Cowboys-Redskins Preview & Prediction

The Cowboys are ranked fifth against the run, but that won't stop the Redskins from going to RB Clinton Portis early and often with the receiving corps severely banged up.

KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:15 ET

GAMEDATE: 11/18/07


TV: FOX, Joe Buck, Troy Aikman

SERIES: 95th meeting. Cowboys lead series, 55-37-2 (including Washington's victories in the 1972 and 1982 NFC Championship Games). The most shocking game came in 1987 when the Redskins' replacement team stunned the Cowboys, boasting such veterans as Randy White and Danny White, 13-7 in the final strike game at Texas Stadium.

PREDICTION: Cowboys 34-23

KEYS TO THE GAME: The Cowboys are ranked fifth against the run, but that won't stop the Redskins from going to RB Clinton Portis early and often with the receiving corps severely banged up. Portis has 333 yards the past two games, and must continue that production to control the clock and the crowd on the road against a superior opponent. ... If the Cowboys hit halftime with a lead, watch out. QB Tony Romo has a 141.0 passer rating in the third quarter and 101.0 in the fourth. Dallas will start off featuring the run and see how hurt Washington's run defense is without FS Sean Taylor. Taylor is also an enforcer in pass coverage who will be missed with Romo taking advantage to TE Jason Witten over the middle.

KEY INJURIES: Redskins: Taylor (knee sprain) is out at least two weeks; WRs Santana Moss (heel) and James Thrash (knee) are likely out; WR Brandon Lloyd (fractured clavicle) is out for the season. Cowboys: CB Anthony Henry (ankle) had a setback but is expected to play; LG Leonard Davis (leg) is uncertain after being injured in Wednesday's practice.

FAST FACTS: Redskins coach Joe Gibbs is 15-15 in his career against Dallas. ... The Cowboys have won 10 of the past 11 meetings in Dallas.

REDSKINS PERSONNEL NEWS: WR Brandon Lloyd was placed on injured reserve on Thursday after he fractured his right clavicle on Wednesday. The Redskins signed journeyman receiver Jimmy Farris to take his place.

--FS Sean Taylor is out at least two weeks with a sprained right knee. Pierson Prioleau will start in his place.

--WR Santana Moss didn't practice again after missing last week's game with a bruised heel but reported some improvement.

--WR James Thrash remained absent with the high left ankle sprain he suffered against the Eagles.

--LB Marcus Washington took his second straight full practice in a couple of weeks after missing the past two games with an ailing hamstring and should start for the first time since Oct. 7 against Detroit.

--G Pete Kendall returned after missing Wednesday's practice to rest a sore knee and ankle.

COWBOYS PERSONNEL NEWS: --LB Kevin Burnett was fined by the league for taunting in the Cowboys game against the Giants Sunday. Burnett received a 15-yard penalty during the game.

--G Leonard Davis was held out of practice after suffering a sprained ankle in practice on Wednesday. He did mostly rehab on Thursday and will hope to do some practice stuff on Friday. If he can't go, Corey Proctor will start.

--CB Anthony Henry practiced on Thursday after being held out of practice on Wednesday. Henry is still hobbled by a high ankle sprain. He will play only in nickel situations against the Redskins.

--WR Patrick Crayton has received criticism the past week for a few outlandish comments. Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said he has no problem with Crayton, on the field or off field. On the field he is having a breakout season with a career high five touchdown receptions.

"We all have our own feelings and we express them in different ways," Phillips said. "I feel like if he's saying something that would hurt our team I would talk to him more about that. He has his own feelings about certain things. I am not that controlling that I want him to say exactly what I want said for what the club wants said."

INSIDE THE REDSKINS CAMP: During the past 46 NFL drafts, the Washington Redskins have chosen only one quarterback with a higher pick than Jason Campbell. That was in 1994 when they took Heath Shuler third overall. Midway through his second season, it was clear that Shuler was a bust. He was gone after spending all but one play of the next year on the sideline.

However, Campbell, for whom the Redskins traded three picks to select 25th overall out of Auburn in 2005, is now entrenched as the starter in his third season. He just passed a major milestone, his 16th start, meaning he has spent a full year as the latest heir to Hall of Famers Sammy Baugh and Sonny Jurgensen.

It's hard to argue that not only was it a good trade, but that giving the job to Campbell last November after virtually giving away former starter Patrick Ramsey and benching faltering veteran Mark Brunell wasn't also the right move.

"Jason's been impressive," said Redskins coach Joe Gibbs, who coached Hall of Famer Dan Fouts in San Diego and Super Bowl winners Joe Theismann, Doug Williams and Mark Rypien in Washington. "I certainly like his work ethic. Normally, if you have the talent, what's inside will drive you. He has real character.

"The other thing about Jason, he's tough. (When) you're sitting in the pocket knowing you're going to be hit in the mouth ... Then you come to smarts. He's football-smart. Running the no-huddle, a guy who can handle that, it shows he knows what's going on. And then it comes to talent. Obviously he's got an arm. (And) he's still growing."

Campbell grew up some up more last Sunday against Philadelphia. Running the no-huddle offense and calling his own plays for the first time in an extended period, Campbell threw a career-high three touchdown passes and a 114.2 passer rating, his second-highest.

Teammates such as Pro Bowl offensive tackle Chris Samuels and Pro Bowl receiver Santana Moss rave about the laid-back Campbell's leadership and the strong arm that's part of a 6-foot-5, 230-pound body. Green Bay Pro Bowl cornerback Charles Woodson likes his poise.

"It seems like it's going by fast," said Campbell, who turns 26 on New Year's Eve. "It's been fun. I have learned a lot and I continue to learn a lot. I continue to try to grow and get better."

After 16 games -- seven without the expected right side of his line, another seven without his No. 1 running back and three without Moss, Campbell has been solid. Not Tony Romo, Tom Brady, or Ben Roethlisberger superb right from the get-go, but solid.

"I think Jason's going to be a great one," Samuels said. "He's a leader. The sky's the limit for Jason as long we do our jobs."

INSIDE THE COWBOYS CAMP: Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said he wasn't going to tolerate any more post-play penalties. The Cowboys were flagged for taunting and twice for unnecessary roughness against the Giants.

He said it was unacceptable, and Phillips plans on holding his players accountable for any future transgressions.

He had all the players and coaches sign a letter saying they would not commit any post-play penalties.

"I want their word that they're going to try to do the right thing, that's my feeling," Phillips said. "It may be silly. It may be whatever, but I was serious about it and I think I feel like I needed to do something they're going to respond to. And everybody saw that it cost us points, I mean gee.

And I'm not sure I had to do anything because we all saw it but I felt like I needed to do something."

Phillips takes it personally because he is getting criticized for his team's actions.

Critics are pointing to Phillips' laid back and fun atmosphere for the team's undisciplined ways. Phillips feels the lack of discipline isn't all about how relaxed things can be at practice, but letting players' exuberance during a game get the best of them.

"I didn't know we were going to be that emotionally charged that we would overdo it in a game," Phillips said. "But we were, and that's my fault. But I'm aware of it now."

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