Even as they stumbled down the stretch, the Dallas Cowboys had been in control of their playoff fate due to playing in the worst division in the NFL. That is no longer the case entering the regular-season finale for the Cowboys, who need a victory over the visiting Washington Redskins on Sunday and a loss by Philadelphia to advance to the postseason.
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Dallas suffered its fourth loss in five games with another listless performance in a 17-9 setback at Philadelphia last weekend to fall a game behind the Eagles for first place in the NFC East. "We had the chance to control our destiny and be where we wanted to be," said quarterback Dak Prescott, who is dealing with a sprained right shoulder. "But now that it's out of our hands, we've got to control what we can control, and that's getting a win next week." Even by beating the lowly Redskins, who are an NFC-worst 3-12, the Cowboys need Philadelphia to lose on the road at the New York Giants to win the division and save coach Jason Garrett's job for at least another week. Washington, which has lost three in a row and dropped a 31-21 decision to Dallas in Week 2, will be without starting rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins.
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Cowboys -11 O/U: 45.5
ABOUT THE REDSKINS (3-12): Haskins, the 15th overall pick in this year's draft, was in the midst of his best outing of the season before injuring his ankle at the outset of the second half, but Keenum twice rallied Washington from 14-point deficits in the 41-35 overtime loss to the Giants. Keenum wound up throwing for 158 yards and a score and finished 26 of 37 for 221 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Week 2 loss to the Cowboys. However, rookie wideout Terry McLaurin remained in the concussion protocol Thursday, which could put more of a load on veteran running back Adrian Peterson, who has a rushing touchdown in four straight games. Washington's defense ranks 29th against the run (141.1 yards).
ABOUT THE COWBOYS (7-8): Prescott was unable to practice Thursday due to the same shoulder injury that limited him leading up to the game with the Eagles, when he threw for 265 yards and failed to get Dallas in the end zone for the second time in five games. "It's getting better. That's all I can ask for," said Prescott, who finished 26 of 30 for 269 yards with three touchdowns and one interception in the Week 2 victory at Washington. "You've got to rest it for it to get better, and it will." Running back Ezekiel Elliott has rushed for 1,235 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season but was limited to 47 yards on 13 carries in last week's loss. Dallas ranks 11th against the pass (226.2 yards per game) and 13th against the run (104.5).
1. Elliott has 666 scrimmage yards and seven rushing TDs in his last six games versus Washington.
2. Redskins DE Matt Ioannidis has six sacks in his last five road games.
3. Prescott needs 305 passing yards to surpass the single-season record held by Tony Romo (4,903).