- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 3, 2016

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Washington Redskins will close out the regular season against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday at AT&T Stadium, and there’s a quite a different feeling surrounding this team in Week 17 than there was at this point a year ago.

The Cowboys sealed the Redskins‘ 4-12 record last season with a 44-17 beating at FedEx Field. Now, Washington visits Dallas as NFC East champions with a chance to rest up before their first-round playoff matchup next week.

It’s hard to gauge what the Redskins will deliver on Sunday. Of course, they want to win and ride their four-game win streak into the playoffs. A 9-7 record sounds better than 8-8, and so does finishing the last quarter of the season 4-0.

On the other hand, the Redskins could benefit from the rest, especially players such as left Tackle Trent Williams who has played through a variety of injuries. Then there are players with more severe injuries, like free safety Dashon Goldson, who played through a broken rib last week and will be inactive.

“It’s important for us to be healthy come playoff time but it is also to have some kind of momentum also going in,” coach Jay Gruden said on Wednesday. “I’d like to end on a four-game winning streak, win three games in a row on the road, finish the fourth quarter 4-0, finish 9-7. I think it’s a hell of a step in the right direction.”

With that, here’s a look at the logistics of Sunday’s game and three things to watch.

Logistics

Kickoff: 1 p.m.

Records: Redskins 8-7, Cowboys 4-11

Television: Fox (Chris Myers, play-by-play; Ronde Barber, color; Jennifer Hale (sidelines)

Radio: ESPN 980 (Larry Michael, Sonny Jurgensen, Chris Cooley, Doc Walker)

Weather: Dome

Lines: Cowboys -4, over/under 40.5 per Bovada

Projected Starters:

Redskins offense: QB Kirk Cousins, RB Alfred Morris, WR Pierre Garcon, WR DeSean Jackson, TE Jordan Reed, TE Alex Smith, LT Ty Nsekhe, LG Spencer Long, C Josh LeRibeus, RG Brandon Scherff, RT Morgan Moses.

Redskins defense: DE Chris Baker, NT Terrance Knighton, DE Jason Hatcher, OLB Trent Murphy, ILB Will Compton, ILB Mason Foster, OLB Ryan Kerrigan, CB Will Blackmon, CB Bashaud Breeland, CB Quinton Dunbar, SS DeAngelo Hall, FS Kyshoen Jarrett.

Cowboys offense: QB Kellen Moore, RB Darren McFadden, WR Cole Beasley, WR Terrance Williams, TE Jason Witten, TE James Hanna, LT Tyron Smith, LG Ronald Leary, C Travis Frederick, RG Zack Martin, RT Doug Free.

Cowboys defense: DE DeMarcus Lawrence, DT Nick Hayden, DT Tyrone Crawford, DE Greg Hardy, SLB Anthony Hitchens, MLB Rolando McClain, WLB Sean Lee, CB Morris Claiborne, CB Brandon Carr, FS J.J. Wilcox, SS Barry Church.

Injury report:

Redskins: Out — FS Dashon Goldson (rib/shoulder), CB Quinton Dunbar (quad); Doubtful: RB Matt Jones (hip), ILB Perry Riley (foot); Questionable — LT Trent Williams (knee/foot), DE Jason Hatcher (knee/neck), DB DeAngelo Hall (calf), WR DeSean Jackson (knee), RB Pierre Thomas (knee); Probable — CB Will Blackmon (shin/hip), ILB Will Compton (shin), WR Ryan Grant (abdomen), C Josh LeRibeus (ankle), RT Morgan Moses (ankle), ILB Keenan Robinson (shoulder), RB Chris Thompson (shoulder).

Cowboys: Doubtful — LG La’el Collins (ankle); Questionable — CB Morris Claiborne (hamstring), LB Sean Lee (hamstring); Probable — DE Greg Hardy (illness), WR Devin Street (concussion), WR Cole Beasley (knee), S Jeff Heath (shoulder), LB Kyle Wiber (shoulder), DE DeMarcus Lawrence (chest), TE Jason Witten (chest), DE Jeremy Mincey (hip), TE Geoff Swaim (illness).

Stats:

All-time record: The Redskins are 43-66-2 against the Cowboys.

Last regular-season meeting: Dec. 7, 2015: 19-16 loss at FedEx Field.

Three things to watch:

** How long will quarterback Kirk Cousins play? He was very adamant about starting the game this week, citing how important it is for a young player like himself to continue developing. He’s also closing in on the Redskins‘ single-season passing record and it’s likely he’ll play at least long enough to secure that. The good thing is he’s not very far away. Cousins only trails Jay Schroeder (4,109) and Brad Johnson (4,005) on the list.

Tight end Jordan Reed also has 11 touchdowns, only one away from tying the franchise record for most in a single season, which was set four times by Hugh Taylor, Charley Taylor, Jerry Smith and Ricky Sanders.

“That’s quite an interesting dilemma, quite honestly, and that’s something we’ll have to decide on come game day — how we’re going to approach that,” Gruden said. “Right now, we’re approaching it, if they’re dressed they’re playing. Kirk is getting ready to start the football game. Jordan Reed is getting ready. All our guys are starting. They’re getting ready to play the game and then how I substitute throughout the course of the game will be dependent on how we’re doing health-wise and the situation of the game. Those guys put in a lot of good work. I think those records do mean something to them. They mean something to the entire offense, the entire team quite frankly. So, hopefully, they’ll have a chance to get it, but if not, it won’t be the end of the world. It won’t be a disappointment but I think it’ll be exciting if they do.”

** Left tackle Trent Williams only practiced once this week and was limited. Gruden said on Friday that there was not much value in him playing today, so it is unlikely he will be active. However, the Redskins will have just one backup tackle in Tom Compton. If Williams is out, Ty Nsekhe will start at left tackle. It will be interesting to see how he stacks up against Cowboys‘ defensive end Greg Hardy, who is two away from a $500,000 contract bonus.

** This could be a good opportunity to see how healthy inside linebacker Keenan Robinson is ahead of the playoffs. Since returning three games ago, he’s only played 13 snaps on defense. Mason Foster and Will Compton have solidified the starting jobs, but Robinson could certainly contribute in the playoffs if he is in fact healthy. Earlier last week, it appeared inside linebacker Perry Riley could have played on Sunday as well, but he is listed as doubtful. Riley has not played since having surgery to repair a broken bone in his foot early in December.

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