The legacy of Jason Garrett’s nine-plus seasons coaching the Dallas Cowboys might be different if he can somehow get them into the playoffs. A victory over the Washington Redskins Sunday and some help from the New York Giants would make Dallas the NFC East champions.
How to Watch
When: Sunday, Dec. 29
Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
Live Stream: fuboTV (try for free)
Considered one of the teams to beat in the NFC in the preseason, the Cowboys (7-8) have been in a death spiral for the past month-plus, losing four of their last five games to drop one game behind Philadelphia after a 17-9 loss to the Eagles last Sunday. As the losses have mounted, so too has the scrutiny around Garrett, who has reached the playoffs just three times in his eight full seasons in charge and has yet to get Dallas into the conference title game.
While owner Jerry Jones has shown patience in not publicly saying Garrett’s job is at stake after each defeat, it is increasingly clear that a failure to reach the postseason will likely end up in the Cowboys making a coaching change. The only way Dallas can win the NFC East is with a victory and a loss by the Eagles to the Giants, which would give the Cowboys the division by virtue of a better record against their NFC East foes.
After erupting for a season-high 44 points in beating the Rams in Week 15, the Cowboys struggled on offense, as they were limited to three Kai Forbath field goals. Dallas finished with 311 yards, and running back Ezekiel Elliott was bottled up -- finishing with 47 yards on 13 carries.
Dak Prescott appeared out of rhythm with his receivers all game long, missing some passes and having other dropped. He threw for 265 yards, but had no touchdowns and only reached the Eagles’ 23-yard line on the final potential game-tying drive. Prescott, who is dealing with an injured right shoulder that forced him to miss practice Wednesday, has a chance to set the club’s single-season yardage record, needing 305 yards to surpass Tony Romo’s mark of 4,903 set in 2012.
The Redskins (3-12) are assured of finishing last in the NFC East regardless of the outcome of this game after a 41-35 overtime loss to the Giants completed a sweep of the season series. Washington did gain the inside track to the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 draft, but that is little solace to a team entering the season finale looking to avoid a 10th-consecutive division loss dating back to last season.
Redskins rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins was tracking to have his best game of the season, completing 12 of 15 passes for 133 yards and a pair of touchdowns before suffering a high ankle sprain in the second quarter. Interim coach Bill Callahan has ruled Haskins out for this contest, with Case Keenum getting the start. Keenum also played well in the defeat, going 16 for 22 for 158 yards and a touchdown.
However, Washington’s defense has not been up to snuff, as it has been torched for 1,308 yards, while giving up 98 points during its current three-game losing streak. The Redskins have finished 3-13 on two other occasions in franchise history -- 1994 and 2013.
Prescott and Elliott carried Dallas to a 31-21 win at Washington in Week 2, with Prescott throwing for 269 yards and three touchdowns, while Elliott added 111 rushing yards and a score. The Cowboys have won three straight at home and six of the last seven meetings between the teams as they try to sweep the season series for the third time in four seasons.