On Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys will host a motivated Washington Commanders team coming off two consecutive losses.
The Commanders (1-2) currently rank last in the NFC East. If Washington has any hopes of competing for a division title, it will need to notch a road win at AT&T Stadium this weekend.
The Cowboys (2-1) have been trending in the opposite direction of the Commanders. Winners of two straight games, Dallas is looking to get another victory despite the absence of Dak Prescott.
Here’s how to tune into the game, and three keys to a Cowboys victory:
Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants
- Kickoff time: Sunday, October 2nd at 12:00 p.m.
- How to watch: FOX
- How to stream: fox.com
- Spread: Cowboys -3
- Over/under total: 41
Defense, defense and more defense
Dallas’ calling card through three games has been its impressive defense. The Cowboys have allowed 17.3 points per game, and have sacked the opposing QB 13 times in the process.
Dallas’ matchup with the Commanders offense is favorable considering Washington has allowed 15 sacks so far this season. That’s tied with the Cincinnati Bengals for the most in the NFL.
Despite the heavy pressure Commanders QB Carson Wentz has been under this season, Washington’s offense ranks 12th in the NFL, scoring 21 points per game.
Getting after Wentz and stopping the Commanders passing game will be important to a Cowboys win on Sunday.
Wentz has the sixth-most passing yards in the NFL and his two top targets are receivers Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel. But the former Philadelphia Eagles and Indianapolis Colts QB has also shown a tendency to turn the ball over, as he’s thrown three interceptions on the year.
The Commanders running game has been lackluster this season. Antonio Gibson is averaging just 41 yards per game. This should help the Cowboys defense focus much of its attention on Washington’s passing attack.
Cowboys playmakers need to step up
Dallas’ offensive struggles have been masked by its top-tier defense. The Cowboys’ 15.3 points per game is third-worst in the NFL.
But the Week 4 matchup provides an opportunity to build some positive momentum as the Commanders have allowed a whopping 27.3 points per game. That’s the fifth-highest total in the NFL.
After average performances in Weeks 1 and 2, the Cowboys top skill players showed much improvement last week against the New York Giants.
Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard combined for 178 rushing yards, and CeeDee Lamb had 87 receiving yards. Big performances from the Cowboys top three offensive weapons will be necessary if Dallas hopes to move to 3-1 on the season.
Don’t look ahead to Week 5
The Cowboys are coming off a big win on Monday Night Football. Next week, Dallas travels to the west coast for a bout with the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams.
It’s crucial the Cowboys come to play this week even though this game with the Commanders isn’t the most glamorous. Last season, Dallas dropped a pair of games against far inferior opponents.
In Week 9, the Denver Broncos came to Big D and embarrassed the Cowboys by a score of 30-16. The Broncos finished 7-10 on the season while the Cowboys went 12-5.
In Week 17, the Cowboys were 6.5-point favorites at home against the Arizona Cardinals. Dallas went on to lose 25-22. The Cardinals were on a three-game losing streak ahead of the Cowboys game.
On paper, the Cowboys have a favorable matchup with the Commanders. But it’s important Dallas learned from last season’s mistakes and takes Washington seriously.