Thanksgiving Thursday, the Cowboys and the Redskins. A true American tradition. The 2012 version of Dallas’ annual Turkey Day game has a wealth of new storylines as RG3 makes his debut in Cowboys Stadium to take on a Dallas side that now has a legitimate claim at an NFC East divisional crown.
Robert Griffin III has taken the league by storm in his first few weeks in the NFL, and though he’s had some subpar games, they’ve been few and far between. In most cases, the learning curve is steep for fresh quarterbacks from college, but Griffin has fit in just fine in Washington. His team’s massive game against the Cowboys will take on extra significance for the former Baylor Bear, as he makes his return to his home state of Texas. If anyone knows how big this game is, it’s RG3, and expect a great performance from the Texas native on Thursday. Washington is riding a wave of momentum, fresh off dismantling a pathetic Eagles squad, and will look to bring that confidence into Cowboys Stadium. They sit at 4-6 entering this contest, and a win here would give this young team reasonable hope for a playoff position. As far as injuries go, Brandon Meriweather was hurt last week in his return to the line-up and is now lost for the season. Linebacker London Fletcher remains highly doubtful, but with Pierre Garcon back in the fold on offense, it should help alleviate the burden.
Meanwhile, in Cowboys’ camp they’re just thankful they found a way to avert disaster last week against the Browns. Dallas overcame a big hole in the second half to secure an overtime win against a poor Cleveland squad, and now have their sights set on capturing a weak NFC East division. There should be no letdown in Dallas as they take on the prolific rookie RG3, but it will be interesting to see if they can shut down his unique talent. Dallas has had trouble in the past stopping players with that skill-set, and with Sean Lee lost for the season, their defense seems a tad suspect. Add in the fact that Phil Costa, Kyle Ogletree, and DeMarco Murray all likely out, and this will be no cakewalk for an inconsistent Dallas squad. Dallas is 6-0 though against the Redskins on Thanksgiving Day, and a win Thursday afternoon could propel this Cowboys team onto great things for the remainder of the season.
Redskins vs. Cowboys Betting Odds:
Washington Redskins +3.5 (-115)
@ Dallas Cowboys -3.5 (-105)
Over 48 (-110)
Under 48 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Redskins vs. Cowboys Pick:
Much hype will be made in the lead-up to this game about RG3’s return to his home state to take on the famed Dallas Cowboys franchise. And frankly, that’s alright. Robert Griffin III thrives when the spotlight is on him, and count on him doing it again on football’s grandest stage on Thursday afternoon. Wednesday night, RG3 tweeted that he was on a mission. This is no normal game for Griffin and his Redskins, their motivation will be sky-high and look for a very inspired outing from a Washington group riding a ton of momentum.
Look for RG3 to be the best player on the field, and despite all the attention and preparation Rob Ryan’s defense will do for him, the Redskins will have no difficulty moving the chains on Thursday. With Pierre Garcon getting more and more comfortable coming back from injury, look for that connection be crisp against the Cowboys’ defense. Dallas has however been stout against the run this season, so look for RG3 to come up huge with his feet. The Cowboys have struggled against quarterbacks like Griffin, most notably Cam Newton. RG3 thrives on play-action passes, and if can elude the defensive line and get running room outside the pocket, look out.
On the Dallas side, though they’re going against a suspect Redskins’ defense devoid of Brandon Meriweather, it’s incredibly tough to trust Tony Romo and their wildly inconsistent offense. Dallas has huge issues at the moment on their offensive line, and Washington in recent weeks has created trouble for their opposition through the usage of stunt plays at the line of scrimmage. Expect Romo to be under pressure a lot, and Washington to turn in a stellar outing on defense.
The victor of this game is truly up in the air. The Cowboys’ have been inconsistent this year though and can’t be trusted. Washington is trending up and with a quarterback who is certain to shine on this stage, it’s tough to go against him. While RG3 may not have the supporting cast to pull off the upset win, he’s got the talent to get a cover. So with the ‘Skins getting 3.5 points in this spot, it’s tough to go against the leading rookie of the year candidate, Robert Griffin III.
PICK = Redskins +3.5 (-115)