The Dallas Cowboys and the Minnesota Vikings are two well-coached teams with offensive star power, coming off a bye week, riding high on their own winning streaks, and squaring off on Halloween Night to possibly determine playoff seeding down the road. Yeah, this game offers a ton to look forward to.
Each team has their own complement of weapons and both teams will need to play clean, sound football or there is a chance for a big play to be hit at any time. Dalvin Cook is a stud running back, Adam Theilen has been playing at a high level for a while now, and Justin Jefferson is a certified star in this league. It will be a tall task for this Cowboys defense, and how well they fare may very well be the indication of how we feel at the conclusion of Sunday night. The Cowboys will need to be on point at every level to walk out of Minnesota with a win on Sunday night, and limiting mental mistakes will go a long way in securing a sixth straight win heading into November.
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 Viking, will have the biggest impact on Sunday’s game.
Dallas Cowboys X-Factor:
In most cases picking the star quarterback to be an X-Factor is low hanging fruit. However, this week there is no one who fits the description more perfectly. Will Dak play? Most assume he will, but its not a absolute certainty at this point. If he does play, is he effective? Who can tell at this juncture, you hope if he is out there and is able to play it is with little to no limitations.
One of Dak’s many strengths is ability to move the pocket and get out in space. We will all have to watch and see if the calf at all limits that ability. Dak has the skill set to sit in the pocket and pick a team apart, but when it comes to a third-down situation or late-game scenario where you have to have it, will he have the physical capabilities to do so? These questions can be answered early in the game if he shows that ability to be his athletic and improvising self, but the fact remains Dak and his health is by far the biggest X-Factor in this week’s matchup.
Minnesota Vikings X-Factor:
The Vikings will have their hands full trying to stop this Cowboys offensive attack and the player who will bare most of the responsibility is Eric Kendricks. The Cowboys are one of the best running teams in the league, while also possessing one of the best tight end tandems the league has to offer as well. Look for Dallas to establish the run with a heavy dose of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard while also looking for ways to gash this defense in the middle of the field with Dalton Schultz and Blake Jarwin through the air.
Kendricks will have his hand in all of it. He will look to fill in the run and be looked to run with these tight ends down the field. Kendricks is a terrific football player, but this offense offers so much to defend and he certainly will have a lot on his plate if the Vikings are going to be successful in upsetting the Dallas Cowboys. Look for the Cowboys to put this front seven in a bind with their running game and how they choose to attack the second level with Schultz and Jarwin, and just how Kendricks and his teammates handle it will certainly be the X-Factor for Sunday night.