Washington (6-8) at Dallas (10-4)
When: Sunday, December 26th 2021
Where: AT&T Stadium,
Time: 8:20 ET | TV: NBC
Opening Odds: Dallas -9.5/48
The Washington Football Team took down the NFC East last year with a 7-9 record, but will be giving that title this season – and possibly Sunday night – to the hated Dallas Cowboys. The Sunday Night NFL game features the Football Team traveling to Dallas in hopes of improving their own postseason chances. Those chances took a big hit last week when Washington lost 27-17 to the Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday night. Now the team will have short rest in preparation for the Cowboys. Washington is one game behind the Eagles, Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints for the final NFC playoff spot. The game against the Eagles was pushed back two days due to a COVID-19 outbreak that hit Washington. Garrett Gilbert started at quarterback in place of Taylor Heinicke and backup Brandon Allen, who both missed the game. Gilbert completed 20-of-31 passes for 194 yards in the loss. Heinicke was activated on Thursday and will be the starter Sunday night.
The Cowboys can clinch the division with a win but may have already done so by kickoff, pending the outcome of the Eagles game with the New York Giants. Either way, Dallas still has a lot to play for as far as seeding in the conference. The Cowboys are currently tied with three other teams at 10-4 – all trailing the 11-3 Green Bay Packers for the No. 1 seed and homefield advantage. Dallas lost three of four games in November but have bounced back with three consecutive victories. Dallas has allowed an average of 14.3 points during the winning streak, including a 21-6 road win at the Giants last week. The Cowboys forced four turnovers, but scored just two offensive touchdowns. Dallas won 27-20 at Washington on Dec. 12 in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated.
Washington was also without wide receiver Curtis Samuel and pass-catching running back JD McKissic in last week’s setback. Top running back Antonio Gibson left briefly with a toe injury but did return. He had just 26 yards and 15 carries versus the Eagles. Also in COVID protocols were center Tyler Larsen, cornerback Kendall Fuller and safety Kamren Curl. Cornerback William Jackson and safety Landon Collins were hurt during the game. Heinicke was roughed up in the first meeting with Dallas, going 11-of-25 for 122 yards and a touchdown and interception and was knocked out of the game. Washington’s defense had two interceptions and four sacks on Dak Prescott. Washington is 7-2 ATS in its last 9 games in Week 16.
The Cowboys’ offense has struggled during their three-game winning streak, but have forced four turnovers in each contest. Trevon Diggs had his NFL-leading 10th interception of the season. Quarterback Dak Prescott and defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence have made a bet between the offense and the defense for the rest of the season: Touchdowns scored versus takeaways created. So far the defense leads 4-2. Their 21 interceptions are the most the franchise has produced since 1999. Prescott was 28-of-37 for 217 yards and a touchdown while running back Tony Pollard led the ground attack with 74 rushing yards on 12 carries. Michah Parsons is having a terrific season on defense and had two of Dallas’ four sacks in the first meeting with Washington.
The Football Team is getting healthy again and shouldn’t be this big of an underdog to a Dallas team who’s offense is struggling. Washington does need to do a better job of protecting Heinicke this time around against the Dallas defense. I think they will.
Pick: Washington +10
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