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Week 17 Preview: Cowboys at Redskins

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Dallas Cowboys (11-4) at Washington Redskins (4-11)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, at FedExField, Landover, Md. — TV: FOX

*TV announcers: Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch, Pam Oliver

*Keys to the game: With nothing to lose and little to gain unless the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers tie, the Cowboys might not use their lead charges for four quarters.

The Cowboys won 24-23 on this field last season but needed great efforts from RB DeMarco Murray and QB Tony Romo, who left the game with a back injury that required surgery. This season, Romo was re-injured against the Redskins in October, and resting him could be wise.

Murray, who has 11 100-yard games this season, needs just 29 yards to break Emmitt Smith’s single-season franchise record of 1,773, set in 1995. He could also stand a break as he approaches 400 carries in a contract year.

Washington is emboldened by last week’s win over the Eagles and the previous victory at Dallas. It might help sagging morale to put forth a strong showing and drop the division champs twice.

That means controlling the line of scrimmage, and the Redskins have not been able to master that aspect of the game. Too often QB Robert Griffin III is running for his life, unable to set and throw in a timing-based offense.

Griffin’s struggles don’t help Alfred Morris, but the running back does average 111 yards per game in five career meetings with the Cowboys.

*Matchup to watch — Cowboys CB Brandon Carr vs. Redskins WR DeSean Jackson: Jackson’s career-best effort (210 yards in 2010) and Redskins-best (6-136 in October) came against Dallas. Carr has been lit up when teams commit to attacking him.

*Player spotlight — Cowboys TE Jason Witten: One of two NFL tight ends with 10,000 career receiving yards, Witten is clicking with Romo at the right time, posting his only two seven-reception games of the season in the past two games.

*Fast facts: The Redskins (minus-9) and Cowboys (minus-8) are a combined minus-17 in turnover margin. … Romo has a passer rating of 110.2 or better in nine of 14 starts this season.

WHO WILL WIN AND WHY

If Jason Garrett doesn’t treat this game like a preseason contest, the Cowboys push into the playoffs with their sixth win in seven games, riding QB Tony Romo against Washington’s pliable defense.

*Our pick: Cowboys 24-20


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