Game Overview ::
By mjohnson86 >>
- Washington enters on a four game winning streak and a win here would put them within a game of Dallas for the division lead.
- Dallas has become much more aggressive and pass heavy since their Week 7 bye and this matchup and some injury issues could push them in that direction even more.
- Washington’s recent success has been fueled by its defense rather than its offense, as they have scored over 20 points only two times in their last seven games.
- The matchup for Washington’s offense is difficult, but not impossible to overcome.
How dallas Will Try To Win ::
After starting the season focusing on the running game and the 25th highest situation-neutral pass rate in the league, the Cowboys offense has thrown at the 5th highest rate in the league since their Week 7 bye. The circumstances around this week also potentially add fuel to that fire, with injuries and matchup concerns looming for their running game. Ezekiel Elliott has been battling a knee injury and hasn’t looked the same recently, while Tony Pollard is now battling a foot injury (never good for a running back) and missing practice. Meanwhile, the matchup appears very difficult as the Washington defense’s strength is up front, and they have given up an average of only 66 rushing yards per game during their four-game win streak. This week is also the first time since Week 1 that Dallas’ elite receiving trio of Ceedee Lamb, Amari Cooper, and Michael Gallup are all at full health, with none of them on the Week 14 injury report.
Washington’s defense has rebounded quite well after being torched repeatedly to start the season. Their pass defense, in particular, started out the year playing very poorly but has come on strong in recent weeks. While we must acknowledge this improvement, I believe there is a good chance this unit is still very attackable. Digging deeper into this “resurgence” of the Washington pass defense, we see that it has come against the following teams/situations:
- Las Vegas without its two best playmakers.
- A Seattle team that has struggled immensely on offense due to having no running game to speak of and no creativity in their passing game, this game also had many weather elements to deal with.
- The Panthers with Cam Newton at the helm in his first game as a starter.
- The Buccaneers, who struggle to establish any balance in the running game and were playing without Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski, which made them very predictable, and were coming off a bye week and appeared rusty and out of sync.
The Cowboys have, by far, a more consistent running game and less predictable offense than all of the teams listed. Due to the injury and matchup issues referenced earlier, Dallas will likely lean into a pass-heavy approach in this spot but will be much more difficult for Washington to contain than the teams they have faced recently. The strength of the Cowboys offensive line and running game will force Washington to respect that aspect of the game, while the Cowboys have too many weapons for Washington to try to focus on just taking away one or two. The reputation, personnel, and tendencies of the Dallas offense will allow them to use play action and other pass game concepts effectively throughout the game.
How washington Will Try To Win ::
During their four-game winning streak, Washington is running the ball at the third-highest rate in the league and has never trailed by more than one score at any point. Washington will almost certainly try to replicate the recipe that they have had recent success with and slow the game down to neutralize the potent Dallas offense. There are some signs of potential success with that approach, as Washington is sixth in PFF’s run-blocking grades while the Dallas run defense, although league average in many metrics such as DVOA and yards per carry, is PFF’s 30th graded run defense. In the passing game, Trevon Diggs has been a stud for Dallas all season and will likely see a lot of Terry McLaurin in this matchup. While Diggs has been terrific, it is important to note that McLaurin got the best of him last year and had two very good games. While the odds of a ceiling game are not overly high in this spot, it does matter for Washington’s ability to move the ball that their top receiver is unlikely to be erased, as relying on Diggs to shut down one side of the field has had a lot to do with the Cowboys defense’s success this year.
Washington is likely to continue playing at a relatively slow pace and high run rate until forced to do otherwise. Their passing game will likely be concentrated on their “alpha” receiver, despite a difficult on-paper matchup, with the rest of the targets likely being distributed across a wide range of skill position players in a “dink and dunk” approach focused on moving the chains and keeping Taylor Heinicke from being forced into mistakes under pressure.
Likeliest Game Flow ::
Dallas is the team likeliest to control this game, and their offensive success will directly correlate with the odds of this game turning things up. Dallas is second in the league in both situation-neutral pace of play and in terms of seconds per snap. Given the tendencies, Dallas has shown, along with what this matchup dictates and the talent in the Dallas passing game, it is likely that Dallas is able to push the pace in this game and force Washington to keep up. If the Cowboys get a decent lead and force the issue on Washington, it will be interesting to see how effective Taylor Heinicke can be in “come back mode.” Washington does have a very good offensive line (ranking top-6 in the league in both run and pass blocking), which increases the chances of them being able to make some plays and keep up if Dallas is able to take control.
TOP PLAYS OF THE WEEKEND
SORTABLE GREEN ZONE TOUCHES
TEAM & PLAYER DK POINTS
DFS+ Interpretation ::
By LexMiraglia10 >>
- Brady, Herbert, Hurts, Darnold all threw for 300+ yds vs DAL in the opening month
- Mahomes (260) is the only one to throw for 250 yds since (Glennon, Mac, Cousins, Teddy, Ryan)
- DAL allowed four straight 300 yd QBs, then four straight under 250 yds, and then 260, 373, 264 to Mahomes, Carr, Taysom
- Heinicke has just four games of 260+ pass yds, and none since W8
- Heinicke has thrown 11 INT
- DAL has an INT in 10/12 games, with 19 total INT on season (T-most)
- McLaurin with 10+ tg: 11:107:1 // 6:123:2 // 4:46 // 7:122:1
- McLaurin with sub-10 tg: 4:62 // 4:62 // 4:28 // 3:23 // 6:59 // 5:103:1 // 4:51 // 3:22
- McLaurin has 8 games of 11.9 DK pts or less (10.2, 10.2, 8.6, 6.8, 6.5, 11.9, 9.1, 5.2)
- McLaurin has 4 games of 24+ DK pts (30.7, 33.3, 28.2, 24.3)
- DAL has allowed the 6th most WR DK pts/g
- WRs with 70+ yds vs DAL: AB (121), Godwin (105) // Allen (108), Williams (91) // Moore (113) // Toney (189) // Bourne (75) // Thielen (78) // Patrick (85) // Hill (77) // Renfrow (134), Djax (102) // Deonte (96)
- 9/13 scored at least one TD
- McLaurin career vs DAL: 5:62:1 // 7:90:1 // 7:92
- 9, 11, 9 targets in those games
- At least one WAS TE has 30+ rec yds in 9/12 games
- DAL has allowed 9 TEs of 30+ rec yds
- Gibson rushing since WAS’s bye: 24:64:2 // 19:95 // 27:111 // 23:88
- Gibson also has 12 rec in last two weeks, though McKissic missed last week
- Gibson now has 5 games in 2021 with 20+ rush att, with 3 coming since Bye
- RBs with 70+ yds vs DAL: Ekeler (115) // Hubbard (71) // Harris (108:1) // Cook (78) // Gordon (95:1), Williams (111) // Gallman (76) // CEH (76:1) // Jacobs (112:1)
- Gordon & Jacobs are the only two with 20+ rush att vs DAL
- DAL ranks 19th in def rush DVOA
- DAL has allowed just 7 RB TDs
- 6 of WAS’s first 7 opposing QBs threw for 275+ yds
- WAS has since held Teddy, Brady, Cam, Russ, & Carr all under 250 yds
- Dak has thrown for 250+ yds in just five of 11 games
- WAS has allowed multiple TDs to 9 QBs
- Dak has scored multiple TDs in eight of 11 games
- Game scores of Dak’s games of 250+ yds: 29-31 // 44-20 // 35-29 // 43-3 // 33-36
- WAS has allowed the 5th most WR DK pts/g
- WAS has allowed the 6th most WR rec yds/g
- Gallup with Dak, McCarthy, & 1+ of Lamb/Cooper: 3:50 // 2:58 // 6:138:1 // 2:29 // 4:36 // 3:42 // 5:44 // 5:36:1
- DAL WR tg high by game in 2021: 16 // 9 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 11 // 13 // 9 // 7 // 10 // 10 // 13
- DAL WR yds high by game in 2021: 139 // 81 // 66 // 69 // 84 // 149 // 122 // 33 // 94 // 44 // 106 // 122
- At least one DAL WR has finished with 100+ yds in just 5 games
- Lamb has 80+ yds in 7/10 full games
- WAS has allowed 80+ yds to 9 WRs
- Schultz targets: 6, 2, 7, 8, 8, 6, 7, 5, 2, 8, 7, 5
- That’s 8 games with 6+ tg in 2021, and just two below 5
- Schultz has 40+ yds with Dak in 9/11 games: 45, 18, 80, 58, 79, 79, 54, 14, 53, 46, 43
- WAS has allowed 40+ yds to 6 TEs, and 30+ yds to 11 TEs
- Elliott since his 28.2 DK pts in W5: 18.9 // 11.3 // 12.6 // 21.8 // 12.8 // 16.9 // 6.7
- Pollard’s touches: 7, 16, 12, 10, 18, 13, 8, 6, 18, 9, 14, 11
- Pollard’s total yds: 43, 140, 65, 67, 103, 63, 27, 43, 98, 70, 68, 74
- Pollard has just 5 games of 10+ DK pts (26, 14.3, 15.8, 10.8, 15.4)
- WAS ranks 8th in def rush DVOA
- WAS has allowed just 7 RBs to top 70+ total yds, and just three of 60+ rush yds