Cowboys look to win 10th straight on Thanksgiving
The Dallas Cowboys are the talk of the NFL right now, racing out to the league's best record and a club-record winning streak behind pair of dynamic offensive rookies.
The Cowboys (9-1) haven't lost since the season opener way back on Sept. 11. It's a start that has everyone's attention, given the prominence of the franchise and the circumstances surrounding its unexpected dominance.
And while Dallas is enjoying its lofty perch atop the league standings, the Cowboys are quite aware of what awaits Thanksgiving against longtime rival Washington at AT&T Stadium.
The defending NFC East champion Redskins (6-3-1) are off to one of their best starts in years and are looking for revenge after losing to Dallas earlier this season.
“I'm excited about it,” Cowboys first-year quarterback Dak Prescott said. “I have never done this before, to respond real quick and play another game. But I love ball, and I love these games. I'm excited for it and I'm looking forward to it.”
Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott have electrified the Cowboys' attack. Prescott has accounted for 21 touchdowns — 17 passing and four rushing — and Elliott leads the league in rushing with 1,102 yards.
Dallas has piled up at least 400 yards of total offense in eight consecutive games, tying New England (2007) and Denver (2013) for the longest single-season streaks in NFL history.
Prescott threw for 301 yards and three touchdowns, two going to Dez Bryant, in Sunday's 27-17 win over Baltimore. Elliott ran for 97 yards.
The only 10-1 start in Cowboys history came in 2007. Finishing off a season sweep of the Redskins would match that mark.
“We're taking it one game at a time and focusing on what's happening at that moment,” said Bryant, who has five touchdown catches. “We're not looking too far ahead.”
Washington is no slouch offensively behind Kirk Cousins. The Redskins walloped Green Bay 42-24 on Sunday, scoring the second-most points since Jay Gruden became head coach in 2014.
With 515 total yards against the Packers, Washington has hit at least 500 yards twice this season. That ties the most in a single campaign, dating back to 1950.
The Redskins finished with two 100-yard receivers (Pierre Garcon and Jamison Crowder) and a 100-yard rusher (Robert Kelley) in a single game for the first time since Sept. 12, 1999 against Dallas.
DeSean Jackson stopped short of calling Sunday a breakout performance for the offense.
“I'd like to say that, but it's one game,” he said. “You can't put all the eggs in one basket for one game. We have to continue to come out here and put the work in every week. This is going to be a quick week for us, we play another on Thanksgiving.
“That game means a lot for us. We see everybody winning in our division and we still have a lot of work to put in to get to where we need to get to. We know what's at stake and we know what we want to accomplish at the same time.”
Washington is off to its best start since opening 7-3 in 1996. The Redskins have rebounded from being 0-2, which included a 27-23 home loss to Dallas on Sept. 18.
Former Washington running back Alfred Morris had the game-winning touchdown for the Cowboys in the fourth quarter.
The Redskins are 6-1-1 since that loss.
“We're feeling good, but at the same time it's a short week and we're playing one of the best teams in the NFL on Thursday,” said Cousins, who has seven touchdowns passes in his last three games. “Once again, I feel like I say it every week, but welcome to the NFL.
“It doesn't get any easier from here in our division. A lot of people wanted to take shots at it last year and said, 'You know, it's not a very good division.' I think this year proves that in the NFL everybody is good.”
The Cowboys have faced the Redskins a franchise-high seven times on Thanks¬giving and hold a 6-1 record. Washington has won its last to visits to AT&T Stadium.
Dallas, 29-18-1 all-time on the holiday, is aiming to snap a two-game losing streak on Turkey Day.