Another week, another game in which key matchups could sway the end result one way or the other for the Dallas Cowboys. This Week 17 matchup with the Arizona Cardinals is particularly intriguing. These are two talented teams with Super Bowl aspirations in the NFC, giving this head-to-head battle a playoff-like vibe.
The Cowboys and Cardinals kind of find themselves on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of recent games. Dallas has enjoyed a winning month of December, while Arizona is currently on a three-game losing streak. That losing streak could be extended to four in a row if Mike McCarthy and Company can exploit a few of these key matchups this week.
Tyron Smith vs. Chandler Jones
After missing a few games with an ankle injury, Tyron Smith has a good chance to reinsert himself as Dak Prescott’s blindside protector this week against the Arizona Cardinals. That’s good news for the Dallas Cowboys with Chandler Jones coming to town. He’s been one of the more consistent and feared pass rushers in the league for several years now and has already accumulated 9.5 quarterback sacks this year. While Terence Steele has performed admirably at left tackle, getting No. 77 back is a big upgrade to Dallas’ offensive line.
Cowboys’ pass rush vs. Kyler Murray
The Cowboys pass rush has been harassing opposing QBs at will lately and hope to make Kyler Murray their next victim. Murray was a problem for them a season ago throwing for 188 yards and two touchdowns while adding another 74 yards rushing and a TD on the ground. They had no answer for the him then, but this is a different, and much more confident, defense he’ll be facing now. With DeMarcus Lawrence, Randy Gregory, and Micah Parsons chasing him down things should be much more difficult this time around.
Dak Prescott vs. Arizona’s secondary
It remains to be seen, but it really looked as if Dak Prescott climbed out of the slump that he was in last week against the Football Team and will be looking to carry over that success in Week 17 against the Arizona Cardinals. Fortunately for him, the Cardinals are a bit banged up in their secondary right now, which could lead to the Cowboys QB having yet another successful day Sunday afternoon. That would be a huge confidence booster for No. 4 heading into the season-finale against the Philadelphia Eagles and for the playoffs as well.