The Dallas Cowboys have an amazing opportunity this week to increase their lead in the NFC East division with a win over the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday night. Unfortunately, a loss means that the Eagles move into first place (I think I just threw up a little).
To date, this might be the most important game the Cowboys have played in 2016, but I don't expect a change in attitude or focus to distract them from the goal at hand.
Division games are always tough because the two opponents know each other so well, but I think the Dallas Cowboys have the advantage over the Philadelphia Eagles this week.
Honestly, I think it will come down to a few players that I like to call the X Factors.
X Factors are players I think will have a major impact in the game or come up with a key play. Below are three Dallas Cowboys players I think will do just that in this week's prime time matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The only other person that could make the Cowboys offense even better than what it has been the past few weeks would be Tony Romo. Bryant makes the passing game better, the running game better, and adds a renewed attitude on the field for the offense.
The Philadelphia Eagles simply don't have a cornerback good enough to contain Bryant one-on-one, so the defense will have to devote an extra defender to bracket him in coverage. That will open up the running game and allow Ezekiel Elliott to run the ball without facing a stacked box like he has the majority of the season.
I don't know what Dez Bryant's stats will look like after the game Sunday night, but his return to the field opens up the entire offense for the Dallas Cowboys and that makes him an X Factor this week against the Eagles.
If not for the emergence of Ezekiel Elliott, Cole Beasley might be the most important offensive weapon for the Dallas Cowboys this season.
Beasley has simply been unrecoverable this year and has been a huge reason why the offense has been so successful moving the ball up and down the field.
He has become Dak Prescott's best friend in the passing game and should continue to be even though Dez Bryant is back on the field.
The Philadelphia Eagles slot cornerback, Ron Brooks, was recently placed on injured reserve, so that means the Eagles will have to find someone else to try to slow down Beasley.
I expect Beasley to have a really good game, and convert some key third downs for the Cowboys offense. I don't foresee anyone on the Eagles defense being able to contain him and that's why I think he is an X Factor.
Now, I'm not predicting that he gets his first quarterback sack this week against the Philadelphia Eagles, but he should be able to put pressure on rookie quarterback Carson Wentz.
With Lane Johnson out serving a 10 game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy, rookie Halapoulivaati Vaitai has started the last two games at right tackle for the Eagles. This is a matchup that I think Rod Marinelli will try to exploit with his pass rushers, especially DeMarcus Lawrence.
Lawrence can be a difference maker for the Cowboys defense. I think it will start this week in prime time against the Philadelphia Eagles and that is why I think he will be an X Factor.
Who do you think the X Factors will be for the Dallas Cowboys?
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