This second of three Thanksgiving Day matchups features an exciting NFC East battle between the first place Washington Redskins and second fiddle Dallas Cowboys as they fight to lead their division at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX on Thursday, November 22 at 4:30 pm, broadcasted by FOX.

The 6-4 Washington Redskins:

Week 11 was disappointing to the 6-4 Washington Redskins for two major reasons – one because they lost to the Houston Texans in a lead changing last minute nail biter, 21-23, and two because the quarterback they went all-in on this offseason, Alix Smith, broke two bones in his right ankle (fibula and tibia) during a third-quarter sack.

For now the Redskins will make due with veteran backup Colt McCoy, but several quarterbacks will be brought in for a tryout, including EJ Manuel, T.J. Yates, Mark Sanchez, Kellen Clemens and Josh Johnson.

Washington is 3-1 on the road and 2-0 in their division, but without their starting quarterback, they are the heavy underdog in this NFC East matchup.

The 5-5 Dallas Cowboys:

Fresh off a heart-stopping fourth quarter 22-19 win over the Atlanta Falcons in Week 11, the 5-5 Dallas Cowboys are trying to regain control of their runaway season.

Facing a Redskins team that is without their starting quarterback while in front of a Texas home crowd definitely favors the Cowboys who have won two in a row now.

The Cowboys are 3-1 at home and 2-1 against teams in their division, but are heavily favored in this one given the chaotic whirlwind that is the Redskins current quarterback situation.

What’s at stake:

These two teams have met 117 times (including 2 postseason games), with Dallas winning 70 games and Washington winning 45 games. The Redskins won the most recent meeting this season in Week 7, but the Cowboys have won four-in-a-row prior to that.

If the Redskins win this matchup, they’ll move to 7-4 and two games ahead of the Cowboys in the NFC East.

But if the Cowboys come out on top, they’ll be 6-5 and tied for first place with the Redskins in the NFC East, both still a game ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Questions to answer…

Who’s favored to win this Week 12 Redskins-Cowboys matchup?

Which team has a better offense? Defense? Special teams?

Which team’s quarterback is more likely to lead his team to victory?

We’re going to compare the Redskins and the Cowboys and attempt to answer those questions and more.

The 2018 Redskins offense must reboot

While injured quarterback Alix Smith is having surgery on his leg, backup Colt McCoy will hold the fort and do his best to stall until more long-term plans can be made.

 Against the Texans, McCoy threw 6-for-12 for 54 yards and a touchdown while running the ball 5 times for 35 yards.

With the short week before the Thanksgiving game, chances are McCoy will be named as the starter against the Cowboys and after that at least until any new quarterbacks hired can learn the Redskins play book.

Redskins best receivers aren’t their receivers

Washington’s wide receiving corps ranks 22nd in total catches (211) this season, however tight end Jordan Reed has the most catches (44) and running back Chris Thompson is second most (28) behind him.  

Ranked third and fourth in Redskin receptions are receivers Maurice Harris (27 catches) and Josh Doctson (26).

Adrian Peterson can still ball

33-year-old Redskin running back Adrian Peterson is still in game-day shape putting up big league numbers, having rushed 171 times for 723 yards and 6 touchdowns while catching 14 passes for 168 yards and a touchdown.

Peterson is currently ranked 7th in the league for total rushing yards with 723, averaging 4.2 yards per carry.

Washington offensive Injuries

Running backs Samaje Perine (calf) and Chris Thompson (ribs) and receiver Jamison Crowder (ankle) were all out for Week 11 and are listed as questionable for Week 12.

Tackle Trent Williams (thumb) is listed as questionable.

The 2018 Cowboys offense struggling, ranked 27th

Given who the Cowboys have on their offense, it’s incredible that they aren’t ranked higher than 27th overall, but quarterback Dak Prescott’s passing attack is currently ranked 28th while Ezekiel Elliott’s running game is ranked a much more respectable 4th.

Not difficult to figure out that the receiving corps are not doing their jobs.

Veteran slot receiver Cole Beasley, recently acquired Amari Cooper and rookie third-round draft pick Michael Gallup are doing their best to fill the giant offensive hole left long ago by star receiver Dez Bryant.

Elliott second only to Gurley

Watching Dallas running back Ezekial Elliott is worth the price of admission alone, having accumulated 953 yards on the ground and five touchdowns, second only to Los Angeles Rams Todd Gurley, who has 988 yards himself.

Elliott, also a proven dual threat, has caught 42 balls for 341 yards and 2 touchdowns with a catching percentage of 75.0.

Dallas offensive Injuries

Wide receiver Tavon Austin (groin) was out for Week 11 and is listed as questionable for Week 12.

Redskins Defense ranks 16th in the league

Washington’s defense allows opponents to score an average of 19.8 points and advance the ball a total of 356.9 yards per game, putting them smack dab in the middle of the league.

They are ranked 24th against the pass but are 6th against the run, and they allow opponents to convert 43.2 percent of their third-downs (26th best). 

Redskins Defensive Players to watch:

Inside linebacker Mason Foster has had 89 combined tackles, currently tied for 2nd most in the NFL, and he’s had 2 fumble recoveries, 2 passes defended and an interception.

Defensive end Matthew Ioannidis has 7.5 sacks and outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan has 6.5 sacks.

Cornerback Quinton Dunbar (shin) was out for Week 11 and is questionable for Week 12.

Free safety D.J. Swearinger has 4 interceptions, tied for second most in the league.

Cowboys Defense is 8th overall

Opponents of the Cowboys put up an average score of 19 points and move the ball 331.1 total yards per game.

Dallas is ranked 11th against the pass and 5th against the rush but they allow opponents to convert on 44.6 percent of their third downs, ranked 29th in that category.

Cowboys Defensive Players to watch:

Definitely check out rookie outside linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, the first round draft pick who’s tied for the fifth most combined tackles with 84, and who’s also intercepted 2 passes and defended 6, plus he has a quarterback hit.

Defensive end Demarcus Lawrence has had 8.0 sacks all by himself (T-12th most) and he’s had 43 combined tackles (13 for loss), 14 quarterback hits, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Defensive tackle Daniel Ross (calf), defensive end Taco Charlton (shoulder), defensive tackle David Irving (ankle) and linebacker Sean Lee (hamstring) were all out for Week 11 and listed as questionable for Week 12.

Special Teams Stats Comparison

Punters:

Washington’s punter, Tress Way, in his 5th season, all with the Redskins, has punted 47 times for a net average of 40.7 yards per punt, ranked 11th in the NFL.

Dallas’s punter, Chris Jones, has been in the league and with the Cowboys since 2011.

So far, Jones has punted 40 times for a net average of 38.9 yards per punt, ranked 21st in the league.

Placekickers:

Washington’s placekicker, Dustin Hopkins, in his 5th NFL season (his fourth with the Redskins), is 17-for-20, his longest has been a 56-yarder.

He hasn’t missed any extra point attempts (20/20).

Dallas’s newest placekicker, Brett Maher, got hired after the surprising release of veteran Dan Bailey.

Maher is 21-for-25, his longest a 55-yarder.

He has missed one extra point attempt (18/19), and Maher kicked a game winning 42-yard field goal against the Falcons in Week 11.

Punt Returners:

Washington’s punt returner, Greg Stroman, is ranked 50th in the league in return average.

He’s returned 5 punts for 28 yards and no touchdowns, averaging 5.6 yards per return, his longest for 10 yards.

Dallas’s punt returner, wide receiver Cole Beasley, is ranked 61st in the league in return average.

He’s returned 6 punts for 24 yards and no touchdowns, averaging 4.0 yards per return, his longest for 7 yards.

Redskins–Cowboys prediction and odds

The oddsmakers have the Cowboys favored over the Redskins by 7.5 with an over/under of 40.5.

CBSSports.com has this final score prediction:

John Breech takes the under and predicts it Cowboys 23, Redskins 16

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