KICKOFF: Monday, 9:00 ET
TV: ABC, Al Michaels, John Madden, Michele Tafoya
SERIES: 89th meeting. Cowboys lead series 54-32-2 including 14 victories in
the past 15 meetings and nine straight triumphs in Dallas. The most historic
meeting between the teams was Washington's 26-3 victory over defending
champion Dallas at home in the 1972 NFC Championship Game which sent the
Redskins to their first Super Bowl.
2005 rankings: Redskins: offense 16th (4th rush, 27th pass); defense 2nd
(4th rush, 3rd pass). Cowboys: offense 22nd (12th rush, 20th pass); defense
8th (20th rush, 10th pass)
PREDICTION: Cowboys 17-13
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Redskins brought in speedy WRs Santana Moss and David
Patten in an effort to stretch the field vertically, then switched to
soft-armed 35-year-old QB Mark Brunell following their first game. The
Cowboys know they will get a heavy dose of RB Clinton Portis early on, and
if their new 3-4 defense is up to the test, they will be in good shape
defensively. The bigger question is on offense, where QB Drew Bledsoe will
face many more looks and blitz packages than he did against San Diego.
Dallas will always look to pound away with RB Julius Jones to set up the
play-action pass. If the Redskins can stop Jones and get after Bledsoe, they
just might be able to produce the multiple turnovers they will need to
provide their offense with short fields.
FAST FACTS: Redskins: Are 24-28 (.462) overall on Monday nights and have
lost their past four. ... Will travel 15,275 air miles this season, 22nd in
the NFL. Cowboys: QB Drew Bledsoe has been sacked 406 times in his career.
... Have won eight of their past 11 and are 24-9 (.727) overall in home
openers. ... Are 38-27 (.585) on Monday nights.
PERSONNEL NEWS: Redskins:
--SS Ryan Clark, who missed all last week after re-spraining his left
knee in the Sept. 1 preseason finale at Baltimore, participated in a third
straight practice and was upgraded from questionable to probable.
--OLB Chris Clemons, who missed all last week after straining a hamstring
against the Ravens, participated in a third straight practice and was
upgraded from questionable to probable.
--RT Jon Jansen, who broke his left thumb in practice on Sept. 5 and his
right one in last Sunday's victory against Chicago, participated in a third
straight practice with two casts and was upgraded from questionable to
--K John Hall, who pulled a quadriceps on his last kickoff against the
Bears, missed a third straight practice and will likely be replaced in
Dallas on Monday by rookie Nick Novak, who signed two days ago.
--QB Mark Brunell will start for the first time since last Nov. 14.
Brunell replaced the injured Patrick Ramsey during the second quarter last
Sunday and was awarded the job the next day even though Ramsey is healthy.
--LB Kevin Burnett, who has knee surgery last Friday, practiced Wednesday
and Thursday and is listed as questionable for Monday night's game against
--RB Marion Barber been identified as the biggest problem with the team's
kickoff coverage against the Chargers. On two occasions, Barber was not only
blocked out of his lane but he also took out two other Cowboys defenders.
--FS Keith Davis will resume his duties on kickoff coverage. Davis, the
Cowboys' best special teams player last season, was taken off kickoff
coverage when he won the starting safety job. Problems with coverage
dictated his return, coach Bill Parcells said.
--QB Drew Bledsoe wasn't perfect against the Chargers even though he
looked it. He completed 18 of 24 passes for 226 yards and three touchdowns.
He was sacked four times and had two fumbles. The latter categories will be
big problems against a blitz-happy Redskins defense which will almost
certainly have more success getting to the quarterback than the Chargers.
--LB Kalen Thornton and S Justin Beriault each underwent microfracture
knee surgery on Tuesday. Both players were already on the injured reserve
INSIDE THE CAMPS:
Considering they're playing a team that matched their 6-10 record last
year and their narrow victory in this year's opener, the Redskins face
amazingly long odds Monday night in Dallas.
Consider: Washington has lost 14 of the past 15 meetings, winning only
the 2002 finale in beloved cornerback Darrell Green's farewell to the
Redskins after 20 seasons.
Consider: Only 10 Redskins, including just four starters -- tackles Jon
Jansen and Chris Samuels, defensive end Renaldo Wynn and linebacker Lemar
Marshall -- have ever beaten the Cowboys while wearing burgundy and gold.
Consider: The Redskins have lost nine straight seasons at Texas Stadium,
including the deflating, last-minute 13-10 loss last Dec. 26 on a bomb from
the soon-to-be-retired Vinny Testaverde to then-unknown rookie wideout
Consider: Joe Gibbs is 13-13 against Dallas, but just 5-7 at Texas
Consider: Gibbs is 147-75 but is just 6-13 against Bill Parcells. And
Tuna has won their past eight matchups dating to 1988.
Consider: Starting with the night that Lawrence Taylor ended Joe
Theismann's career with a broken leg on Monday Night Football in 1985 and
Jay Schroeder brought the Redskins back to win, Gibbs is 2-11 against
Parcells. Both victories came in 1987, one in a strike game.
Consider: The Redskins are 0-4 on MNF since the Bush-Gore election was
still in doubt. Gibbs is 9-14 on MNF.
Conclusion: Bet the Cowboys.
After sitting out last week's game against the Chargers, Cowboys wide
receiver Peerless Price is ready to play.
"I'm picking up the offense very quickly, just waiting for the
opportunity to get out there and make some plays," said Price, who signed
with the Cowboys Sept. 4.
The problem is the Cowboys are struggling to figure out how to use him.
Coach Bill Parcells said he doesn't know the player yet. And he's
hesitant about making Price active in place of receiver Terrence Copper
because he doesn't want to sacrifice anything on special teams.
What is certain is that, despite Price's $1.8 million salary in 2005, he
will not supplant top three receivers Keyshawn Johnson, Terry Glenn and
"I really don't know how this is going to play out," Parcells said. "What
I do know is that I have to have somebody to cover kickoffs. That's
If Parcells kept all five receivers active it would wreak havoc with his
45-man roster for game day, causing him go light somewhere else.
Owner Jerry Jones said he paid a price to get Price and would like to get
a return on his investment.
"There's no doubt he can get open, make plays and help us win," Jones
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