NFL Announces Big Change to Cowboys’ Must-Win Season Finale vs. Redskins

Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott vs. Redskins

Getty Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott vs. Redskins

Just when the Dallas Cowboys thought they were out (of the spotlight), the NFL pulled them back in.

The Cowboys were among numerous teams whose Week 17 finales were flexed into different time slots. They’ll now kick off against the Washington Redskins at 4:25 p.m. ET as opposed to their originally scheduled 1 p.m. ET start, the league announced Sunday night.

It’s as must-win as must-win games get for Dallas, who fell to 7-8 on the year with an embarrassing 17-9 loss to the Eagles. Losers of four of their last five, the reigning NFC East champions no longer control their own destiny. In fact, they’ll need something of a miracle to punch their ticket to the postseason.

Here’s the skinny: The Cowboys must beat the 3-12 Redskins and hope the 4-11 New York Giants upset Philadelphia at the Meadowlands. Then the division again would be theirs.

Conversely, an Eagles victory would eliminate Dallas from playoff contention regardless of what transpires versus Washington.

Philly is scheduled to play at the same time as the Cowboys, with both contests televised on FOX. Dallas defeated the Redskins, 31-21, in Week 2, while the Eagles eeked by New York, 23-17 in overtime, on Dec. 9.

All hope is not lost and all confidence is not shattered. Although the club is getting a standing eight-count, so to speak, they refuse to call the fight.

“Don’t fold. Everybody gonna wanna divide us. Don’t fold. We going out here to play this last game, and we gon’ win this motherf***er,” defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence proclaimed Sunday, via WFAA’s Mike Leslie.

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Cowboys OL Leaves The Linc in Walking Boot

Yet another injury has struck the Cowboys’ offense. Starting left guard Xavier Su’a-Filo suffered an ankle injury against the Eagles and was spotted exiting the stadium on crutches, wearing a walking boot. He was expected to undergo an MRI on Monday to confirm the severity of his injury.

Su’a-Filo had been thrust into duty following the torn ACL sustained by Connor Williams. He was inconsistent across four spot starts this season, the weak link on a line that features three 2019 Pro Bowlers (left tackle Tyron Smith, center Travis Frederick, right guard Zack Martin).

The backup’s backup, Joe Looney, filled in Sunday and would draw the start against Washington if Su’a-Filo — who may be required to undergo corrective surgery — cannot gain clearance.

Cowboys Set Record in Loss to Eagles

Well, here’s a glimmer of positivity: This year’s Cowboys outfit is the first team in franchise history to boast a 4,000-yard passer (Dak Prescott), 1,000-yard rusher (Ezekiel Elliott) and two 1,000-yard wide receivers (Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup), ESPN’s Ed Werder noted.

Prescott ranks second in the NFL with 4,599 yards, shattering his previous single-season best of 3,885 yards, set in 2018. Battling a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder, he turned in one of his most underwhelming performances, completing 25-of-44 balls for 265 scoreless yards at Philadelphia.

Elliott, the highest-paid runner in the sport’s history, has converted 283 carries into 1,235 yards, good for fourth-most in the league. It’s the third time in four seasons that Zeke crossed the 1K barrier. He was held to just 47 yards on 13 totes by the Eagles’ swarming defense.

Cooper, despite persistent leg ailments, notched his first 1,000-yard campaign since 2016, when he was a member of the Oakland Raiders. Gallup, meanwhile, enjoyed a breakout sophomore year, having totaled 1,009 yards on 61 catches with one game remaining. He led Dallas with five grabs for 98 yards in Philadelphia.

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL