The Dallas Cowboys are a decidedly different team than the one that coasted to a 33-19 win against the Washington Redskins last month, especially considering Ezekiel Elliott rolled up a season-high 150 rushing yards and two touchdowns in that outing. With Elliott suspended, the Cowboys’ overall offense hasn’t been as potent and mustered just 22 points during the team’s three-game losing skid heading into Thursday’s contest versus the visiting Redskins.
The Cowboys are averaging a solid 4.4 yards per carry in Elliott’s absence, but that’s just noise to Alfred Morris as he prepares to face his former team. “You can say (the running game has been good enough), but it doesn’t matter,” Morris said. “We’re not winning games. We’re not putting points on the board, so it doesn’t matter if we, in a sense, are doing our part.” The Redskins reached 30 points in back-to-back losses before tightening their defense in a 20-10 win over the sputtering New York Giants on Thanksgiving. Kirk Cousins (NFL second-best 3,038 yards), who tossed a pair of touchdown passes against the Giants, has thrown for 625 passing yards, six TDs and no interceptions in his last two encounters with the Cowboys.
TV: 8:25 p.m. ET, NBC. LINE: Cowboys -1. O/U: 44
ABOUT THE REDSKINS (5-6): While coach Jay Gruden was pleased to see left tackle Trent Williams (knee) participate in practice in a bid to end a one-game absence versus Dallas, the coach doesn’t have high hopes for the return of tight end Jordan Reed. “Your guess is as good as mine,” Gruden said of a potential return date for Reed, who has missed each of the last four games with a hamstring injury. “Obviously there is an issue there, otherwise I would like to think he would be further along now. But we just have to get him healthy.” Rookie running back Samaje Perine has looked healthy with 217 rushing yards in his last two contests, and a season-best 130 scrimmage yards (100 rushing, 30 receiving) last week.
ABOUT THE COWBOYS (5-6): Dak Prescott and the Dallas passing game have taken a hit with the threat of Elliott removed from the offense. “It’s frustrating, simple as that. But what it does is it makes being on top fun,” said Prescott, who tossed five interceptions in his last two games to eclipse his total of four during his rookie season in 2016. “That’s what it’s all about is getting out of these whatever you call them, ruts, or whatever they are and getting back to our expectations, our standards.” Wideout Dez Bryant has struggled to get untracked without Elliott, failing to crack 40 yards receiving in two of the last three games.
1. Dallas has failed to score at least 10 points in three straight games for the first time in franchise history.
2. Redskins LB Zach Brown recorded 12 of his NFL-best 110 tackles in the first meeting with the Cowboys.
3. Washington TE Vernon Davis, who failed to reel in a catch last week, has two touchdowns in his past two encounters with Dallas.
PREDICTION: Redskins 24, Cowboys 16