The Cowboys vs. Redskins clash on Sunday afternoon sets up as an unusually important game for one that falls so early on the schedule.
Especially for the Cowboys.
Dallas has lost on the road every odd week, beginning with the season-opener at Carolina. Reversing that trend would boost the Cowboys into the lead in the NFC East going into their bye week. That would give Dallas a chance to heal up some week-to-week injuries — most notably to defensive end Demarcus Lawrence and cornerback Chidobe Awuzie — as they head into November.
However, a loss could dump Dallas into third place in the NFC East with a couple of weeks for the bad vibes to fester.
But most of all, the Cowboys need to use the momentum they created with a 40-7 blasting of Jacksonville on Sunday.
“The mentality we played with, the spirit we played with, the physical-ness and certainly the execution in all phases is what you want to accomplish week in and week out regardless of what the opponent is,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said during his Wednesday press conference.
Dallas found its rhythm on offense versus the Jaguars. Running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 106 yards and a touchdown and quarterback Dak Prescott found wide receiver Cole Beasley 9 times for 101 yards and 2 TDs.
But the Cowboys still rank 29th in the NFL in yards per game and they won’t convince their fans that they’re fine without Dez Bryant and Jason Witten until they can perform well in a win on the road.
And Garrett knows that.
“Obviously we did some good things, running the football and throwing the football,” Garrett said about Sunday’s win over Jacksonville. “We were able to move it throughout the game. We cashed in on drives. Those are all things you aspire to do regardless of where you’re playing.”