The Dallas Cowboys haven't won convincingly all season, but if they're going to make a statement, Thursday would be the time. At home and against a surging and desperate division rival, the Cowboys can put a ton of pressure on the New York Giants by putting forth another top-notch Thanksgiving performance against the Washington Redskins.
Here's what they'll need to do in order to ensure that happens.
Add Pass-Protection Support on Offense
With left tackle Tyron Smith very unlikely to play due to a high-ankle sprain and the interior of the line also depleted, Jason Garrett and Bill Callahan have to give the line reinforcements by utilizing a lot of John Phillips and Lawrence Vickers as pass-blockers. In other words, lots of two-tight end sets and lots of crowded backfields.
Keep in mind that top Washington corner Josh Wilson is also a question mark with a shoulder injury. This is a secondary that—with Wilson—has been beaten for 20 touchdowns and has given up more 20-plus-yard passing plays than all but six other teams (and more 40-plus-yard passing plays than only two others). Regardless of the run support, as long as Romo is able to work in the pocket, he and his three-headed receiving monster should have a huge day.
Keep It Conservative on Defense
Ryan would be smart to keep strong run defender Anthony Spencer home a lot so that Spencer can help Dan Connor and/or Ernie Sims against Alfred Morris. That would give Bruce Carter a chance to focus fully on containing Griffin as a runner.
With Pierre Garcon less than 100 percent and Fred Davis hurt, the Cowboys have to stick to a lot of single, press-man coverage and rely on Ware and Co. to apply enough pressure to prevent Griffin from making big plays with his arm while hoping that Carter, Spencer and the rest of the linebacking corps can slow down a running game that is averaging 5.2 yards per carry this season.