GOTW Preview Week 14 – Football Team (9-3) vs Cowboys (9-3)
Previous matchup + Common Opponents:
week 4 DAL 42 – 25 WAS
Week 3 WAS 35 – 30 PHI
Week 12 DAL 28 – 42 PHI
Week 11 WAS 29 – 28 NYG
Week 9 DAL 61 – 10 NYG
Week 10 WAS 34 – 25 ATL
Week 13 DAL 59 – 35 ATL
Week 8 WAS 28 – 34 DEN
Week 6 DAL 35 – 29 DEN
Tale of the Tape: Washington Football Team
Record vs .500+ opponents = 5-2
Avg point differential vs .500+ opponents = +6.1
33 points per game (12th in PML)
26 points allowed per game (7th fewest in PML)
3rd in Passing Yards
30th in Rushing Yards
6th in Rushing Defense
18th in Passing Defense
KMFO’s GOTW Players to Watch for the Football Team
WR Emmanuel Hall; Hall can be the real difference maker in how this offense operates. He has an incredible blend of size and speed at 6’3 with 93 speed and 94 acceleration. He can stretch the field vertically and horizontally with the best of them, and covering him doesn’t always mean he won’t be able to make the catch with his height and jumping ability (95 jumping). We know McLaurin is one of the top receiving threats in the league and the #1 weapon on this team, and TE Gerald Everett is closing in on a 1,000 yard season, but Hall’s recent emergence in the lineup makes this offense much tougher to defend. He didn’t record his first catch of the season until week 8, and then burst into the scene in week 10 and 11 with back to back 100+ yard games and 2 receiving touchdowns. We know McLaurin and Everett will get their numbers, but if Hall can also see some targets and make a couple plays, that will be the missing piece this offense has been needing to become more dynamic in their passing game.
SS Landon Collins; We all know the Football Team has 1 job in this matchup and that is to slow down Elliot and Pollard and this incredible Cowboys rushing attack. In order to do this, expect to see Collins come up and play inside the box A LOT on early downs. With the offensive line of the Cowboys, it’d be too much to expect the Football Team to shut down the run game without help from the back end because consistent block shedding at the line of scrimmage won’t be an easy thing to come by. That’s why it will be very important to the success of the Washington run defense for Collins to fill the open gaps with great physicality and correct pursuit angles. Collins will have to be the difference between 3 yard carries and 7 yard carries in this game.
CB Kendall Fuller; With the defense committing more defenders in the box to stop the run, it will put Fuller on an island against Ceedee Lamb, the Cowboys young superstar wideout and leading receiver. Early run stops won’t mean anything if Fuller can’t shut down Lamb on the outside when it gets to 3rd down. Washington will need Fuller to come up with some lockdown coverage in clutch situations if their defense hopes to get the high powered Dallas offense off the field on 3rd downs.
KMFO’s Keys to Victory for the Football Team:
Stop the Cowboys run game. This one is obvious, Cowboys have the #1 rushing offense in the league but the 30th ranked passing attack. If Washington can force 3rd & long, they should be able to create a lot of stops and turnovers.
Throw more Touchdowns than Interceptions. Haskins has been a gunslinger all season, recording at least 1 interception in almost every game. But he doesn’t get gun shy and he stays confident, which has led to him scoring a lot of touchdowns and throwing for a lot of yards. He has only thrown more interceptions than touchdowns in 3 games all season, and the Football Team is 0-3 in those 3 games while being 9-0 when Haskins has thrown as many or more touchdown passes than interceptions.
Score touchdowns in the Redzone. In week 4 against Dallas, Washington held their ground game to under 100 yards and also out-gained the Cowboys offense by over 80 yards but still managed to lose by 17 points. That’s because Washington gained a lot of pointless yardage because they couldn’t convert in the Redzone, only scoring 2 touchdowns in 5 Redzone trips in week 4. The Football Team has what it takes on offense and defense to win this game, but they need to execute when they get close to the endzone or else they can kiss the NFC East crown goodbye
KMFO’s Interview with Washington’s Coach, Tbandit:
Q: The Cowboys have the #1 ranked run offense in the league, averaging over 180 yards rushing per game between the 2 headed monster of Elliot and Pollard. You had success in week 4 containing his run game holding the Cowboys to their lowest single game rushing total on the season, how do you plan on replicating that success in week 14?
A: Our gamelan for slowing down the run game is forcing them into obvious passing downs and getting them behind the sticks . With the 2 back system of zeke and pollard along with those hogs up front it’ll be tough to contain these guys for the entire 40 minutes so that’s the best bet. I plan on keeping 8 guys in the box the majority of the time and making his guys on the outside beat us.
Q: Despite outshining the Football Team by over 80 offensive yards in your first matchup in week 4, you still lost 42-25. It seems like only scoring 2 TDs in 5 trips to the Redzone was a big factor in that. What kind of things has your team been working on to improve your Redzone efficiency so that you can come away with more points near the goalline?
A: Our redzone efficiency has been a problem all year and it cost us in our week 4 matchup.. As a coaching staff we decided to be more conservative in the redzone and depend on the legs of Love/Gibson rather than try and force unnecessary passes in the endzone with Haskins where the windows are much tighter. As an agressive playcaller you gotta understand that it’s nothing wrong with settling for 3 points rather than 0 as it could come back and haunt you later on. We have a defense that can give us the ball back at any moment so Haskins needs to keep that in mind when making some of these questionable redzone decisions.
Q: The Cowboys have 4 defenders with 5+ interceptions on the season. Does throwing the ball against this ballhawking defense make you nervous?
A: Nah not really.. over here in Washington we have a gunslinger mentality. We don’t care who Dallas has in the back 7 and we don’t care what they’ve done this season. We feel like we have the best passing attack in Pml outside of a few teams so we fear nobody and will be testing out the so called “lockdown” secondary that Dallas has early and often
Tale of the Tape: Dallas Cowboys
Record vs .500+ opponents = 5-2
Avg point differential vs .500+ opponents = +11.4 points
39 Points per game (3rd in PML)
28 Points Allowed Per Game (10th fewest in PML)
1st in Rushing Yards
26th in Passing Yards
10th in Rushing Defense
30th in Passing Defense
3rd in Defensive Interceptions
Gooseneck’s GOTW Players to watch for the Cowboys
CB Daryl Worley. He will be picked on early and often as the weak link in the Cowboys secondary. Currently sitting at 6 INTs and 6 DEFLs on the season the 88 speed corner will have to help Aquzie keep Haskin’s under 300 yards in the air to win this game.
WR Amari Cooper. The Veteran SuperStar X-Factor Dev wideout will be needed in today’s victory. Both he and CeeDee Lamb currently sit at 7 TDs each for the season, but he currently has 250+ fewer yards than the 2nd year standout. More troubling, Amari only has 1 game where he had more than 75 yards receiving. Cooper’s elite route running should allow for Dak to feed him midway thru the game once the Football Team shows frustrations with Zeke’s ground game. He presence will be needed.
OLB Jaylon Smith. Every offense across the league conjures up schemes to keep LVE’s effectiveness against them minimized. With Jaylon Smith in the box with LVE he will be counted on to support the DPOY candidate. His athleticism and IQ on the field make will keep the Football Team’s offensive coordinator on his toes.
Gooseneck’s Keys to Victory for the Cowboys:
Slow down the Haskin’s to McLaurin Duo. Haskins’ is currently at number 3 in yards and number 5 in touchdowns across the league. 5 year veteran, Daryl Worley, will be tried by the fire tonight as he will have to make sure Haskins receives little to no support from other targets on the field.
Zeke has to have good game on the ground. He has only been held to less than 120 yards on the ground in 5 games this season. This game cannot be number 6 if the Cowboys intend to take their place as the Number 1 seed in the NFC East and continue thier campaign for the bye week in the round 1 of the playoffs. Zeke setting the pace early will allow the young standout receiver, Cee Dee Lamb, to be his most effective in Pro Style formations.
Leighton Vander Esch will have to have a proper LVE showing. LVE is 2nd in the NFC when it comes to deflections by a Linebacker. Tonight He will be expected to have a performance nothing short of that as Haskins’ 2nd favorite target is their athletic TE Gerald Everett. LVE’s 8 INTs on the season thus far has him as the INT leader in the NFC at the Linebacker position. He will have to be effective on early downs to force Dwayne and company into touch decisions on 3rd and long.
Gooseneck’s Interview with Cowboys Coach, CEO
Q: The Football team is currently within the top 6 against the Run in the 2021 season holding opponents right under 100 yards per game. In the week 4 division match-up, Zeke’s longest run was only for 7 yards as he crawled to 70 yards on 25 attempts. In games where Pollard has 10 or more carries he is averaging 12.5 yards per carry. Should we expect to see #20 Pollard lined up in the backfield more than Elliot?
A: We are not going to change what we have been doing already. We run a two running back system and Zeke is our number one guy. We just have to run the ball against one of the top 5 front 7’s in the league. It’s a difficult task but both guys are open to the challenge. They push each other to be great and you see it on the field because the offense doesn’t miss a beat when Pollard is in the game.
Q: When Dak has less than 30 passing attempts in a game the Cowboys average a point spread of 20.6 against opponents in 9 victories thus far. At an uncomfortable 250 yards per game the Football Team’s pass defense in towards the back half of the pack. Does Offensive coordinator see opportunity for Prescott and his favorite target CeeDee Lamb?
A: We are not going into this game that we have to have this many passing attempts. It’s not about the quantity of passes it’s the quality. We may lean on it a little more but we still go in to our philosophy of hitting the open man and not force feeding players. Our WR core is excited for whomever has a big day.
Q: The Football team is just 2 yards shy per game of averaging 400 yards of Offense in the current season. 315 of those yards are averaged in the air attack led by NFC OPOY Candidate Dwayne Haskins Jr. The Cowboys going into week 14 are ranked in the bottom 5 against the pass @ 288/ypg given up in the air, despite Chidobe Awuzie being 2nd in league among DBs breaking up passes at 12 deflections & 7 INTs. What adjustments can we expect to see during Sunday Afternoon’s game?
A: I think that stat is not as accurate as many think. We have been ahead in games alot by multiple scores so of course teams would need to pass. But for us is keying on getting turnovers or forcing punts. If our front 4 can put pressure on Haskins and make some big plays happen for us to force those turnovers I don’t mind giving up yards.
KMFO’s GOTW Prediction:
Washington wins, 31-24
I think Washington manages to shut down the Cowboys run game once again and also solves the Dallas Redzone defense that they struggled with in week 4. It’s tough to beat a good team twice in the same season, and Tbandit is one of the top coaches in the league so I trust he will learn from his mistakes the first time around and come out of the locker room for this game with a fire lit under him.
Gooseneck’s GOTW Prediction:
Cowboys win, 38 – 34
I think the Cowboys will control the clock. With their personnel in the trenches and Zeke playing his best ball, the boys from Dallas understand what this games mean to them and thier post season push. CEO knows his team has something prove in their running attack this week to make up for the sub 100 yard performance in the previous week 4 meeting.