PFF Preview: Cowboys @ Redskins, Week 17
After falling short on postseason chances the last three years, the Dallas Cowboys (11-4) secured their first NFC East crown since the 2009 season and now have an opportunity to finish 8-0 on the road and avenge a Week 8 loss to the Washington Redskins (4-11). The Redskins have hopes of finishing the year on a high note by sweeping the Cowboys and capturing back-to-back divisional wins.
Since the outcome of this game is unlikely to impact the Cowboys’ playoff seeding, it may give the Cowboys an opportunity to rest some ailing starters, such as Doug Free, who’s battling a foot injury. As was the case in Week 16, Jermey Parnell will likely step in for Free and go toe-to-toe with Ryan Kerrigan. Although Parnell has seen limited action throughout the season, he has allowed just six total pressures and his pass protection grade of +4.2 is third on the Cowboys. In four starts this season Parnell has yet to give up a sack, nor has he allowed a quarterback hit, and he carries a Pass Blocking Efficiency (PBE) of 96.5, which ranks 15th among qualifying tackles across that four-game stretch.
In their Week 8 matchup, Parnell drew the start and gave up just one pressure and earned a pass block grade of +1.9, (the best grade he’s produced since entering the league in 2009) helping limit Kerrigan to a pass rush grade of -1.2. Still, regardless of what happened in their previous matchup, Kerrigan has been the Redskins’ best pass rusher, evident by his team-leading 47 quarterback hurries, 13 sacks, and a pass rush grade of +18.4. In addition to his 13 sacks and 47 QB hurries, Kerrigan has also compiled eight QB hits and 67 total pressures (second most), a Pass Rush Productivity (PRP) of 13.0, fifth among qualifying 3-4 outside linebackers.
Here are three more notable numbers for each side:
Jason Witten – Witten was deemed the “best tight end in football” by his head coach Jason Garrett, rightfully so. An overall grade of +15.1, Witten ranks second among all TE’s.
Dez Bryant – Sitting behind Antonio Brown and former Steeler Emmanuel Sanders, Bryant ranks third with a pass grade of +17.8.
Travis Frederick – Having given up one sack and an overall grade of +15.0 (second among centers), Frederick is worthy of his first Pro Bowl selection.
Tress Way – With a rating of +20.6, Way ranks seventh among all punters.
Trent Williams – Likely a game-time decision, the Redskins could use Williams and his 18th-ranked overall grade of +9.2.
Chris Chester – Chester has exceled in pass protection (+6.0) but struggled in run blocking (-3.1).
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