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Time To Gear Up For Big Days From Jason Witten And Cole Beasley

Cole Beasley and Jason Witten have proven to be two of Tony Romo's most consistent targets, and we should expect to see quite a bit of them in the opening round of the playoffs against the Detroit Lions.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys have two absolute studs to line up with Tony Romo every Sunday, in Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray. This weekend, though, it could end up being two other players who lead the charge for the Cowboys' offense. While Murray and Bryant are going to get plenty of touches (or targets in Bryant's case), it's going to be interesting to see what those looks and targets end up turning into when we look at the box score after the game.

One thing that you can be sure of, though, is that Romo is going to do what he's done all throughout the 2014 season, which is to simply hit the open man. He won't force the ball to Bryant, and while Murray will get plenty of rushing attempts, he's going up against the top-ranked rushing defense in the NFL. The Lions allow just 69.3 yards per game on the ground, and while Murray has torched plenty of opponents this year, Sunday's game will truly be his toughest test yet.

As for Bryant, the Lions are fully aware of what he's capable of doing, as he's taken over down the home stretch of the 2014 season. Bryant caught six passes for 114 yards and three touchdowns against the Philadelphia Eagles, then caught five for 73 yards and a touchdown in a blowout against the Indianapolis Colts and capped off his impressive year with a four-catch, 99-yard performance which also included two touchdowns against the Washington Redskins. Bryant proves to be a matchup nightmare week in and week out, but we should prepare to see the Lions throw everything they can at both Bryant and Murray.

So what does that mean? It means that Jason Witten and Cole Beasley could be in for quite a heavy workload.

Romo has shown an amazing connection with Witten throughout his career, and his ability to find number 82 is never in question. As for Beasley, he has quietly become one of Romo's favorite options in the passing game in recent weeks. Over the past six games, Beasley has seen 28 targets, and has hauled in 21 catches, for 277 yards and four touchdowns. As for Witten, after a bit of a slow start to the year, he's been getting looks on a consistent basis over the final three games. He posted lines that included seven catches for 69 yards, seven catches for 90 yards and a touchdown, and a Week 17 where he brought in four catches for 49 yards. These totals all came in big games against the Eagles, Colts and Redskins (with the exception of the Redskins' game, as the 'Boys were already playoff-bound). Over that span, he totaled 22 targets, but this was just a sample size of what we could truly see Witten do on Sunday afternoon.

While the Lions have an incredibly talented defense, expect to see them do anything and everything possible to slow down both Murray and Bryant. In turn, this will result in two of Romo's favorite receivers down the home stretch getting plenty of work in the biggest game of the entire season.

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