Game #11 in the NFC East has 1st place on the line in a Thanksgiving matchup between Washington and Dallas

Would you believe that the winner of this Thanksgiving Day game between the Washington Football Team and the Dallas Cowboys will be sitting on top of the NFC East with a 4-7 record? The last time these teams met at FedEx Field in October, it was Washington who crushed Dallas by a final score of 25-3. Of course the lead in the standings could all change if the Eagles can beat the Seahawks on Monday night. This seems like the NFC East could go back-n-forth until the final weekend on January 3rd of 2021 when those Eagles host Washington.

Both teams have started a few different quarterbacks this year due to injuries. Dallas has started four different QBs and Washington has had three. Washington started with Dwayne Haskins and then after Kyle Allen suffered an ankle injury three weeks ago, head coach Ron Rivera went with the veteran Alex Smith as his starting quarterback with Dwayne Haskins as his backup. The Cowboys lost their starter, Dak Prescott, to a serious ankle injury that required surgery. He was replaced by Andy Dalton who was knocked out of the game in the last meeting with Washington, and Dalton will start this game.

Backup quarterbacks will make this one interesting, and the Cowboys are hoping that Ezekiel Elliott can continue what he put together last week with his best game of the season with 103 rushing yards. Washington rookie runner, Antonio Gibson, was at 100 yards last week until he had negative yards on his final two carries at the end of the Washington win last Sunday.

It would seem that the game will be decided by the defense and turnovers as we usually see when the offenses have so many question marks. There are reasons why both of these teams are 3-7 entering this game.

“I can bring in a sledgehammer and smash pumpkins, Rivera joked after the Cowboys smashed watermelons (not pumpkins) the night before their last game. But to be honest with you guys, it’s neither here nor there.

“A start is a start. Sometimes you finish them off and sometimes you don’t. We’ll see what happens. We work on things, we work on our scripts, we work on our plays and then we come out in the second half and we call the same play, we call the same defenses and we play better. We’ll see what happens come Thursday.”

via Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk

When Ron Rivera gives you quotes, you have to read it a few times to try to figure out what he is talking about. What can this Washington team do to play better in the first half? There was some progress last Sunday when Washington only trailed by 2 points at halftime with a 9-7 score.

Is it a matter of coaching, play-calling, or a sense of urgency that keeps this Washington team in a first half scoring drought. They still do not have any points scored on their first possession of any game this season. They have 8 touchdowns in the 4th quarter versus only 4 in the 1st quarter this season.

We understand what the division is this year, quarterback Alex Smith said. We really need to live week to week. That’s it. I mean, we don’t need to be looking at the bigger picture or weeks down the line or anything like that.

For Smith’s miracle comeback, he has now shown that he can lead his team to a win, but then again, he has to do that again and again to show he is the answer that this team is looking for. Coach Rivera and his staff want Smith back for the 2021 season according to sources as reported by ESPN. That is a sincere compliment to his leadership and the rest will depend on his play on the field. This can certainly change week to week in that sentiment.

Smith is set to make $19 million next season with both Dwayne Haskins and Kyle Allen under team control as well as the chances that the team could acquire another quarterback in next year’s draft.

Dallas is favored in this game by 2 1/2 points on the FanDuel sportsbook:

Moneyline: WAS: (+126) | DAL: (-148)
Spread: WAS: +2.5 (-105) | DAL: -2.5 (-115)
Total: 46.5 – Over: (-104) | Under: (-118)

This game is televised on FOX at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas at 4:30 pm.

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