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Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins: Prediction, preview, pick to win

By The Sports Xchange
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Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Redskins: Prediction, preview, pick to win
Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott (4) throws in the second quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California on October 22, 2017. File photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

DALLAS COWBOYS (3-3) AT WASHINGTON REDSKINS (3-3)

KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, FedEx Field. TV: FOX, Thom Brennaman, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews (field reporter).

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SERIES HISTORY: 113th regular-season meeting. Cowboys lead series, 68-42-2. Dallas swept the series in 2016 with the two victories by a combined nine points, including 31-26 on Thanksgiving Day. The Cowboys have not lost at FedEx Field since 2012. Washington has won both playoff meetings.

KEYS TO THE GAME: The Cowboys are rounding into form offensively and that could spell trouble for Washington. Quarterback Dak Prescott hurt the Redskins with his arm and his legs in last year's Thanksgiving Day victory in Dallas (139 passing yards, 39 rushing yards, two touchdowns). Prescott has thrown three touchdown passes in each of the last three games.

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Washington won't dodge Ezekiel Elliott, either. While the Cowboys wait for an injunction hearing next Monday on Elliott's NFL-imposed six-game suspension, the running back will play Sunday. He has 263 rushing yards the last two weeks, along with two touchdowns and a 72-yard touchdown catch.

Playing behind a healthy, dominant offensive line, Elliott will be a difficult matchup even for a Washington defense that has been strong against the run all season. Getting cornerback Josh Norman (broken ribs) back would be a huge boost. Wide receiver Dez Bryant has four touchdown catches. The Redskins have to figure out a way to stop opposing tight ends, too. Jason Witten has 283 receiving yards, second on the Cowboys to Bryant, and three touchdowns.

Dallas' pass rush is strong, but Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins held up well against the Eagles on Monday with 303 passing yards, three touchdowns and a 110.7 rating. His offensive line is in shambles, however. Redskins running backs are going to have to help in pass protection vs. Dallas and they need better blocking from tight ends Vernon Davis and Jordan Reed, who have struggled in that area all season.

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MATCHUPS TO WATCH:

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Redskins RT Morgan Moses vs. Cowboys DE Demarcus Lawrence. Lawrence has 9.5 sacks to lead the NFL and should take advantage of an injured Washington offensive line. He usually lines up on the left side of the line and should see Moses, a quality player who has two sprained ankles after the loss Monday at Philadelphia. Moses is still the most likely of Washington's four injured starting linemen to play.

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Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott vs. Redskins ILB Zach Brown. Brown has added an element of speed Washington didn't have last season, and the 2016 Pro Bowler should give them a better shot against Elliott, who can make any defender miss once he gets through the holes opened by his big offensive line.

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Redskins C Chase Roullier. Injuries have compromised the stability Washington has had on its offensive line. Starting center Spencer Long, who took over that role in Week 1 last season, has knee and quadriceps injuries and might not play against the Cowboys. Long had knee surgery on Aug. 22 but returned to start the season. Roullier, a rookie, is the backup center. He played that position at Wyoming and was Washington's fifth-round draft pick in 2017.

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FAST FACTS: Dallas QB Dak Prescott passed for 234 yards and three TDs and ran for a score last week. In two meetings with Washington, he has completed 39 of 54 (72.2 percent) for 487 yards and one TD, with no interceptions. He also has run for a TD in each game. ... RB Ezekiel Elliott tallied 219 scrimmage yards (147 rushing) and three TDs last week. He will play again in Week 8 thanks to a temporary restraining order blocking the NFL's six-game suspension. ... RB Alfred Morris spent four seasons with Washington (2012-15), rushing for 4,713 yards and 29 TDs. He scored in the last meeting at Washington. ... WR Dez Bryant caught seven passes for 63 yards and a TD last week. His 71 receiving TDs match Hall of Famer Bob Hayes for most in franchise history. He has eight TD catches in his past eight road games vs. the division. In his past four at Washington, he has 18 catches for 336 yards (84 per game) and three TDs. ... DE Demarcus Lawrence leads the NFC with 9.5 sacks. He has a sack in all six games this season. He has two sacks and forced a fumble in his last game at Washington (December 2015). ... LB Jaylon Smith had a forced fumble and his first career sack in Week 7. He leads the team with 44 tackles. ... Washington QB Kirk Cousins passed for 303 yards and three TDs, with one interception, in Week 7. He completed 41 of 53 (77.4 percent) for 449 yards, three TDs and no INTs in the last meeting. ... RB Chris Thompson had 64 scrimmage yards and a TD catch last week. He leads NFL RBs with 366 receiving yards and is tied for second with three TD catches. ... RB Rob Kelley has four rushing TDs in his past four home games. ... TE Jordan Reed had eight catches for 64 yards and two TDs in Week 7. He had 10 receptions for 95 yards and two TDs in the last meeting. He has five TD catches in his past five division games. His 19 TD catches since 2015 are the most among NFL tight ends. ... In his past six games, LB Ryan Kerrigan has four sacks, a forced fumble and a 24-yard interception for a TD. He has 2.5 sacks in the past three meetings. ... LB Zach Brown had 13 tackles, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble last week. He is tied for second in the NFL with 63 tackles.

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PREDICTION: The Cowboys have scored 101 points in the past three games; the Redskins seem unlikely to be able to keep up.

OUR PICK: Cowboys, 30-20.

--Chris Cluff

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