Robert Griffin III has been selected to the pro bowl in his first year in the league and has been playing very efficient football all year. When RG3 plays the Redskins win or lose based on how accurate he is with the football and this will be a highly valued part of his game against a red hot Tony Romo. Griffin in Redskins victories has completed over 70% of his passes to go along with 15 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions. Being accurate on third down keeping Romo and company on the sidelines will be a key component for RG3 leading Washington to its first division title since 1999.
Quietly Tony Romo is playing some of the best football of his career and in the NFL during the month of December. Romo is completing 65% which is average for him however taking care of the football appears to be more of a priority these days. During December Romo has thrown 10 touchdowns to just one interception. Romo needs some help from the Dallas defense after putting up over four hundred yards and four touchdowns against New Orleans only to lose to the Saints 34-31 in overtime. Granted Romo critics will say he had a drive in overtime to win it and choked instead of leading he Cowboys down the field, and honestly I cannot argue against the fact Romo has come up short in big moments.
The point for tonight is the Dallas Cowboys is a team where I once saw Deion Sanders come back from a concussion to return a 70 yard punt return on the Redskins in the fourth quarter so if there is one guy who gets a little nervous against Dallas especially with the NFC Title on the line its me! I mean the man left basically on a stretcher to return and send the Redskins packing. Ironically this game occurred in 1999 the last time Washington won an NFC East title.
In a game featuring two quarterbacks that are playing at a high level there are several other keys to the game that could end up impacting the outcome. There are several questions I have outside the quarterback play that I will be looking forward to seeing unfold.
Will Demarcus Ware play for the Cowboys and how effective can he be after being out weeks with an injured shoulder? An injury to an upper extremity is difficult for any football player, but for a pass rusher you might as well be playing with one arm. The Redskins also run so many option type looks with their zone blocking scheme that I would imagine Kyle Shanahan will go right at Ware in the running game to test how effective he will be.
How will the Redskins account for Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten in Blitz packages?
On Thanksgiving day Witten caught 9 passes for 74 yards and his longest pass was 15 yards. Where Witten is helpful to Romo is those short yardage third downs when teams try to apply quick pressure on the quarterback. Where I see teams getting in trouble with Witten are times when he is allowed a free release off the line of scrimmage. He and Romo have such great timing that you cannot allow him to to just run straight down the field, but you have to have a strong enough defender to impact him at the line. London Fletcher has the strength, but when they move into open space Witten has the advantage. Look for Washington to jam Witten and provide over the top help with a safety or nickleback. Witten will go over 1000 yards for the season this game and is the Redskins can hold him under 80 yards that will be considered a win in this match up.
Can Washington's secondary contain Dez Bryant?
In the last meeting Bryant had 145 yards and two touchdown in Dallas, but the talented wide receiver has games where he disappears. It is important for Washington to bump him and play as physical as they can at the line to keep him from being comfortable in the passing game. Even though the Redskins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett loves to bring pressure mixing the coverages with different zone looks can confuse Bryant.
Will the Redskins be able to pressure Tony Romo?
The Redskins love to bring pressure, but they are the third worst team against the pass. When watching the Redskins blitz it will be important to see if they are getting to Romo with hits or forcing him to throw earlier than he wants to. Blitzing without getting to the quarterback makes you more vulnerable to deep passes. This will be a area to keep an eye on as the game develops.
The Redskins control their playoff fate and winning the NFC East while sending the Cowboys home the winter is a script written perfectly for our nations capital.
Catch me on twitter at @mandmsportshow and send me your thoughts in 140 characters or less.