can manage that. The only time it becomes a problem, is when you're in long yardage. Washington doesn't want to put Campbell in a situation where he has to throw the ball a lot. So if Washington runs the ball well, the Redskins win. It keeps the Cowboys off the field and the Redskins control the game and it limits the Cowboys' possession. So if the Cowboys' turn the ball over, they lose. That might sound simple, but it's the truth. What more can you really say about a great team? They can't beat themselves.
The Cowboys have to make sure they don't let the Redskins hang around. That's been the killer against this team. It comes down to a play or two here and there. Santana Moss got behind them twice. Don't let this team hang around. But I think the Cowboys will control the ball enough to win this game. And, I think Nick Folk will get a few field goals in this one and the Cowboys hold on for a win. Cowboys 23, Redskins 14.
Larry's Favorite Redskins Memory:
My memory is my first career interception. It came against Washington down in the old RFK Stadium in my rookie year of 1991. The bleachers were just rocking like crazy. Everyone had these hog masks on. I just remember coming into the stadium and the bus getting egged and fingers.
But my first interception came against Hall-of-Famer Art Monk. It was a play that we had practiced all week. It was maximum protection and Mark Rypien was the quarterback. He was going to throw the deep post. If I saw that play, I was going to be ready for it. And I saw it, play-action pass, Art Monk went on a deep post and I just took off and came up with the interception. I didn't care if I got beat on any other play, I wasn't giving up that one.