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Predicting the Cowboys X-Factor player of the game against the Vikings on Sunday night

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Big games call for big plays, but who’s going to make them on Sunday night?

Kansas City Chiefs v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys have provided no shortage of big plays lately as they’ve been piling on the highlights during their two-game winning streak. Against the Minnesota Vikings, they’ll need more of the same if they want to keep that winning streak going. With both teams pretty evenly matched, it could end up being one big play that turns out to be the difference maker, but which player is going to make it?

Last week the front page had a good feel for the Giants game as X-Factor selections Jourdan Lewis, Xavier Woods, Blake Jarwin, Michael Bennett, and Michael Gallup all came up big in the game. This week, we’ve compiled a new list of candidates as we make our best guess in determining which player will have a standout game on Sunday night.

Tom Ryle - Darian Thompson

He had a fumble recovery and was very solid in relief of Jeff Heath after the latter was injured and required stitches to his knee. Count me as one who thinks it would not be a bad idea to give Thompson more of Heath’s snaps, even if Heath is not restricted against the Vikings. I think Thompson may be a bit more consistent tackler, and really want to see how he does lined up with Xavier Woods in the secondary. The Cowboys have a pretty good history against Kirk Cousins, and I think Thompson could help continue that trend.

David Howman - Jourdan Lewis

Not only is he the ball god and could extend his takeaway streak, but I expect Dallas to use him as an edge blitzer more this week to counter Minnesota’s outside zone run offense. Add in that Lewis has yet to miss a tackle all year, and he should be in for another impactful game.

Michael Sisemore - La’el Collins

If the Cowboys are going to win this game, they have to protect Dak Prescott. Danielle Hunter has eight sacks on the season and will be a load to stop in this game. However, La’el Collins has taken on some of the best pass rushers in the league and has held up well. The Cowboys need Collins to do the same against one of the NFL’s best young pass rushers on Sunday night.

Matt Holleran - Leighton Vander Esch

After missing last week against NY, Vander Esch will return and have a big game against Minnesota. Dallas will have to stop Dalvin Cook and the Vikings’ rushing attack if they want to win this game, and I believe Vander Esch will help Dallas do just this.

Danny Phantom - Brett Maher

It doesn’t go unnoticed that Dan Bailey will be making his first appearance at AT&T Stadium since the team released him last year. The former Cowboys kicking legend is having a good year for Minnesota as he has been named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week twice this season. He’s been pretty sharp with his kicking this season, knocking down 13 of 15 attempts; however, he has missed two extra points. His replacement in Dallas, Brett Maher has missed five field goals on the year, but has hit all of his extra point attempts this year. Maher’s also hit three kicks over 50 yards this year, including a 62- and 63-yarder. Bailey hasn’t made any kicks over 50 yards this season. In a game with two evenly matched teams, don’t be surprised if one of these legs ends up being the deciding factor in this one, and my money is on Maher.

Michael Strawn - Tavon Austin

He’ll make three impact plays - one rushing, one catching and one returning - and earn “web-back player of the week” honors.


Who do you have as your X-Factor player of the game?