This will be an interesting matchup because the strengths of each team will match up against a glaring weakness of its opponent.
Let's find out what Dallas and Washington needs to do to get the win.
The Washington Football Team will win if...
This is a division rivalry game that will be decided by the key areas that traditionally determine outcomes. The winner of the turnover battle, time of possession, and the trenches (running game) will walk away with the win. For the WFT, the offense must get a solid performance from Kyle Allen to have a chance at securing their second win of the season. The veteran quarterback needs to avoid to costly turnover that's hurt the team in key moments while generating enough plays in the passing game to put some points on the board. He will need Terry McLaurin and Antonio Gibson to make a handful of plays on the perimeter to alleviate some of the pressure on his shoulders but the WFT's young playmakers are certainly capable of making it happen. On defense, the Washington Football Team must impose their will on the Cowboys, particularly at the line of scrimmage. WFT's vaunted frontline needs to dominate a patchwork offensive line to keep the pressure on Andy Dalton in the pocket. Given the talent of the Cowboys' talented WR corps, the WFT will rely heavily on that pressure as they opt to sit in soft zones to take away the deep ball while challenging Dalton to string together completions on short- and intermediate throws.
Against Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys' rushing attack, the WFT must exhibit gap discipline at the line of scrimmage and force the two-time NFL rushing champ to run into darkness. In addition, the Washington Football Team needs eleven defenders prying at the ball whenever No.21 touches it. With Elliott showing a propensity to put the ball on the ground, the WFTs must attack his arms relentlessly and see if he has corrected the ball security issues that have plagued his game this season.
The Cowboys will win if...
The blueprint for a Cowboys' win consists of clean football on both sides of the ball. The offense must avoid putting the team in an early hole with turnovers and silly penalties while establishing a rhythm as a balanced offense. Elliott has to step up as the No.1 offensive player and give the Cowboys 100-plus scrimmage yards as part of a game plan that emphasizes ball control and time of possession. Dalton will need to make a few plays in the passing game to keep the WFT from loading the box but those throws should occur on early downs. If Kellen Moore can scale back on some of the risky throws that lead to interceptions from the veteran, the Cowboys can win with a quick-rhythm passing game loaded with short passes to Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup.
Defensively, the Cowboys need to eliminate the big plays that have hurt them on the ground and through the air. The defense must plug the holes in the box and not allow any of the WFT's runners to squirt through the line for big gains. In addition, the Cowboys needs to step up their intensity and physicality. They must punish every runner that touches the ball and make them earn every yard.
Against the pass, the Cowboys' secondary must keep the ball in front of the defense and dare Allen to win by driving the length of the field. The veteran quarterback hasn't exhibited the patience and discipline to avoid the big turnover. The Cowboys must test his poise by staying deep and keeping the ball from flying over their heads. If they take away the big plays, the Cowboys should chalk up their third win of the season.