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Cowboys, aiming East against Washington

by archysport

ARLINGTON – The last time the Dallas Cowboys played on a Sunday in primetime, they had to find a way to do it without Dak Prescott. Now, they need to find a way to get their outstanding quarterback back to what he was doing before injuring a calf and staying out of their win over Minnesota.

The Cowboys (10-4) have three more games to go before their playoffs, starting this Sunday night at home against Washington, as leaders of the National Conference East to try to beat three. consecutive opponents of the Division. The first will be Washington.

“There is still a lot of room to grow,” Prescott said. “We have taken those steps and we have improved day after day and we are going to continue doing that, as I already told you, we just have to choose the right moment. Yes, we are comfortable where we are and most importantly, we know where we are going ”.

Washington could have its quarterback Taylor Heinicke back after complying with the Covid-19 protocols this Thursday, two days after Garrett Gilbert had to be the starter, since Heinicke and relief Kyle Allen could not play due to the virus .

The best hopes of reaching the postseason for Washington (6-8) were dashed with the loss they had to Philadelphia by a score of 27-17 in a game delayed by the coronavirus. Last season’s National Conference East winner was eliminated from that competition and is playing again, five days later.

“I’m not going to fix anything by saying: I hope we can finish this year with a winning record,” said coach Ron Rivera. “No, I don’t want to make the playoffs. I want to win the playoffs, I want to win it all. If I could win all 20 games, I would. That is my way of thinking ”.

Prescott mentioned the loss of possession as part of what he’s done wrong. One was a 6-pick that gave Washington a realistic chance to erase a 19-point deficit in the final six minutes of Dallas’ 27-20 win two weeks ago.

Although Ezekiel Elliott limped with a knee injury and the running game showed improvement in last week’s 21-6 win over the New York Giants, Prescott had plenty of interceptions as well as touchdowns. , three, in the last three games, although all were victories despite their problems. He had 16 touchdown passes and four interceptions before hurting his calf.

“We are playing good defense,” Prescott said. “They are doing a good job taking care of some things that we have done well, we have managed to be patient and make plays. That is difficult, but we are accepting the challenge and we have improved in that process ”.

The competition to reach the playoffs

There are several ways the Cowboys can secure the Division title or a playoff spot before playing. The first occurred Thursday, with San Francisco’s loss to Tennessee, which secured a playoff spot for Dallas. On Sunday, a Philadelphia loss or draw against the bottom-ranked New York Giants will end the competition in the National Conference East, and a Tampa Bay victory or draw against de Carolina will place the Cowboys in the playoffs.

Heinicke’s return

Heinicke, who has a 6-6 record as a starter, returned to practice on Thursday after complying with protocols.

“He seemed to be in control of everything,” Rivera said. “The guys were gravitating around him when he came back to play, so it was good to see that.”

Heinicke completed 11 of 25 passes for 122 yards, a touchdown and an interception on Dec. 12 against Dallas before injuring his knee.

Heinicke performed well against Tampa Bay and defeated the Buccaneers earlier this season; It is the first time he will face an opponent for the second time in his NFL career. Rivera expects the same kind of benefit for Heinicke as he faces the Cowboys twice in three weeks.

“Today I played and it felt good shooting and all that stuff,” Heinicke said. “I was a bit short of breath when I returned this time, but I think everything is fine. It is not about jumping into the game this Sunday, since I have been sitting at home for a week ”.

Doomsday second version?

The victory over Washington was the second of three straight games with four interceptions for the Cowboys. They became the fourth team since 1990 to force at least four turnovers in four straight games. The most recent was Buffalo in 2004.

Those three games also marked the first time defensive running backs DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory and outstanding rookie linebacker Micah Parsons played together since the opening game. Lawrence was out 10 games with a broken foot.

“Having him here makes us a little faster, and a little smarter,” Gregory said. “We are united and the guys really know what to do, how to control the clock and things like that. Having him here is an advantage in any week. ”

Gibson’s great doubt

The biggest question Washington hasn’t answered is the status of power back Antonio Gibson, who is injured. He suffered a big toe injury in Philadelphia, and Rivera said the damage was “similar” to what Gibson suffered in the 2020 season.

Running back JD McKissic is on injured reserve with a sore neck after a reckless play in the last game against Dallas. If Gibson can’t play, all the carries will go to rookie Jaret Patterson.

Take note

Washington (6-8) en Dallas (10-4)

Hoy, 6:20 pm / 9.1, ESPN

Betting line: Cowboys for 10 (1/2), according to FanDuel SportsBook

Against the line: Washington 5-9; Jeans 11-3

Series record: Cowboys lead 74-47-2

Final Game: Cowboys defeated Washington 27-20 on Dec 12. in Landover, Maryland

Last week: Washington lost to Aguilas 27-17; Cowboys beat Giants 21-6

Washington offense: overall (20), carry (14), pass (21), touchdown (23)

Washington defense: overall (10), carry (8), pass (30), touchdown (25)

Cowboys offense: overall (1), carry (6), pass (6), touchdown (2)

Cowboys Defense: Overall (12), Carry (15), Pass (23), Touchdown (7)

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