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Cowboys vs. Giants: Each team’s X-Factor player for Sunday

The Cowboys look to push their winning streak to four games. In order to do so they will have to take care of business versus a hated rival.

Dallas Cowboys v New York Giants Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The Cowboys are red-hot heading into week five and are looking to keep the good feelings going as the hated New York Giants roll into town. Coming off the heels of a quality win versus a good Carolina Panthers team, it will be important for the Cowboys to not look past the Giants. The Cowboys may be better than the Giants in many areas, but in the NFL, versus a division rival, anything can happen, and as far as talent goes, this Giants team does have some players to worry about.

The Cowboys are catching a break as a couple of their contributors are coming back into the fold with the return of Keanu Neal and Bradlea Anea, while on the other side the Giants will be without Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, and Jabrill Peppers, with a few other key players iffy and less than 100% at best as well. The league has very little sympathy for injured opponents and it will be next man up for both teams as the Cowboys look to take advantage of the Giants misfortunes.

You can look at all three phases of both these teams and convincingly state that there is an X-Factor on all three units. However, these two individuals, one a Cowboy, one a Giant, will have the biggest impact on Monday’s game.

Dallas Cowboys X-Factor:

Anthony Brown

New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

We all know by now how well Trevon Diggs has been playing as he rapidly climbs the charts of most feared cornerbacks in the league, however the play of his counterpart on the other side will be the X-Factor for this game. Anthony Brown will be tasked with handling Kadarius Toney, John Ross, and whoever else the Giants deploy in Shepard and Slayton’s absence, while Diggs looks to lock down Kenny Golladay.

Golladay will present a challenge for Diggs but the way Diggs has been playing, there is no reason to think he won’t be up for the challenge and there may even be less opportunities for Diggs to see action his way as quarterbacks begin to shy away from number 7 out of respect. Brown will need to be on point in his matchup to ensure that the other wide receivers the Giants trot out there don’t break this game open. Look for Brown to be tested early and often by Daniel Jones and just how Anthony Brown responds to those challenges, may very well tell the story of this game.

New York Giants X-Factor:

Saquon Barkley

NFL: SEP 08 Giants at Cowboys Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Saquon Barkley, the supremely talented and super explosive running back for the New York Giants, is absolutely the biggest key for the Cowboys on Sunday. We know with Jason Garrett calling plays the Giants will look to establish the run and will look to get Barkley going early and often to set up the play-action pass and create opportunities for Jones and their passing attack.

Look for the Cowboys to focus on Barkley and try and force Jones to beat them. Barkley’s big-play ability is something to fear and respect. The Cowboys defense will need to be technically sound in their run fits as well as in their tackling technique. Barkley is strong, elusive, and can score from any where on the football field. His game-breaking ability is the best option the Giants possess on offense and if he is allowed to get in a rhythm they can execute their plan of playing keep away and shorten this game to their advantage. The Cowboys would be best to let the game be in Jones’ hands, especially since he is down two wide receivers, rather than letting Barkley run all over them. That’s why Saquon Barkley, and specifically stopping him, is the X-Factor on Sunday.