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, Va. (AP) — tried to explain the latest dip in their roller-coaster season, the diagnosis wasn’t pretty.“I guess we got too high on ourselves for whatever reason,” safety D.J. Swearinger said after the Redskins followed an emotional victory at Seattle with a 38-30 loss at home to Minnesota. “We just weren’t ready to play.”That’s not what anyone around the 4-5 Redskins wants to hear as they hope to keep pace in the crowded NFC wild-card race with a visit to the 7-2 New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Swearinger, cornerback Josh Norman and other players lamented a lack of consistency from week to week, leading to the question of whether the Redskins can handle and sustain success.“If they feel that way, then I got to do a better job of making sure they don’t get a big head,” coach Jay Gruden said Monday. “For the most part, players have to get ready to play. And I have to do a better job of getting them ready. If they’re not ready, then that’s on me.”Injuries have played a part and continue to take a toll as Washington will be without running back Rob Kelley and inside linebacker Will Compton for a few weeks. Kelley sprained the MCL in his left knee, and Compton has a Lisfranc sprain in one of his feet.The Redskins are planning to add a running back before facing the Saints. Rookie Samaje Perine and third-down back Chris Thompson are expected to split the carries in Kelley’s absence.But now that the entire starting offensive line is back and some injuries are healing up, linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said that’s no longer an excuse. That’s what made the loss to the Vikings in which Norman said the Redskins “just didn’t have it,” so baffling.“Those games come out of nowhere and just swipe you in the face,” Norman said. “You’ve got to come out here and be consistent. That’s the pedigree of a championship football team and we didn’t show that.”Perhaps part of it is that Washington has had to deal with the toughest schedule in the NFL so far. Four of five losses are to first-place teams, plus another to Dallas, and the Redskins have won on the road at the top two teams in the NFC West Tress Way Jersey
, the Seahawks and Los Angeles Rams.“Each week we’re playing very good football teams,” Gruden said. “Not saying we’re not consistently playing well. I just think we’ve run into some really good offenses with guys making plays on the other side, and were not matching play for play with the other team.”It’s not getting any easier this week at NFC South-leading New Orleans, which rushed for 298 yards in a 47-10 rout of Buffalo.“Everybody in the league is really good,” quarterback Kirk Cousins said. “You just have to learn from these tougher losses where we came up short and point to the plays where we weren’t good enough that end up causing the loss and try to prevent the mistakes so they don’t come up again.”NOTES: WR Ryan Grant is in the NFL’s concussion protocol, S DeAngelo Hall has a bone bruise in his right knee and DL Anthony Lanier has a sprained knee. … Gruden said TE Jordan Reed is day to day after missing the past two games with a hamstring injury. WASHINGTON (6-4) at DALLAS (5-5)Thursday, 4:30 p.m. ET, FoxOPENING LINE — Cowboys by 9RECORD VS. SPREAD — Redskins 7-3, Cowboys 5-5SERIES RECORD — Cowboys lead 70-45-2LAST MEETING — Redskins 20, Cowboys 17, Oct. 21LAST WEEK — Redskins lost to Texans 23-21; Cowboys beat Falcons 22-19AP PRO32 RANKING — Redskins No. 13; Cowboys No. 14REDSKINS OFFENSE — OVERALL (25), RUSH (12), PASS (25)REDSKINS DEFENSE — OVERALL (18), RUSH (6), PASS (24)COWBOYS OFFENSE — OVERALL (27) Clinton Portis Jersey
, RUSH (4), PASS (28)COWBOYS DEFENSE — OVERALL (8), RUSH (5), PASS (11)STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — Could be swing game in division race, with Cowboys seeking tie for first and Redskins going for two-game lead, head-to-head sweep with five games remaining. … Cowboys have won seven of eight Thanksgiving meetings between NFC East rivals. … Both teams in top five in scoring defense: Cowboys third (19.0 points), Redskins fifth (19.8). … Redskins making third straight Thanksgiving appearance and 11th overall. … Redskins seeking franchise’s 600th regular-season victory. Chicago (756), Green Bay (741), New York Giants (690), Pittsburgh (626) others with at least 600. … Redskins have forced turnover in 14 straight games, longest active streak in NFL. They have at least three takeaways in three consecutive games for first time since 2003. … With Redskins QB Alex Smith’s season-ending leg injury, former Texas Longhorns star Colt McCoy making first start since Dec. 14, 2014, 24-13 loss to Giants. His last win as starter was 20-17 in OT at Cowboys on Oct. 27 Brandon Scherff Jersey
, 2014. McCoy was 25 of 30 for 299 yards. … RB Adrian Peterson tied season high with two TDs rushing against Texans. He had 99 yards rushing in first Dallas meeting and needs two rushing TDs to pass Hall of Famer Jim Brown (106) for fifth on all-time list. … TE Jordan Reed had 10 catches, 95 yards, two TDs in his last meeting with Cowboys in 2016. … LB Ryan Kerrigan has 5½ sacks in past five games. … Thanksgiving debut for Cowboys QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott as rookies was 31-26 win over Redskins in 2016, team’s 10th straight victory. … Elliott has joined Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson and Edgerrin James as only backs with at least 4,500 yards from scrimmage and 30 touchdowns in first 35 games. Elliott has 4,540 yards, 32 TDs, including 388 yards, three touchdowns in past two games. … Elliott missed Thanksgiving last season on six-game suspension over domestic violence allegations. … Rookie WR Michael Gallup‘s status for game in question less than week after brother died by suicide. Gallup had first career touchdown in first meeting with Redskins. … LB Leighton Vander Esch has interception in each of past two games. He set club rookie record with 19 tackles, according to coaches’ count, in win at defending champion Philadelphia two games ago. … DE DeMarcus Lawrence had 1½ sacks against Falcons, now third in NFL in sacks since start of last season with 22½. … Fantasy tip: Elliott has consecutive 100-yard games, five for season. But Redskins haven’t allowed 100-yard rusher this season.