Washington and Dallas meet for the 10th time on Thanksgiving, with the winner taking over sole possession of first place in the NFC East, at least until Sunday. Washington is looking to complete a season sweep of the Cowboys for the first time since 2012, which was also the only year the burgundy and gold defeated Dallas on Turkey Day.
Washington eclipsed 100 yards rushing as a team for only the third time this season in Sunday’s 20-9 win over the Cincinnati Bengals and now gets to face the NFL’s 31st-ranked rushing defense, which is allowing more than 150 yards on the ground per game. Washington rookie running back Antonio Gibson, who scored his eighth touchdown of the season against the Bengals, had a career-high 128 yards rushing on 20 carries in Washington’s 25-3 rout of the Cowboys in October at FedEx Field.
Alex Smith could be primed for a big day as well, as Dallas has allowed an NFL-high 24 passing touchdowns this season.
Cowboys quarterback Andy Dalton was knocked out of the teams’s first meeting after taking an illegal hit from linebacker Jon Bostic and missed Dallas’s next two games. He returned to the lineup on Sunday against the Vikings, throwing for 203 yards and three touchdowns while leading the Cowboys to a comeback win. After Dalton and rookie Ben DiNucci were sacked a combined six times against Washington in October, look for Dallas to lean more heavily on running back Ezekiel Elliott, who managed only 45 yards on 12 carries in that game.
Washington owner Daniel Snyder and his wife, Tanya, and Washington team president Jason Wright did not make the trip to Thursday’s game after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.
The Cowboys are mourning the loss of strength and conditioning coach Markus Paul, who died Wednesday, one day after experiencing a medical emergency at the team’s facility.