The Washington Commanders must quickly put a disappointing loss to the New York Giants behind them. The Commanders travel to Dallas to face the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day in a game where they are big underdogs.
Washington turned the ball over six times on Sunday and still had a chance to win late. However, much like the rest of the day, the Commanders turned the ball over, suffering an embarrassing loss to the Giants, starting an undrafted rookie at quarterback who they sacked nine times.
Now, the Commanders face the most challenging part of their schedule. Four of their remaining six games are against teams currently slated to be in the playoffs, including Dallas twice.
The Cowboys have an excellent team. Here are five players fans should focus on in Thursday’s matchup.
QB Dak Prescott
Dak Prescott is a lot like Kirk Cousins. No matter what he does, people find ways to criticize him. When, in actuality, both are good starting NFL quarterbacks. The Commanders dominated Prescott and the Cowboys in January in the final game of the 2022 season. Sure, people will say that game didn’t mean much, but Prescott had no answers for Washington’s defense.
A lot has changed. The Commanders are terrible defensively. And Prescott is having one of the best seasons of his eight-year career. Prescott has utilized his legs more this season, something Washington will need to account for on Thursday.
WR CeeDee Lamb
CeeDee Lamb is having his best NFL season in 2023. Lamb has 74 receptions for 1,013 yards on 95 targets. He has five receiving touchdowns. The Cowboys’ next closest receiver is tight end Jake Ferguson, who has 39 receptions and four touchdowns. Lamb has four games with over 100 yards receiving in 2023. Brandin Cooks (29 receptions) and Michael Gallup (27) are way behind Lamb among Dallas’ wideouts.
Lawrence is in his 10th NFL season and remains a force on the defensive line for the Cowboys. He is third on the team in sacks with four and has enjoyed success against Washington over the years. Lawrence has 9.5 career sacks vs. Washington, and the Commanders figure to have their hands full with Micah Parsons, Dorance Armstrong, Sam Williams and Lawrence.
LB Micah Parsons
What can be said about Micah Parsons that hasn’t already been said? He’s the most scary defender in the NFL. He already has 10 sacks, and with seven games remaining, he could easily surpass his career high of 13.5 set last season.
Parsons has 3.5 sacks vs. Washington in four games. For a team that has had issues protecting quarterback Sam Howell, seeing Parsons and the Cowboys’ other three talented pass rushers could be a nightmare scenario on Thanksgiving Day.
CB DaRon Bland
Second-year cornerback DaRon Bland is the Cowboys’ latest breakout star. Everyone panicked when Pro Bowl cornerback Trevon Diggs was lost for the season with a knee injury. Bland seized the opportunity and is tied for the NFL lead with six interceptions. Even more, Bland has returned four for touchdowns, which ties an NFL record. He has seven games to break the NFL record.