November is over, and we can all be thankful for that. After the Cowboys went 1-3 in the month, its time to turn the page to December as the Cowboys look to get back on track Thursday night in New Orleans.
All can be forgotten and forgiven if the Cowboys go out in the last month of the year and take care of business. Without getting ahead of themselves, the Cowboys will look to get back to their winning ways against a banged up Saints team that is starting Taysom Hill as a way to spark their offensive unit.
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 Saint, will have the biggest impact on Thursday’s game.
Dallas Cowboys X-Factor:
All indications are that Ezekiel Elliott will be playing as he carries no injury designation into the week, however we all know that does not mean he is the picture of health at the moment. The Cowboys will finally have their five starting offensive line playing together as a unit for the first time since 2019 and the Cowboys may look to the run to get back to controlling games, the time of possession, and to open up the passing attack.
Insert Tony Pollard. Pollard has been an absolute spark for this team, whether it be offensively or on special teams, Pollard has been a playmaker. Look for an increased role for Pollard as the Cowboys protect Zeke from himself and limit his carries. Pollard’s ability to hit chunk yards, but also find ways to continuously net positive returns in the run game, coupled with his projected increased role on Thursday night, makes him an easy X-Factor choice this week. If Pollard is able to eclipse 100 yards on the ground and a touchdown or two, while maintaining control of the ball, there is every reason to believe the Cowboys can walk out of Thursday night victorious.
New Orleans Saints X-Factor:
The uniqueness of Taysom Hill alone makes him such an easy X-Factor for the Cowboys to hone in on. Hill runs like a running back, catches like a tight end, and is back their slinging the rock as a quarterback. A true jack of all trades will be behind center for the Saints on Thursday night, and the Cowboys will have to prepare and be ready for it all.
Now, nobody is confusing Hill for Drew Brees in the pocket as a passer, but what the Cowboys will need to be careful about is understanding what element he can bring to the game. He has the ability to take off when the pocket breaks down, he will run QB sweeps and draws with efficiency, and on any given play the Cowboys have to be prepared for anything. Hit Hill early and often, disrupt his timing, and make him uncomfortable in this role all night long and the Cowboys should be well on their way to their eight with of the season.