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Need to Know: AT&T Stadium North on Sunday?

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Need to Know: AT&T Stadium North on Sunday?

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, December 18, four days before the Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys.

AT&T Stadium North on Sunday?

When the Redskins play this Sunday’s game against the Cowboys (yes, Washington is still playing games beyond competing leaks), a shot at a division title will be at stake. Of course, that playoff spot is only available to Dallas. The Redskins were eliminated mathematically a few weeks ago and realistically several weeks before that.

Last December, the Cowboys came to town in what amounted to the first round of the playoffs. The winner played on, the loser went home. Alfred Morris ran for 200 yards, Rob Jackson intercepted Tony Romo in the clutch (even though that’s a pretty big group Jackson’s in, it’s still a feather in his cap), and the victorious Robert Griffin III consoled Romo after the clock stuck 0:00. This year it has been players on the other team telling Griffin to hang in there as the losses have mounted.

The Cowboys are in contention but they are far from content. They just blew a 23-point halftime lead to the Packers. Romo threw not one but two key interceptions, coach Jason Garrett took heat for the paucity of running plays in the second half as Dallas’ lead slowly bled away, and receiver Dez Bryant went back to the locker room with over a minute left on the clock.

FedEx Field will be an interesting place on Sunday aside from the two franchises in flames on the field. There is always a fairly strong contingent of Cowboys fans at FedEx Field even when the Redskins are doing well. There are over 4,000 tickets available on StubHub alone. They are currently priced at $52 and up but they are bound to go down in price as Sunday approaches. It adds up to the possibility that the scene will be AT&T Stadium North, just without the big video board running the length of the field.

Nobody knows just what Dan Snyder is thinking right now about Mike Shanahan’s future with the Redskins. But you would have to think that the owner sitting in his box at the stadium surveying stands filled with silver and blue and cheering the “visiting” team on to an important win would not be feeling very warm and fuzzy about his current head coach.

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Stat of the day

—The Redskins are a solid ninth in the NFL in yards gained. However, they have only scored 21.8 point/game, 23rd in the league.

Timeline

—Days until: Cowboys @ Redskins 4; Redskins @ Giants 11; 2014 NFL Draft 141

—Today’s schedule: Practice 11:50; Mike Shanahan and Kirk Cousins news conferences and player availability after practice (approx. 2:00)

In case you missed it

Players speak at charity fundraiser 

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One stat that should make DeSean Jackson very dangerous against Eagles

One stat that should make DeSean Jackson very dangerous against Eagles

The Eagles defense is on a big-play streak, but not one that defensive coordinators will like very much, and it could be very good news for the Redskins and DeSean Jackson. 

At this stage of his career, Jackson is a well-known deep threat. While much of the 2016 season has been disappointing for Jackson, in back-to-back weeks, the vertical passing attack has worked. In Arizona last Sunday, Jackson only caught one pass, but it went for 59 yards. On Thanksgiving in Dallas, Jackson hauled in a 67-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins as part of his season-high 118 receiving yards.

"What he brings to this football team, he brings something that not a lot of people can bring, and that’s obviously the speed and the big play ability," 'Skins head coach Jay Gruden said of Jackson.

The last two games moved Jackson's yards-per-catch average back in normal range with the rest of his career at 16.5. Halfway through this season, Jackson was averaging below 14 YPC, which would have been by far the worst of his career.

"A lot of people think that we haven’t utilized his speed quite like we should, but I think he has had a major impact on this football team," Gruden said. "His deep threat has an impact on the defense. It opens up areas for Jordan Reed and Jamison Crowder and the backs sometimes. He’s been a major influence for this football team in a good way."

Beyond just the big plays, the Eagles defense has given up 645 passing yards in their last two games. Cousins has historically played well in Philadelphia, and should be in good position to do the same this weekend.

And based on the Eagles' past six games, expect Jackson to have another big game at Lincoln Financial Field. 

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