The Dallas Cowboys have their own destiny in their hands and the only thing they have to do now is keep winning if they want to travel south a few hours to Houston, Texas to play in the Super Bowl. Sounds simple, right?
Well, the Dallas Cowboys have two things working in their favor: 1). they have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and 2). their first playoff game is against a team that they have already beaten rather impressively this season, the Green Bay Packers.
Now, I’m not going to sit here and say that the Cowboys are going to come out and completely dominate the Packers like they did back in Week 6, because these are two entirely different teams now than they were then.
You see, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers offense is one more explosive and dangerous units in the entire NFL. That simply wasn’t the case when these two teams faced off against each other earlier in the season.
For the Cowboys, Dez Bryant will be back in the lineup after missing the game with the Packers earlier this season, Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott are better players now than they were then, and let’s not forget how well the Cowboys defense was playing to close out the 2016 regular season.
This is shaping up to be a game for the ages. But, these are the types of games where someone is going to have to step up and become that difference maker, or as I like to call them, The X-Factor.
There’s certainly plenty of Cowboys players that qualify to be the X-Factor against the Packers.
In the previous matchup, Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 157 yards on 28 carries and added two catches for 17 yards. Although I expect him to have a good game, I’m not sure if he is the difference maker for me.
Like Elliott, Dak Prescott also had a really good game against the Packers earlier this season. Prescott completed 17 of 28 passes for 247 yards and three touchdowns, but he was also responsible for an interception and two fumbles, one of which the Packers defense recovered. #4 will have to be at his best in his first playoff appearance, but again, I don’t think he’s going to be the X-Factor this game.
How about a player that is probably looking forward to this matchup more than any other Dallas Cowboy?
Dez Bryant is probably salivating for his chance to get revenge on the Packers after the infamous non-catch that ended the Dallas Cowboys 2014 playoffs. The Packers have a banged up secondary, so Bryant could have a big game. But, it’s another wide receiver that I think will ultimately be the X-Factor for the Cowboys, Cole Beasley.
Back in Week 6, Cole Beasley hauled in six catches for 58 yards and found the end zone twice against the Green Bay Packers, and I don’t see any reason why that can’t happen again Sunday afternoon.
We all know that Beasley is arguably one of the best slot receivers in the entire NFL. I don’t care who lines up across from him, it’s going to be a mismatch that the diminutive WR wins nine times out of 10. He is just that good of a route runner and his spatial awareness is just uncanny.
The secondary for the Green Bay Packers is decimated because of injury and there simply isn’t a player on their roster that is capable of covering Beasley out of the slot.
Overall, the Dallas Cowboys need all of their players to raise the level of their game if they want to come out on top against the Green Bay Packers Sunday afternoon. But for me, it’s going to be Cole Beasley that makes the play the changes the outcome of this game. That is why #11 is my X-Factor.
Who is your X-Factor for the Cowboys against the Green Bay Packers?
Please feel free to use the comment section below to share your thoughts and opinions on this topic.