FBG says: Good matchup. Ezekiel Elliott ended his holdout from Cowboys training camp in time to return and play in Dallas' week one matchup against the New York Giants. Having not practiced with the team all summer, Elliott was not quite in football shape for week one, and he may not reach that point for a few more weeks. Even in his less-than-ideal physical state, Elliott still played 54 percent of snaps and carried the ball 13 times. Backup Tony Pollard also carried the ball 13 times in the opened, but for only 24 yards compared to Elliott's 53. In week two and beyond, Elliott's snap count and touch count will ascend while Pollard's declines, as the Cowboys, will undoubtedly want to get their money's worth after making Ezekiel Elliott the league's highest-paid running back. Elliott will run behind one of the NFL's most reliable offensive lines once again in week two. After playing just over half of Dallas' offensive snaps in week one, expect Ezekiel Elliott to climb closer to the bell-cow status in week two. While he will not quite reach the usage levels of previous seasons, his near-bell-cow role will likely produce impressive numbers thanks to the remarkable group of run-blockers Elliott will run behind.
Washington was expected to field a serviceable run defense in 2019, but unfortunately, the unit was dealt a major blow right out of the gates in week one. Defense tackle Jonathan Allen was lost to a knee injury after just seven snaps against Philadelphia. Allen is expected to miss a few weeks, but filling his shoes is a tall task. On the defensive line, without Allen, Matt Ioannidis turned in one of the worst performances of his career in week one, Daron Payne struggled to stifle the run, and the rotation of defensive linemen filling in for Jonathan Allen was serviceable at best. At linebacker, Jon Bostic failed to replace the production of the recently-departed Zach Brown. Historically, Bostic's impact in run defense has been markedly negative, which shows that this is a trend that is likely to continue. Bostic's running-mates in the linebacking corps were unable to pick up the slack. Washington ultimately allowed Philadelphia's running backs to run for 116 yards on 4.5 yards-per-carry in week one, and this defense is primed to struggle once again in week two.