Each week has been an adventure for the Dallas Cowboys defense, and this week will be no different. Facing one of the more underrated wide receiver duos in the NFL today in Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins, the Dallas Cowboys have a tough matchup ahead of them.
The Cowboys secondary has been battling injuries and up and down play all season, and heading into their matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals; they’re going to be missing starters at cornerback and safety.
Donovan Wilson is on injured reserve, Anthony Brown will be out this week, and Chidobe Awuzie is on the COVID/Reserve list heading into this week. All that after Trevon Diggs went to injured reserve earlier this season. Much like the offensive line, the Cowboys’ secondary has been decimated by injuries.
Rashard Robinson and Saivion Smith will join Jourdan Lewis at cornerback, and Xavier Woods will have Darian Thompson again starting alongside him.
Even though the Bengals (2-9-1) have been bad this season, they’ve got enough talent at the wide receiver position to be a difficult matchup for a Cowboys defense that wasn’t playing very well even before this rash of injuries.
Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins have more than 700 receiving yards this season and four or more touchdowns. They’re one of just nine teams with at least two pass catchers with more than 700 yards receiving. Even with Brandon Allen starting at quarterback for the Bengals, they’re a couple of players that could cause fits for the Cowboys’ undermanned secondary.
Boyd at 6-2 and Higgins at 6-4 bring good size and route-running ability that will be a challenge for the Dallas defense to contain.
In his rookie season, Higgins is averaging 13.8 yards per reception, 14th in the NFL among players with at least 62 targets this season. Among this incredible rookie wide receiver class, the former Clemson product ranks second in the NFL in receiving yards among rookies behind Justin Jefferson, who’s having an excellent rookie season.
Boyd, who came into the league in 2016, has taken the lead at wide receiver as A.J. Green has aged and dealt with injuries the last few years. Boyd’s week against the Miami Dolphins was cut short after he was ejected. He did have one reception that went for 72 yards and a touchdown. That was a screen pass that went zero yards downfield, and he had 72 yards after the catch.
Boyd has seen the second-most snaps in the NFL and the most receptions from the slot this season and is second in the NFL in receiving yards from the slot. His 1.80 yards per route run from the slot is fifth in the league among players with at least 202 snaps from the slot.
Higgins and Boyd have the talent that can easily take advantage of the Cowboys secondary that is struggling with injuries and wasn’t all that good before several players were lost to injury and illness. If the Cowboys’ pass rush can’t affect Brandon Allen at quarterback, then Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins will have a field day against this struggling defense.