Dallas Cowboys vs. Washington Football Team Matchup Preview (10/25/20): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)
Dallas Cowboys vs. Washinton Football Team Matchup Preview (10/25/20): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)
The Cowboys came into this season as a fringe Super Bowl contender with a new head coach, lights-out draft class, and talent all over the field
Date: Sunday, October 18th, 2020
Time: 1:00 PM ET
Location: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
TV Coverage: CBS
Cowboys vs. Washington Live Stream
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Dallas Cowboys: G Z. Martin (concussion) O, T B. Knight (knee) O, DT T. Hill (ACL) O, QB D. Prescott (ankle) O, T T. Smith (neck) O, C J. Looney (MCL) O, T L. Collins (hip) O, TE B. Jarwin (ACL) O, CB C. Awuzie (hamstring) P, LB S. Lee (sports hernia) P
Washington Football Team: DE J. Smith-Williams (concussion) O, WR A. Gandy-Golden (hamstring) O, T S. Charles (kneecap) O, WR I. Wright (shoulder) O, RB B. Love (knee) O, CB G. Stroman (foot) O, G M. Liedtke (undisclosed) O, WR S. Sims (toe) O, DT M. Ioannidis (biceps) O, T G. Christian (knee) Q, LB R. Foster (knee) Q
Dallas Cowboys Analysis
We knew the Cowboys would look different after Dak Prescott’s season-ending ankle injury, but we didn’t know just how different. Although he looked solid in relief of Prescott a couple of weeks ago after the initial injury, Andy Dalton was terrible last week as he completed just 62% of his passes for 266 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. That doesn’t do justice to how bad the Cowboys’ offense was for the majority of the game, though, as they didn’t score their first touchdown until late in the fourth quarter and trailed by as many as 28 points at various times. Dalton hasn’t thrown enough passes this year to qualify for Football Outsiders’ metrics, but he’s been terrible – his DVOA would be the fourth-worst among qualified QBs, and his QBR would be the worst. We already knew the defense was bad, but if Dalton is playing like one of the worst QBs in the NFL, this team won’t be winning many games.
A huge problem for the Cowboys has been the erosion of their offensive line due to injuries. What was once an elite group has been decimated by injuries this season as All-Pro guard Zack Martin, stalwart left tackle Tyron Smith, and the reliable center Joe Looney and tackle La’El Collins will not play this week. Football Outsiders still has the Dallas offensive line respectably rated at 5th in run blocking and 11th in pass protection, but the Cardinals sacked Dalton 3 times last week and held the Cowboys to 3.6 YPC as a team. Ezekiel Elliott had just 12 carries for 49 yards, although he did contribute 8 catches for 31 yards in the passing game. Elliott is having a rough season as he’s not surpassed 100 rushing yards in a game this season, although he does have 6 total touchdowns so far. Elliott lost two fumbles against the Cardinals last week and has lost four now on the season. While it’s unlikely he gets benched given his talent, it underscores a massive problem for the Cowboys with their league-worst -12 in turnover differential.
Dallas started off the season with Dak Prescott setting an absurd, historic 16-game pace for passing yards. Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb had tremendous production, and Michael Gallup had a few strong games as well. Cooper still has 46 catches (2nd-most) for 503 yards (6th-most), and he finished with 7 catches for 79 yards and 1 touchdown against the Cardinals, but a lot of that came late in the game in garbage time. CeeDee Lamb finished with 7 catches for 64 yards last week while Michael Gallup had just 2 catches for 23 yards, and Dalton Schultz grabbed 4 balls for 35 yards. The passing volume is not going to be the same in Dallas for the remainder of the season, and I’m expecting the production for all of these players to dip down a bit. Cooper and Lamb are tremendous talents as they both rank top 10 in Football Outsiders’ effective yards metric (translates DVOA into yards per attempt).
Defensively, things have gone from bad to worse for Dallas as they’ve now allowed the most points per game in the NFL. Even the Giants, who are scoring the second-fewest points per game (17.4), put up 34 points against the Cowboys. Their pass rush outside of DeMarcus Lawrence has been incredibly unreliable, and the cornerback trio of Daryl Worley, Trevon Diggs, and Jourdan Lewis has been one of the worst in football. The highly-drafted duo of Leighton Vander-Esch and Jaylon Smith has underperformed at linebacker, and the high-priced free agency acquisition of Everson Griffen has been underwhelming, to say the least. This defense has holes all over the place, and they’ve proven that they can provide a soft matchup to get any offense feeling right. Even against Washington, I have minimal confidence in this defense.
Dallas Cowboys Depth Chart
Washington Football Team Analysis
Washington raised some eyebrows when they swapped out second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins for the veteran Kyle Allen, but that change has paid dividends so far. Allen’s QBR of 70.4 would rank 15th among all qualified QBs, while Haskin’s QBR of 33.8 is the worst in the NFL among qualified passers. Haskins has the fourth-worst DYAR and DVOA among all quarterbacks this year, while Kyle Allen’s metrics at least trend closer to the middle of the pack. Over the past two weeks, Allen has completed 72.7% of his passes for 354 yards and 2 touchdowns to 1 interception. Those aren’t exceptional numbers, but he’s played efficient, turnover-free ball, and that’s more than you could ever say about Haskins.
While Dallas’s offensive line started strong and has faltered due to injuries, the Washington offensive line has been one of the league’s worst all year. Football Outsiders has them ranked as the fifth-worst run-blocking line and the worst pass-blocking line in football. Washington’s running backs have averaged just 3.41 YPC, the second-worst mark in the NFL, and they’ve allowed 24 sacks, tied for the second-most in the NFL. The offensive line will need to be a major area of focus for Washington this offseason. The backfield for Washington has also seen limited production, although rookie Antonio Gibson has shown flashes of strong play with 64 carries for 243 yards and 3 touchdowns as well as 19 receptions for 147 yards. However, J.D. McKissic continues to see heavy involvement in the offense, especially in the passing game, where his 23 receptions are the 2nd-most on the team. Gibson ranks 8th in the NFL in RB DVOA per Football Outsiders, so it should be in the team’s best interest to continue to increase his touches.
Terry McLaurin leads Washington’s skill players with 36 catches for 487 yards, putting him on a 16-game pace of 96 catches for just under 1,300 yards. He’s only reached the end zone one time, but his production has still been very impressive, and it says a lot about him that he’s done this despite Washington’s quarterbacks having been in turmoil and not playing very well all year. Outside of McLaurin, both Logan Thomas and Dontrelle Inman bizarrely have the same stats of 17 catches for 148 yards and 2 touchdowns. However, the volume for this team has been low overall as Washington QBs have thrown for just 193.2 yards per game, the fifth-fewest in the NFL. Dallas, however, has been exposed by opposing quarterbacks all year, so McLaurin should be in for a stellar game. He ranks ninth in Football Outsiders’ effective yards metric and is one of my favorite DFS plays this week (more on that later).
Washington’s defense has turned into one of the most formidable in the NFL, especially in the front seven. Rookie Chase Young, Washington’s first-round defensive end, has made a massive impact with 2.5 sacks, 13 tackles (6 for a loss), and one forced fumble so far. Meanwhile, Ryan Kerrigan and Montez Sweat each have three sacks so far, while six other players have logged at least one sack. Kendall Fuller and Ronald Darby have provided a formidable outside cornerback duo that will give Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup a tough time, although CeeDee Lamb could take advantage of the underperforming Jimmy Moreland in the slot. Washington’s front seven is well-positioned to take advantage of an offensive line missing four of its five starters from the beginning of the season, and their cornerbacks will challenge Andy Dalton as well.
Washington Football Team Depth Chart
Spread: Washington -1, Cowboys +1
Moneyline: Washington -110, Cowboys -110
Over/Under: 45.5 points
Some casual bettors will be surprised to see Washington favored in this game, but I have no idea how you can have confidence in the Cowboys after what we saw from them last week. The Cardinals held the Cowboys to 3 points through the first three quarters of the game, and Arizona’s defense likely isn’t even as good as Washington’s. All-Pro guard Zack Martin joins Tyron Smith, Joe Looney, and La’El Collins as starting offensive linemen who have sustained injuries, and that doesn’t bode well for Dallas against a stout Washington front seven. Washington has the sixth-best sack percentage and will terrorize a turnover-prone Andy Dalton. Kyle Allen may not be the most exciting quarterback, but he’s been playing efficient, turnover-free football and will at least be able to move the ball against what’s been one of the worst defenses in football. Washington isn’t built to blow teams out, and the Cowboys aren’t going to produce much on offense, so I’ll take the under in this game with Washington winning a tight one.
My predictions: Washington wins 23-21, Washington covers, under 45.5 points
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Daily Fantasy Picks
At $5,200 on DraftKings and $6,700 on FanDuel, Kyle Allen is one of the cheapest quarterbacks on this week’s slate. He hasn’t been exciting for fantasy purposes so far as he’s scored 9.7 and 16 fantasy points in his two games, but it’s worth noting he wasn’t on the field for all of that first contest. The Cowboys have allowed the 9th-most fantasy points to QBs this year and have been one of the worst defenses in the NFL, so I think Kyle Allen can be a viable DFS option this week.
The Cowboys have been one of the most generous defenses to opposing wide receivers this year as they’ve allowed the 3rd-most fantasy points to WRs. Terry McLaurin is underpriced at $5,800 on DraftKings, less so at $7,100 on FanDuel, but he can be a smash play for your lineup in this matchup. He’s been the WR13 so far this season despite the QB turmoil, and he is set for a stellar play in such a plus matchup.
J.D. McKissic’s continued involvement has been a thorn in the side of anyone hoping for Gibson to excel for fantasy. Gibson has averaged 15.3 touches per game over the past three weeks, not an exceptional number but enough with his talent and a low price tag of $5,000 on DraftKings and $5,700 on FanDuel. Gibson’s efficiency hasn’t been great, but he’s a solid play against a Dallas defense that has allowed the 1oth-most fantasy points to running backs.
There aren’t a lot of players for Dallas who I’m high on this week, but CeeDee Lamb is a guy who I think you can still rely on. Washington has allowed just the 3rd-fewest fantasy points to WRs this year, but they’ve been most vulnerable by far in the slot where Jimmy Moreland is going to struggle to hang with Lamb. Even with the offense transitioning to Andy Dalton at quarterback, Lamb has seen 11 targets in each of the past two weeks and has scored 10+ PPR points in every game this season. With his talent and the favorable matchup, I’ll take Lamb at $6,500 on DraftKings and $6,200 on FanDuel over the other two Dallas wideouts.