FRISCO, TX — The last time the Dallas Cowboys squared off against the Washington Commanders, the former needed the win for playoff seeding implications and the latter had nothing to lose; but it was the Commanders suffocating the Cowboys at FedEx Field to the tune of a 26-6 final score.
Fast forward to this week and it'll be the first matchup of the 2023 season for the two longtime rivals, but don't count on Micah Parsons using Week 18 of last season as motivation for this coming Thanksgiving.
"That's last year's stuff," said the First-Team All-Pro pass rusher. "This is a really good team."
In other words, don't get bitten by the snake lurking in the grass.
It's definitely true that the Commanders often play better than their record would indicate, and almost always do when they're facing the Cowboys, but they've put up a serious fight for several heavy-hitters in the NFC.
They lost twice to the Philadelphia Eagles but by only a combined 10 points, and they scored 31 points in each of those outings, with a chance in both contests to win late in the fourth quarter.
They also lost by a field goal against the Seattle Seahawks, so Parsons says the Cowboys are getting ready for a dogfight.
"You turn on the tape and they've been close to beating the Eagles — it could've [gone] either way," he said. "The Giants game, I don't really count that because of the amount of turnovers. The Seahawks game went down to the wire. They remind me a lot of the Chargers.
"They're a really good team, but the ball doesn't roll to their side sometimes. This is a team that could and should be on a positive track. It's a team we need to take very, very seriously and that's enough motivation."
And, with that, Parsons and his defensive counterparts will try to take advantage of a porous offensive line that has allowed pressure on Sam Howell on nearly 40 percent of his dropbacks, with a league-most 51 sacks, as quarterback Dak Prescott and wideout CeeDee Lamb lead and offense that tries to detonate against the Commanders' secondary.
With a home win streak on the line, one that could be pushed to 13 games and help to make the looming rematch with the Philadelphia Eagles matter in the race for the NFC East crown, the Cowboys understand the assignment.
It's to make sure Thanksgiving is full of good eats, between the lines.