Redskins vs. Cowboys 2012 game preview: Two rivals meet once again

Rob Carr

Robert Griffin and Tony Romo meet for the first time on Thanksgiving Day.

On Thanksgiving Day, the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys will clash in an all-important NFC East showdown in Cowboys Stadium.

It will be the first meeting between the two teams this season, and it couldn't come at a more important time. Both teams are trailing the 6-4 New York Giants, but have legitimate chances at catching the defending champions.

Dallas is 5-5 and riding a two-game win streak. On the other sideline, the Redskins are 4-6 but feeling good after pummeling the Philadelphia Eagles, 31-6, last weekend. Whoever wins will be in second place and within serious striking distance of the Giants.

Meet the Dallas Cowboys

Dallas is consistently inconsistent. Many people lay that at the feet of Jason Garrett and Tony Romo. Those people are correct.

Romo can be a wonderful quarterback at times, but he also makes some of the worst decisions in football. It's maddening if you're a Cowboys fan, wondering which guy is going to show up on a weekly basis.

Unfortunately for the Dallas faithful, not much guessing needs to be done when it comes to how Garrett will coach. Despite having prolific playmakers on both sides of the ball, Garrett always gets conservative in the big moments, often leading to his team's mental paralysis.

Meet the Washington Redskins

The Redskins are a team that is on the rise. It may be another year or so before Washington is a legitimate playoff contender, but without question the arrow is pointed up.

Mike Shanahan isn't a great coach by any stretch despite his jewelry, but he's effectively putting Robert Griffin III in good situations. Griffin has been everything the Redskins were hoping for, but he still needs some help around him.

Washington is somewhat similar to Dallas in the respect it could lose to anybody, but also beat anybody on a given day. Once this young team adds a few pieces on offense and learns how to win, it'll be very tough to beat.

Local Takes: Dallas Cowboys

Tom Ryle from Blogging the Boys says this about Jerry Jones calling Doug Free's second half performance last week "stellar":

I don't want to use the word delusional. But it is hard not to. At best, Free may have been less horrible toward the end of the game, but even that is questionable. Stellar? Stellar?? I want bring in Jim Mora to do a Coors Light commercial based on that. Doug Free had a terrible game, and would almost certainly be the consensus choice for the biggest problem the Cowboys have to fix if they are to have a chance of keeping up with Bob Griffin and company on Thanksgiving, as well as keeping Romo healthy for the rest of the season.

Local Takes: Washington Redskins

Mackenzie Rivers from Hogs Haven says this about the importance of Santana Moss:

He makes big plays. I don't have his stats in front of me, but I would imagine that of the 37 third downs the Redskins have converted so far this season, Moss has accounted for about 15 of them: including three of those for touchdowns, and two that were 50 yard+ bombs.

Follow the Fun

Be sure to check out SB Nation's team blogs, Blogging The Boys and Hogs Haven, for more analysis and highlights from the game.

Add these fine follows to your Twitter timeline:

@BloggingTheBoys

@HogsHaven

@RainerSabin

@MikeJonesWaPo

Prediction

The Cowboys are expected to win this game and make a push for the NFC East, which is why they'll lose. Dallas always comes up small in big spots, and what could be bigger than a Thanksgiving Day game against the Redskins? It's also hard to imagine Jason Garrett out-coaching Mike Shanahan, even if the two-time Super Bowl champion isn't all he's cracked up to be at times.

All in all, Dallas just makes too many ridiculous errors to beat good teams, which is what Washington is quickly becoming. Robert Griffin III is tough to handle, especially if you haven't seen him before.

The biggest key will be the Cowboys O-Line, which has been brutal to watch. Washington is strong up front, and that'll be the ultimate difference.

The pick: 27-21, Redskins

Odds

The Cowboys are favored by 3 points at home over Washington, according to oddsshark.com.

Next Week

Dallas will host the Philadephia Eagles on Sunday night, while the Redskins see the Giants come to town on Monday evening.

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