Division won, December sweep, 2021 in the rearview. In a season that looks filled with promise and hope, everything the Cowboys set out to accomplish is still right in front of them. Not many other teams across the league can say the same thing.
The Arizona Cardinals come into town looking like Stella trying to get her groove back, and the Cowboys want no part of letting that happen. The Cardinals are losers of three straight and are battling injuries, but don’t let that fool you, they are a good football team. They are a playoff team and exactly the type of club the Cowboys will be facing going forward, and will need to conquer to hoist this year’s Lombardi Trophy. The game is winnable. It’s a tough matchup, undoubtedly, but a victory this week will go a long way in telling us just how good this Cowboys team can be this year.
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 member of the Cardinals, will have the biggest impact on Sunday’s game.
Dallas Cowboys X-Factor:
Tyron Smith (if he plays)
Tyron Smith looks to be back, and that is big news for this Cowboys offense any week of the year, but maybe even more so this week as the Cowboys square off against the likes of Chandler Jones. Jones has true game-wrecking ability and it will take a complete effort from this offensive line, and the entire unit as a whole to keep Dak Prescott upright and making plays.
All indications are that the outlook for Smith to play Sunday is good, and although Terence Steele has filled in admirably, this Cardinals defense may be the best unit the Cowboys have seen in over a month with some true playmakers on the defensive side on the ball. Whenever Smith is in the game you upgrade at the position, unquestionably. Having a future Hall of Famer protecting the blind side is such an advantage heading into the playoffs, and if he can stay healthy and on the field, he could be the X-Factor every week from here on out.
Arizona Cardinals X-Factor:
Kyler Murray is a Texas kid, he knows how important football is in the great state of Texas. Murray would love nothing more than to come home and put on another show. Murray also had some choice words for the Cowboys this offseason and the players and fans alike will be reminding him just how they felt about that all Sunday afternoon.
On the field Murray is a dynamic athlete, and he possess elite ability which make him the perfect X-Factor for this game. If the Cowboys control and contain Murray for 60 minutes, there is no reason why the Cowboys do not come out of Sunday night with a victory. Whether it be with a spy on him, or keeping a shell top on the defense to limit the big-play ability, or even just playing disciplined sound football when it comes to rush lanes and tackling, the Cowboys will have their hands full and will need to be textbook across the board to get the job done. This is a big game to prove to the rest of the league this Cowboys team is for real, and shutting down Kyler Murray is the games biggest X-Factor.