A season-opening loss to San Francisco seems like a lifetime ago for the Dallas Cowboys, who will go for their seventh consecutive victory when they host the Washington Redskins on Monday night. The Cowboys have surged to the top of the NFC East behind an offense featuring DeMarco Murray, the first running back in league history to open a season with seven straight 100-yard games. Dallas has won seven of the last 10 versus Washington, including a season sweep a year ago.
The Redskins snapped a four-game skid last week when coach Jay Gruden benched quarterback Kirk Cousins in favor of third-stringer Colt McCoy, who is expected to make his first start since December 2011. However, Gruden employed some gamesmanship by refusing to rule out Robert Griffin III, who has been sidelined since suffering a dislocated ankle in Week 2. "Colt's the starter. We're preparing for Colt to be the starter," Gruden said. "But we're trying to get Robert some reps, get him ready."
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Cowboys -10. O/U: 49.5
ABOUT THE REDSKINS (2-5): With Washington in dire need of a victory last week, Gruden made a surprise move by inserting McCoy, who wound up completing 11-of-12 for 128 yards and a touchdown in his first action since attempting one pass last season as a member of the 49ers. While McCoy is keeping the seat warm until Griffin returns, a major concern is the running game. Alfred Morris, who rushed for nearly 2,900 yards in his first two seasons, has managed only 124 over the past three games while averaging a meager 2.8 yards per carry. Washington's defense, which ranks sixth with 321.9 yards allowed but has surrendered an average of 26.1 points, absorbed a big loss when linebacker Brian Orapko (torn pectoral) was lost for the season.
ABOUT THE COWBOYS (6-1): Murray rumbled for 128 yards and a touchdown in last week's 31-21 victory over the New York Giants to push his league-leading total to 913 while breaking Hall of Famer Jim Brown's record of six straight 100-yard outings to open a season. “I think we did this as a group, so it’s hard for me to accept this individually,” Murray said. “The offensive line is a huge part of this. ... I definitely give a lot of credit to those guys." Quarterback Tony Romo has multiple TDs in five straight games after throwing for 279 yards and three scores last week, with Dez Bryant hauling in nine balls for 151 yards. Dallas ranked last in total defense last season with an average of 415.3 yards but has cut that number to 343.9 through seven games.
1. The Redskins have dropped 15 of their last 19 on Monday night and have lost seven straight in prime time.
2. Bryant has four TD catches in last five meetings for the Cowboys, who last won seven in a row in 2007.
3. Morris has rushed for six TDs and an average of 120.5 yards in his past four versus Dallas.
PREDICTION: Cowboys 30, Redskins 16