The Dallas Cowboys are sitting strong at 8-4 on the season, getting closer to clinching the NFC East. However, teams like the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Football Team are playing their best ball, while Dallas is 3-3 since the bye week.

Inconsistencies on offense and defense have hurt the team, as well as injuries and line-up shuffling. It’s hard to fully grasp just who this Dallas Cowboys team really is.

The good news? They’re closer and closer to securing a playoff spot after a big win in New Orleans.

The returns of Neville Gallimore, Randy Gregory and full forces of Amari Cooper and DeMarcus Lawrence should help now and in January. Despite the bad taste still in Cowboys’ mouth from the month of November, things are looking up.

Now, the Cowboys get their 1st crack at their arch-rival Washington Football Franchise (6-6). They’re on a 4-game win streak, despite being without their best defenders in Chase Young and Montez Sweat.

Even though they haven’t been the flashiest team in the league, they’re winning games in many ways. Controlling the clock, line of scrimmage and scoring when in the red zone have been key, and it’s worked.

Now the Dallas Cowboys need to hold their own, and take away what’s made Washington so formidable.

Don’t Let WFT Control the Clock

Football is a game played in the trenches. Washington has been taking that seriously in the last 4 games.

They have won the time of possession battle by an average of 15 minutes since their last loss. It’s been a combination of safe passing plays, limiting turnovers and out-rushing opponents by 190 yards.

The Dallas Cowboys defense has been rushed on the 10th least amount of plays, partly because they’ve won the line of scrimmage in most of their games this season. Now the defense will need control the run game, and take away plays/time from the opposing offense.

Otherwise, Dak and the offense won’t get as many chances to score. Just ask Russell Wilson and Seattle. 

Create Pressure on the Passing Game

This might be beating a dead horse, but there are quarterbacks that don’t play well under pressure. The numbers say the same when it comes to Taylor Heinicke. Writer and show host, ‘Big Game’ James Yaites has the proof.

The combinations of Micah Parsons, Randy Gregory, DeMarcus Lawrence, Osa Odighizuwa and Neville Gallimore should create all kinds of ruckus. Given the intensity the Cowboys defense is playing with, there’s confidence to spare.

Dallas’ defense is the 4th best defensive pressure team in the league, and against tackles like Charles Leno and Cornelius Lucas, there’s no reason to think it can’t continue.

Air it Out

Dak Prescott will have all 3 of his starting receivers, plus Dalton Schultz for gameday. That’s huge for both the offensive efficiency, and for Washington’s defensive setbacks.

Washington ranks in the bottom 10 in completion percentage (68.4%), passing yards (3167) and in passer rating (105) on defense.

The Dallas Cowboys are 1-1 against bottom 10 pass defenses. 1 of those games was against Kansas City where Dallas was down many key players, and against Minnesota, whom Prescott didn’t play against. There’s no reason to think Dak and the offense shouldn’t take full advantage

Find “Other” Ways to Run the Ball

The Dallas Cowboys are likely playing with Ezekiel Elliott, who’s dealing with a knee issue. It would be one thing if he were playing with his running mate, but it looks like the carries will fall on one.

Assuming the Cowboys running backs stable really is Elliott, Corey Clement and JaQuan Hardy, Washington will do what other defenses have done. Having success against the Cowboys has come from stacking the box, especially on run downs, and playing man.

It might not be popular, but the return of the RPO (run-pass-option) for this game, may be necessary. Elliott isn’t 100% and the offensive line has been inconsistent for weeks, meaning simple draws and zone hand-offs won’t get it done.

There haven’t been many designed runs this year for Dak like in years past. This has taken away a dimension that’s made him special. Simply handing it off to Elliott and possibly Clement, won’t get it done. The Cowboys don’t want to be one-dimensional, and something like this will bring returns of energy.