The Week 7 NFL schedule offers us a critical game in the crowded NFC East between the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins. As the home team, the Redskins are slim 1-point favorites with the over/under for the game set at 41.5 points.
After last week’s win over Carolina, the Redskins are 3-2 on the season, giving them a half-game lead over both the Cowboys and Eagles at the top of the NFC East. However, the Redskins have been maddeningly inconsistent this season, beating good teams some weeks but losing by double-digit margins in other weeks. They’re also yet to win back-to-back games this season.
The Cowboys have also yet to win back-to-back games this year, as they enter this week a perfectly mediocre 3-3. However, Dallas is coming off an absolute thrashing of the Jaguars last week, dominating Jacksonville to the tune of 40-7. As mentioned, they are half a game behind the Redskins for the top spot in the NFC East, so this is a vital game for both teams.
Play It Safe
For the Cowboys, winning and losing has come down to turnovers. When they’ve avoided turnovers they’ve won, but in the three games they’ve lost, Dallas has committed six turnovers. If the Cowboys play it safe and keep a hold of the ball, they’ll be in a position to win. The caveat is that the Washington defense has forced nine turnovers this season, including three last week, so they can disrupt of plans.
The Dallas offense can also be a little one-dimensional at times. Even with 40 points on the scoreboard last week, Dak Prescott didn’t eclipse the 200-yard mark throwing the ball. The Redskins have been solid against the run this year, particularly last week against the Carolina run game, so the Washington defense will no doubt make stopping the run a priority.
Keep It Simple
The Redskins also have a rather simple formula for winning. Alex Smith doesn’t offer a lot of play-making ability, but when Washington can run the ball effectively, they put themselves into short-yardage situations on 3rd down. Smith is able to excel in those spots, enabling the Redskins to keep drives alive and control the clock.
Of course, that will be easier said done against a Dallas defense that’s second in the NFL in points allowed. They have limited the damage opposing teams have done against them on the ground this season. If Washington can’t establish Adrian Peterson early in the game, the pressure will be on Smith to carry the offense and force some throws down the field.
Flip A Coin
Clearly, picking this game is no different from flipping a coin. In the end, the Cowboys are 0-3 on the road this season. On the contrary, the Redskins have taken care of business against both Green Bay and Carolina while at home this year. In a matchup that almost looks too close to call on paper, that’s enough to sway things in Washington’s favor. Bet on the Redskins -1 to beat the Cowboys and cover the microscopic spread.