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Cowboys, Redskins to butt heads on SNF


The Dallas Cowboys have huge expectations going into this season and start 2010 off against their bitter rival Washington Redskins on Sunday Night Football.

Most media members aren’t giving the Redskins much of a chance in a game they need no motivation for. Are people underestimating Mike Shanahan and his made-over Redskins? Maybe.

If we analyzed the individual matchups in this game piece-by-piece, the talent level of the Cowboys does look to a bit higher but looks can be deceiving. The fact is, the Redskins have a great chance to win if they play aggressive defense and win the following match-ups.

The Redskins must be aggressive on D and blitz Romo, and blitz him hard if they want to win. Coming in to this season, the Cowboys aging offensive line was considered one of the few weaknesses of the team. This week matters got worse when they lost veteran tackles Marc Columbo and Kyle Kosier for Sunday’s game.

The ‘Boys are expected to start Kyle Barron, a former first round draft pick from the St. Louis Rams, in Columbo’s place and Montrae Holland, a player who was inactive in all 16 regular season games last year for the Cowboys, in Kosier’s spot. You have to think Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett is salivating going into this game.

The Redskins are expected to attack this weakness and shrug off the drama between Albert Haynesworth and Coach Mike Shanahan. Although Haynesworth is not expected to start, he is the perfect man to clog up the middle and force players like Holland and Barron to make adjustments.

If Haynesworth draws enough attention, that allows Redskins linebacker London Fletcher to use his speed in an open lane to Romo.

Expect the Cowboys to respond to the blitz with their wide collection of weapons including speedy wide receiver Miles Austin and Roy Williams, tight end Jason Witten and underrated Martellus Bennett.

Another huge factor is the match-up between OL Trent Williams and DeMarcus Ware. This is the most important individual matchup in this game with Ware being a certified quarterback killer who racked up 11 sacks last season and 20 sacks in 2008.

The Redskins may also use the Cowboys aggression against them. Cowboys’ defensive lineman Marcus Spears and linebackers DeMarcus Ware, Bradie James and Anthony Spencer can swarm through even the smallest gaps in an offensive line. Once the ball is snapped; these four go zero-to-sixty as fast as any tandem in the NFL. But maybe the Redskins can use that to their advantage.

As a writer at Cowboys Nation pointed out, the aggressive Cowboys defense has also so far been very susceptible to misdirection plays, as they over pursue where they expect the ball to go, many times leaving the backside wide open. 

Cowboys/Redskins series record: 59-39-2 Cowboys
Streak: Cowboys have won the last 3.

Redskins 2009 Leaders

  • Receiving-Santana Moss. 70 receptions for 902 yds, 3td
  • Rushing Clinton Portis.124 rushes for 494 yards, 1 td
  • Tackles-London Fletcher 142 tackles. 95 solo. 2 sacks.
  • Sacks- Andre Carter and Brian Orakpo tied with 11.
  • Interceptions-DeAngelo Hall 4
     

2009 Cowboys Leaders

  • Passing-Tony Romo. 347/550 4483 YDS. 26TD. 9 INT.
  • Receiving-Miles Austin. 81 receptions for 1320 yds, 11TD.
  • Rushing- Marion Barber. 214 rushes for 932 yards, 7TD.
  • Tackles- Bradie James. 113 tackles. 80 solo. 2 sacks.
  • Sacks- DeMarcus Ware. 11.
  • Interceptions- Mike Jenkins. 5.

Another version of this article can be found on Mike’s Redskins’ Examiner column here.

Used with permission of the author.

Based in Washington, Michael Hoffman has covered D.C. sports for numerous publications. In addition to contributing to Sports Climax, he is currently the Washington Capitals and Washington Redskins columnist for Examiner.com

Copyright ©2010 Sports Climax, LLC

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