- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 22, 2009

REDSKINS STARTERS

Offense

WR 89 Santana Moss

LT 76 Levi Jones

LG 66 Derrick Dockery

C 61 Casey Rabach

RG 75 Chad Rinehart

RT 74 Stephon Heyer

TE 86 Fred Davis

WR 11 Devin Thomas

QB 17 Jason Campbell

RB 46 Ladell Betts

FB 45 Mike Sellers

Defense

DE 93 Phillip Daniels

DT 96 Cornelius Griffin

DT 92 Albert Haynesworth

DE 99 Andre Carter

OLB 52 Rocky McIntosh

MLB 59 London Fletcher

OLB 98 Brian Orakpo

CB 22 Carlos Rogers

CB 23 DeAngelo Hall

SS 37 Reed Doughty

FS 30 LaRon Landry

Specialists

K 6 Shaun Suisham

P 3 Hunter Smith

PR 82 Antwaan Randle El

KR 31 Rock Cartwright

Injuries

Out: TE Chris Cooley (ankle), RB Clinton Portis (concussion), TE Eddie Williams (ankle)

Questionable: DT Albert Haynesworth (ankle), T Stephon Heyer (knee), T Mike Williams (ankle)

Probable: RB Ladell Betts (ankle)

COWBOYS STARTERS

Offense

WR 11 Roy Williams

OT 76 Flozell Adams

G 63 Kyle Kosier

C 65 Andre Gurode

RG 70 Leonard Davis

RT 68 Doug Free

TE 82 Jason Witten

WR 19 Miles Austin

QB 9 Tony Romo

RB 24 Marion Barber

FB 34 Deon Anderson

Defense

LE 96 Marcus Spears

NT 90 Jay Ratliff

RE 99 Igor Olshansky

OLB 92 Anthony Spencer

MLB 56 Bradie James

MLB 51 Keith Brooking

OLB 94 DeMarcus Ware

CB 41 Terence Newman

CB 21 Mike Jenkins

SS 43 Gerald Sensabaugh

FS 20 Alan Ball

Specialists

K 6 Nick Folk

P 1 Mat McBriar

PR 84 Patrick Crayton

KR 28 Felix Jones

Injuries

Out: T Marc Colombo (ankle), S Ken Hamlin (ankle), CB Allen Rossum (hamstring).

Probable: RB Marion Barber (thumb), K David Buehler (right toe), CB Mike Jenkins (elbow), S Gerald Sensabaugh (thumb), LB DeMarcus Ware (foot).

KEY MATCHUP

Redskins LT Levi Jones vs. Cowboys OLB DeMarcus Ware

He was overshadowed by the gutty performance by super-sub running back Ladell Betts and the flashy fake field goal touchdown pass from Hunter Smith to Mike Sellers, but Jones was one of the heroes of last week’s 27-17 upset of the Denver Broncos.

In his first start for Washington and his most extensive action in a year, the 30-year-old former Cincinnati Bengals starter was critical to the line not allowing a sack during the first half and keeping NFL sacks leader Elvis Dumervil off quarterback Jason Campbell until an inconsequential sack with 8:57 left.

Jones faces an even bigger test in Ware, who had a Cowboys-record 20 sacks in 2008 and has 60.5 in his 73 career starts, including seven in nine games this year. Ware had a sack, three hurries and a tackle for loss when Dallas beat Cincinnati in October 2008. Jones was playing with an injured hamstring that ended his season in November and required offseason surgery.

If Jones can mostly handle Ware one-on-one, not only will Campbell have more time to throw, but the backs and tight ends also can focus on running routes, not blocking.

THREE KEYS

Pressure Romo

Green Bay blitzed Tony Romo like crazy last week, sacking him five times and forcing him to cough up two turnovers in a 17-7 Packers upset. The Redskins’ pass rush already has matched last season’s 24 sacks. Andre Carter and Brian Orakpo, who have 15 sacks between them, need to disrupt Romo’s rhythm early and often.

Limit the big plays

Washington’s fifth-ranked defense was burned for seven big plays the past three games by Philadelphia’s DeSean Jackson, Atlanta’s Michael Turner and Denver’s Brandon Marshall. The Redskins need to put a stop to this ugly trend because Dallas has probably the league’s deepest big-play arsenal, led by Miles Austin.

The first quarter

The Redskins have played catch-up almost every week, having been outscored 59-17 in the first quarter. The Cowboys have outscored their foes 37-20 in the first quarter and will aim to start hot after last week’s poor performance at Green Bay. The visitors will be in big trouble if they have to overcome a sizable deficit.

THE EDGE

WHEN THE REDSKINS HAVE THE BALL

Last week, Washington finally rediscovered the power running game that had been AWOL for a year, grinding out 174 yards on 40 carries in a 27-17 upset of AFC West leader Denver. For the short term at least, the Redskins’ offense appears better with Ladell Betts filling in for injured longtime No. 1 back Clinton Portis. The rushing attack and much improved pass protection - with Levi Jones making his first start at left tackle - gave Jason Campbell time to spread the ball to nine receivers. While the Broncos came in with the third-ranked defense, the Cowboys are proven on that side of the ball with such elite performers as nose tackle Jay Ratliff, outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware and cornerback Terence Newman. Dallas has forced only 11 turnovers and has allowed a decent amount of yardage, if not many points.

Edge: Cowboys

WHEN THE COWBOYS HAVE THE BALL

Tony Romo has had a top-10 passer rating each of his three years as Dallas’ starter, but he’s just 2-3 against Washington in part because of the kind of key mistakes he’s become infamous for in big games. But despite the departure of Terrell Owens, Romo has never had so many weapons: Miles Austin, Felix Jones, Roy Williams, Marion Barber, Patrick Crayton and Tashard Choice all have made plays of at least 35 yards. Giving up big plays has been a big problem for the Redskins of late, and they’ve struggled to stop the run, an area in which Dallas excels. However, Washington’s top-ranked pass defense has produced 20 sacks the last six games and faces a Dallas line that allowed five sacks last week and has lost right tackle Marc Colombo for the year. The Redskins have forced only 10 turnovers.

Edge: Cowboys

SPECIAL TEAMS

Washington’s coverage units, led by H.B. Blades, Mike Sellers, Reed Doughty and Kareem Moore, are the NFC’s best, but they’ll be tested by Jones and Crayton, who has two punt-return scores. Dallas’ coverage teams are good, while Washington kickoff return man Rock Cartwright is average and punt return regular Antwaan Randle El is awful and is now sharing the duty with Santana Moss and DeAngelo Hall. The Cowboys’ Mat McBriar is one of the league’s top punters. The Redskins’ Hunter Smith has missed three games with a groin injury but has run and thrown for touchdowns on fake field goals. Washington kicker Shaun Suisham is 12-for-12 on field goal attempts (4-for-4 from 40 yards and beyond). Dallas’ Nick Folk is 14-for-18 (4-for-8 from 40-plus).

Edge: Cowboys

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