The Cowboys have won six in a row, and the Broncos have just snapped a four-game losing streak. The Broncos have also dealt the face of their franchise this week, and are dealing with a few impactful injuries coming into the week, so it’s easy to say that these two teams don’t have much in common heading into this week’s matchup.
Where they are similar however is at wide receiver and cornerback. Both teams have young quality players at the position. The Cowboys will need to be smart in their approach when it comes to covering Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy, as they are explosive, big-play wide receivers that can break open a game if you let them. On the other side, is a cornerback that Cowboys draft followers are very familiar with, in Patrick Surtain II. It is widely believed that if Denver hasn’t swooped in before the Cowboys to draft him, he would have a star on his helmet this week rather than a bronco. The Cowboys may try to test the young rookie, or maybe even go at his counterparts as the Broncos have dealt with some injury issues in their secondary.
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 Bronco, will have the biggest impact on Sunday’s game.
Dallas Cowboys X-Factor:
Tyron Smith is out for this game, and that is obviously an issue. Not having your massive, super-talented left tackle out their to protect your star QB who is coming off injury himself, causes one to have concern. In a corresponding move, it has been reported that Terence Steele will be lining up at Smith’s customary left tackle spot and the Cowboys will be inserting La’el Collins back into his usual right tackle position. Big picture, this move might be made so when Smith is back, Steele goes back to his swing tackle role and the Cowboys keep Collins at right tackle barring any other unforeseen issues. However, as far as this game goes on Sunday, Steele has a big task and an important role ahead of him.
Switching from the right side to left side is no easy task and that’s why this move and Terence Steele being this week’s left tackle is the Cowboys biggest X-Factor. You see it happen across the league all the time, player’s struggling and having growing pains when the move has been executed. It will be important to see how quickly Steele can settle in, and see if the Cowboys either help via chipping or play-calling to make things a little easier on the young offensive lineman. This may be only a one-week assignment (depending on Smith’s health), but it will be important for Steele to excel at his job Sunday for this Cowboys team to be successful in extending their winning streak to seven.
Denver Broncos X-Factor:
Bridgewater is a quarterback who is quietly playing quality football right now, and really has been a solid QB throughout his entire career. The journeyman has had a few stops along the way, but finds himself as the guy in Denver this season and has been doing the job efficiently. Bridgewater, much like our QB1, is on a small list of QBs who are completing his passes at a rate of over 70%, which tells me he is making smart decisions. With 13 touchdown passes and a QB rating of 100.6, Bridgewater has not been the problem for this Broncos team this year.
It will be important for the Cowboys to affect Bridgewater consistently. Much like the Cowboys, the Broncos will be without their starting left tackle as well. It’ll be key for Randy Gregory and the boys to produce consistent pressure, as they try to get the quarterback off his spot and make him uncomfortable. Bridgewater is the clear X-Factor for the simple fact that his performance dictates this whole game for the Broncos. If given time, and allowed to get in a rhythm, he has the weapons to disposal to make a team pay. Look for Dallas to dial up the pressure, and try to force Teddy Bridgewater to make bad decisions. How Bridgewater responds to those attempts will directly impact the outcome of this game.
The Dallas Cowboys should win on Sunday, but if they are going to then they need to take care of business in a couple of certain ways. We discussed them in our official Dallas Cowboys Preview Show on the Blogging The Boys YouTube Channel. Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel (which you can do right here) so you don’t miss any of our videos!