It's officially a "calling all cars" scenario for the Washington Football Team in Week 14. Not long ago (as in, literally, a week or so), it was the Dallas Cowboys who found themselves battling a COVID-19 outbreak that cost them several players, including headliners like four-time Pro Bowl wideout Amari Cooper and head coach Mike McCarthy. But as the two teams ready to square off against each other for the first time in 2021, it's Washington being pummeled by the novel coronavirus -- adding four key defensive players to the Reserve/COVID-19 list ahead of kickoff.
Earlier in the week, it was announced that Montez Sweat would be moved to the list after hoping to return from injured reserve against the Cowboys. On Saturday, the team announced both cornerback Darryl Roberts and defensive end James Smith-Williams would be moved to the list and miss the matchup against the Cowboys and, one day later, they were joined by defensive end Casey Toohill.
This is all extremely significant for a Washington defense that is already without Chase Young (IR), and has now lost it's other top three pass rushers along with Roberts, a key rotational defensive back. In non-COVID news, on the offensive side of the ball, they'll also be without starting guard Wes Schweitzer -- moved to injured reserve on Saturday -- and running back J.D. McKissic, who'll reportedly miss Sunday's fight against the Cowboys due to a concussion.
Contrarily, the Cowboys are seeing the return of starting defensive lineman Neville Gallimore and Randy Gregory to join DeMarcus Lawrence, who himself returned from IR in Week 13, and a defense led by rookie phenom Micah Parsons and interception-magnet Trevon Diggs. It's no wonder Dallas enters FedEx Field as the favorite to win, because despite the fiery back-and-forth between the two teams this week, it's the absences for Washington that might ultimately decide the outcome of what is now the most critical battle in the NFC East this season.