The Washington Football Team returns to FedExField to face the division-leading Dallas Cowboys in the first of a five-game NFC East gauntlet to close out the regular season. Here are some players who could have pivotal roles in the Week 14 matchup.
Washington's go-to wide receiver has had another stellar year for the Burgundy & Gold, as he leads the team in touchdowns (his five are tied with Gibson) and the league in contested catches among receivers. His 808 receiving yards this season also ranks fourth among all third-year wideouts.
In the last two games against the Seahawks and Chargers, however, McLaurin has been targeted slightly less and put up fewer yards than he has on average throughout the season as Washington has pivoted focus to its run game a bit more, but McLaurin is always a threat to break off a big play, as he has been double- and triple-teamed on numerous plays.
Fans will remember though that the wide receiver tends to play well against Dallas. In his last two meetings against the Cowboys, McLaurin logged a combined 182 yards. One of those standout performances included a 52-yard touchdown in which he beat Dallas' Trevon Diggs -- the same player who will certainly be tasked with containing McLaurin on Sunday.
The Washington Football Team takes the field for its first practice of the week as it prepares for its Week 14 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys. (Photos by Emilee Fails/Washington Football Team)
The Offensive Line
Another consistent standout group for Washington since September? The offensive line. Despite a host of injuries, position coach John Matsko’s men have stood up to their tests week in and week out. The depth showcased has spanned as far down to rookie Keith Ismael who, on Nov. 29 against the Seahawks, proved he could hold his own as a starter even though he'd only ever played five pro snaps before that game.
There's no question that the offensive line's solid performances are a big reason behind the team's four-game win streak. Currently, the unit ranks top three in the league in run stop win rate (33%) and pass block win rate (67%) and first in the league in run block win rate (76%).
Ismael, Charles Leno, Ereck Flowers, Brandon Scherff and Cornelius Lucas will need to turn out another strong outing on Sunday as they face a Dallas defense highlighted by Micah Parson, who is a favorite to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
The sixth-year cornerback has been heating up for Washington in recent weeks as he's been moved out of the slot back to outside corner. Three of Fuller's team-leading 11 pass breakups came in the Monday night win against Seattle. In that game, he also intercepted the Seahawks two-point conversion attempt late in the second quarter. Against the Las Vegas Raiders this past weekend, he recorded a season-high eight solo tackles.
Fuller should be expected to play an important role this weekend as he'll spend some time guarding Dallas' top three receivers in Michael Gallup, CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper. The trio is key to a Dallas offense that currently tops the league in total yards per game (416.3) and ranks fourth in passing yards per game (287.3).