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

The Cowboys will look to get back to their winning ways. In order to do so, they will have to take care of business versus an Atlanta Falcons team that has playmakers.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys have just taken their first loss in over a month and a half and did so in an embarrassing fashion. Meanwhile on the other side, the Atlanta Falcons are winners of three of their last four games and look to be a tough game for a Cowboys team that is looking to get back on track.

Matt Ryan is fresh off winning Offensive Player of the Week for the NFC and it seems like Ryan and his offense has come into their own as of late. The challenge will be on this Cowboys defense to find a way to stop them and get back to their aggressive, opportunistic style of defense. This game will not be an easy one, but it is winnable nonetheless, as the Falcons have shown vulnerabilities so far this season. The Cowboys as a whole have a lot prove to the league, and to themselves quite frankly, so leaving no doubt versus this Falcons team will be a good start to getting back to where they want to be.

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 Falcon, will have the biggest impact on Sunday’s game.

Dallas Cowboys X-Factor:

Terence Steele

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Dallas Cowboys Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

For the second week in a row, all eyes will be on the backup tackle and his performance. His first showing was not one that left many inspired, and there was discussion among fans about what alternative solutions may be available to the Cowboys moving forward.

Most indications are that the Cowboys will be without Tyron Smith at left tackle for another week. Due to this week’s opponent being the Falcons, bad memories are creeping in from the last time the two teams played with a backup at the left tackle spot for the Cowboys. However this team is different, this staff is different, and this staff has made enough right decisions this year to feel good about the fact that they will make the necessary changes needed to allow for Steele to go out there and be successful. Long term, Steele is not the solution at left tackle, but in the short term in moments like this, all eyes will be on Steele as his play will be the X-Factor for the Cowboys on Sunday.

Atlanta Falcons X-Factor:

Cordarrelle Patterson

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Patterson is dynamic, he is electric, and he is a homerun hitter every time he has the ball in his hand. He plays running back, wide receiver, and does the special teams work as well. Many eyes will be on Kyle Pitts, and rightfully so, but this team goes as Cordarrelle Patterson goes.

The Cowboys will be best served to be mindful of where 84 is on the field. He is unafraid to run in between the tackles as a back, he has the obvious speed to hit the edge, and when he is out wide as a receiver he can be a matchup nightmare if not accounted for properly. If you limit his damage and find a way to contain Patterson, this team begins to rely on other weapons, and the Cowboys will be comfortable allowing them to try and beat them with those alternative weapons. For sheer volume, usage, and game-breaking skill alone, Patterson is a very easy choice for X-Factor on Sunday.


We discussed everything you need to know about Sunday’s game on our Dallas Cowboys Preview Show on the Blogging The Boys YouTube Channel. Make sure to subscribe to our channel (which you can do right here) so you don’t miss any of our videos!

WATCH OUR DALLAS COWBOYS PREVIEW SHOW RIGHT HERE.