The Dallas Cowboys shocked the NFL world last week when they destroyed the Jacksonville Jaguars 40-7. Dallas will now try to build off the dominating performance by winning consecutive games for the first time this season when they take on the Redskins in Landover, Maryland on Sunday. The Cowboys will also be looking to win their first road game of the season. So what must Dallas do in order to beat their NFC East rivals? Here are my five keys to victory.
1. Aggressive play calling.
In Dallas’ three home games this season they have jumped out to early leads with aggressive play calling. In their three road games it’s been a completely different story. They have come out with a conservative game plan and fallen behind in every game. Dallas is playing a road game on Sunday, but Scott Linehan needs to call plays like it’s a home game.
2. Let Dak be Dak.
Dak Prescott isn’t a prototypical QB. He’s not the most accurate passer. What Dak does do well is run the ball. Dallas’ best chance of winning is to run zone reads and options. Roll Dak out and let him throw on the run. When the Cowboys allow Prescott to play free and loose, their percentage of winning goes way up.
3. Michael Gallup has his breakout game
Last week was the Cole Beasley show as he hauled in 9 receptions for 101 yards and 2 touchdowns. Beasley will be the primary focus of Washington’s defense this week, and that means the Cowboys will need someone else to step up. Michael Gallup has yet to have a huge game but he has shown flashes, including an apparent touchdown catch last week that was overturned. This is the week Gallup has his coming out party. I’m predicting 5 catches for 100 yards and a touchdown.
4. Protect the ball.
Washington’s offense has been pretty pedestrian so far this season. I don’t believe they have the ability to consistently move the ball on the Dallas defense. So the best chance for Washington to score points is if Dallas helps them by turning the ball over. If Dallas protects the ball they should have a good chance to win on Sunday.
5. Contain Adrian Peterson
Washington’s offensive success has been directly tied to the performance of running back Adrian Peterson. In their three victories Peterson has rushed for 313 yards. In their two losses Peterson has rushed for 26 yards. So the formula seems pretty simple, if you stop Peterson you will defeat the Redskins. It’s an important game for Dallas on Sunday and a very winnable game as well. If they do these five things they should leave the nation’s capital as the NFC East division leader.
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