Form doesn't count when the Washington Commanders meet the Dallas Cowboys. However, they must keep this star-studded trio quiet.
You can't look at records or talent levels when the Washington Commanders take on the Dallas Cowboys. These NFC East rivals have a habit of landing notable blows against one another when least expected.
The 1989 Cowboys got their only win at Washington's expense at RFK Stadium. Or better still, when the now-Commanders thumped the eventual Super Bowl champion Dallas team twice in 1995.
If Ron Rivera's 4-7 squad is going to defy the odds the same way, they need to keep three key players quiet. Starting with handling a dominant pass-rusher who poses at least one obvious mismatch.
Commanders have a Micah Parsons problem
Assuming Charles Leno Jr. isn't still having nightmares about Kayvon Thibodeaux, he's going to need help whenever he's matched up against Micah Parsons. Make that a lot of help.
Leno was bullied by Thibodeaux during Week 11's miserable 31-19 defeat to the New York Giants. The pass-rusher recorded two of the G-Men's four sacks, while consistently beating the veteran blindside presence with speed, per Next Gen Stats.
Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy can't leave Leno on an island again. Even if it means putting a tight end next to him every snap. Even if Cornelius Lucas has to join an overloaded Washington Commanders offensive line as an extra tackle.
Bieniemy has done an exceptional job helping inexperienced quarterback Sam Howell succeed, but his yards through the air have come at a cost. The cost has been routinely leaving an overmatched line undermanned.
The Commanders need Bieniemy to tweak his playbook and alter formations to get more blockers onto the field. Especially against Parsons, who doesn't always line up outside, but needs to see a double team wherever he's aligned.
Parsons is the key man on the Dallas Cowboys' defense. But the Commanders need different adjustments to corral their main offensive playmaker.