Washington (3-7) at Dallas (3-7)
When: Thursday, November 26th, 2020
Where: AT&T Stadium,
Time: 4:30 ET | TV: FOX
Opening Odds: Pickem/47
We all know that the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys host a game on Thanksgiving Day every year, but did you know that the Washington Football Team makes a frequent appearance on turkey day? Washington will be playing in the late afternoon game at Dallas for the fourth time in five years when the two NFC East contenders meet in a pivotal contest this Thursday. It’s Washington’s 12th Thanksgiving game all-time and 10th against the Cowboys. The winner of this game between 3-7 teams will own first place in the division until at least Sunday afternoon. Washington snapped a two-game skid with a 20-9 win at Cincinnati in Week 11 thanks to rookie QB Joe Burrow being knocked out with a serious leg injury. Washington’s defense clamped down after taking the lead, sacking the Bengals four times and own one of the best defensive fronts in the league. Dallas erased two fourth-quarter deficits in a 31-28 road win at Minnesota on Sunday. Andy Dalton’s 2-yard touchdown pass to Dalton Schultz with 1:37 left in the game helped Dallas end their four-game losing streak and stay alive in the putrid division. It was Dalton’s first game since Oct. 25, when Washington linebacker Jon Bostic knocked him out of a 25-3 loss in the third quarter with a late hit to the helmet. The Cowboys offense is clearly not the same since Dak Prescott’s season ended with a frightening leg injury in Week 5. Their four touchdowns were twice as many as they produced in the previous four games combined.
This game opened at Pickem, but has since moved to Dallas -2.5 as of Tuesday afternoon with a total of 46. Washington looks to end a three-game skid at AT&T Stadium, last winning at Dallas 34-23 on Jan. 3, 2016. The Cowboys look to avoid the season sweep after getting dominated 25-3 back in Week 7. Dalton wasn’t very good before leaving with a head injury in that game, going 9-for-19 for 75 yards with a pick. Dallas had just 142 total yards. Washington QB Kyle Allen threw for two scores, but he’s now out for the season with Alex Smith taking his place. Rookie running back Antonio Gibson rushed for 128 yards and a score. The Cowboys are 7-3 in the past 10 meetings and 6-4 against the spread.
Gibson continued his excellent rookie season by rushing for 94 yards and a touchdown and his eight rushing scores lead all rookies and he’s tied with Charlie Brown and Skip Hicks for third-most total touchdowns for a rookie in franchise history. Gibson has a team-high 530 rushing yards. Wideout Terry McLaurin is on a pace for close to 100 catches. In his first 24 games, McLaurin has 1,790 receiving yards, more than Jerry Rice (1,757). Smith won a game for the first time since Nov. 11, 2018 – one week before he broke the fibula and tibia in his right leg. Cornerback Ronald Darby became the third player in Washington history to compile four passes defensed and a fumble recovery in a game last week versus Cincinnati. The Washington defense is one of the best in the league, ranking sixth overall (315.8) and tops against the pass (195.4). Their 22.7 points allowed also ranks in the top 10 and held the Cowboys to three points last month. Washington will play at Pittsburgh next week on 10 days rest.
Dalton threw for 203 yards and three scores in the upset win over the Vikings last week, while running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 103 yards (first 100-yard game of the season) and caught a TD pass. Elliott should get the ball more on Thursday, as he only had 12 rushing attempts in the first meeting with Washington. Safety Donovan Wilson had the game of his career with two forced fumbles, one recovered, nine tackles and a half sack. That makes him the first Cowboys defender with multiple forced fumbles in a game since 2016. Dallas is dead last in points allowed at 31.8 and could be shorthanded a cornerback this week. Starter Anthony Brown (ribs) left Sunday’s game in the fourth quarter, and rookie starter Trevon Diggs (foot) is on injured reserve. Coach Mike McCarthy said on Monday that he wasn’t sure if Brown would be ready to go. The Cowboys activated Rashard Robinson last Sunday for his first game of the year in Diggs’ place. The Cowboys did not practice Tuesday after head strength and conditioning coach Markus Paul was rushed to the hospital suddenly Tuesday morning. Paul’s family said he was undergoing treatment Tuesday morning, denying a report from Sports Illustrated stating Paul had died.
These teams have identical records, but I truly believe Washington is the better all-around football team. With Alex Smith back, the offense is once again balanced thanks to rookie running back Gibson and the defense is far more superior than Dallas’. I’ll take the road team in this one with no significant homefield advantage.
Pick: Washington +3
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