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Cowboys vs. Commanders: Each team’s X-factor player for Sunday

The 2-1 Cooper Rush-led Cowboys look to make it three in a row versus a struggling division foe.

Dallas Cowboys v New York Giants Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The mood around this Cowboys team is a night and day difference than what it was almost three weeks ago. Then, QB1 was hurt, the team played a bad football game in week one, and the future of this season looked murky at best at the end of that night. The 180 degree turn of emotion on this season has been truly astounding to see.

This defense has proven they are the real deal and have only allowed three touchdowns in three games. Cooper Rush has been everything this team needed as a backup QB, and the connection between him and Noah Brown is evident as Brown has produced meaningful snaps early in this season.

There are a lot of things to be intrigued by from this Cowboys team, and a win on Sunday will be their third in a row and their second division win in four weeks. Beyond this week, the Dak watch becomes real, and so does the level of talent they have to face. This game is a big early season matchup to keep the Cowboys locked into where they would like to go.

These two individuals, one a Cowboy, one a member of the Commanders, should have an interesting impact on Sunday’s game.

Dallas Cowboys X-factor: Jason Peters

Dallas Cowboys v New York Giants Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

We saw Jason Peters kick inside and play 14 snaps at left guard on Monday night. In his limited reps he made his impact felt and showed that this 40 year old still has something left in the tank. That’s great news for the Cowboys, and heading into week four, Peters finds himself as an X-factor for this Cowboys team.

All indications are that the Cowboys are going to increase his playing time, and what exactly that looks like still remains to be seen. Regardless, it’s clear that Peters’ experience and talent can elevate this offensive line and the team would be better served giving him a full allotment of snaps at left guard over Matt Farniok if he is able to do so.

The Washington Commanders have a tough, respected defensive line, one that is capable of giving this young Cowboys offensive line trouble. Inserting a player like Jason Peters in there would allow for a veteran presence that would not be easily fooled in any games or stunts they may throw at them, as well as being able to assist Tyler Smith on the outside with his communication. The presence of two future Hall of Fame players at guard with Peters and Zack Martin will give Rush and the rest of the offense peace of mind regarding the interior of that line. As we draw closer to game day we may get a clearer picture of what Peters’ role looks like, but his presence and how the Cowboys decide to use him may very well be the X-factor Sunday.

Washington Commanders X-factor: Curtis Samuel

Washington Commanders v Detroit Lions Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Curtis Samuel is a dynamic player that is capable of hitting big plays in the air and on the ground. The Commanders have been finding ways to get him going and it feels like they’re on the brink of force feeding him more touches. It is safe to say Terry McLaurin and Trevon Diggs are going to have their typical battles outside with the player having the upper hand that day dictating a lot of the action on Sunday. But what is an X-factor for the Commanders is just how they use Samuel, and how creative they get in giving him the football. The Commanders haven’t had a great start to the season but the talent is there to burn you if you are not ready to play.

This Cowboys defense, led by Dan Quinn, isn’t going to be surprised by anything. Quinn will have the unit ready for whatever the Commanders throw at them, but the presence of Curtis Samuel is something to watch for. As the season continues, wrinkles are added, players get comfortable in their role, and in a situation where a team like Washington needs to find a way to win, often times that makes for a dangerous team. How the Cowboys handle the many roles of Curtis Samuel on Sunday will be this week’s X-factor.

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