The Cowboys have had a comfortable lead in the NFC East for a while this year but that could change Sunday if they don't take care of business against Washington, which has won four straight games to pull even at 6-6.
Just two games behind the Cowboys, WFT can move within one game if they beat Dallas at FedEx Field Sunday.
Here's a look at the keys to victory for both Dallas and Washington.
The WFTs will win if…
On paper, WFT does not look like a playoff contender with a number of their all-stars on the shelf but they find a way to get it done with a "muck up the game" strategy that requires efficient complementary football performance. Ron Rivera coordinates the action between the offense, defense, and kicking game to make the game a fourth-quarter affair that WFT is able to win at the end.
Against the Cowboys, WFT will attempt to throw a blanket over an explosive passing game while focusing their efforts on containing Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard on the ground. If they can eliminate the big plays through the air while suffocating the Cowboys' dangerous running game, they will be able to hold the Cowboys to field goals when the offense eventually bogs down in the red zone. With the offense looking to seize upon any opportunity created by a Cowboys' giveaway, WFT can win if they are able to keep the game close until America's Team implodes.
The Cowboys will win if…
The Cowboys are the more talented team on the field and they simply need to take care of business to get a tough win on the road. The offense must dominate the action with the offensive line controlling the trenches. The Cowboys' trench warriors will need to move defenders off the ball to create holes for Elliott and Pollard at the line of scrimmage. Additionally, the offensive line must keep Prescott upright and protected to give him a chance to attack down the field against the WFT zone. If No.4 gets time, he could carve up a defense that is content playing "bend but don't break" football between the 20s.
On defense, Micah Parsons, Demarcus Lawrence, and Randy Gregory (if active) need to destroy the timing of the WFT passing game with consistent pressure. The constant harassment will force Heinicke into making a mistake at a critical juncture. The Cowboys simply need to keep up with McLaurin's whereabouts and make someone else come up with the big plays. Based on their track record this season, it is hard to expect a secret weapon to emerge for WFT in a divisional game with playoff implications.