What has transpired over the first month of the season for this Dallas Cowboys team is nothing short of miraculous. The fact we are sitting here it the first week of October riding high on a three-game winning streak is surely something unexpected. Cooper Rush has risen to the occasion thus far, and the Cowboys will look for him to do so once again in what could be his last appearance before the the reemergence of Dak Prescott.
Even though there is respect that comes with being the defending Super Bowl champions, we would be remised to leave out the fact that the Rams have had their struggles so far this season. Issues on the offensive line, Stafford and company not producing points at a rate they are accustomed too, and a long list of injuries they have had to overcome has led them to a 2-2 start on the year. The Rams still have more than enough talent to beat this Cowboys team, and with the idea of avoiding going below .500, head coach Sean McVay and staff will surely pose a tough test for this Cowboys team.
These two individuals, one a Cowboy, one a member of the Rams, will have the biggest impact on Sunday’s game.
Dallas Cowboys X-factor:
Jourdan Lewis/DaRon Bland (availability pending)
Jourdan Lewis injured himself before last week’s contest versus the Commanders in pregame warm ups and as a result did not see any snaps for week four. There is a chance that he could be good to go for Sunday’s contest versus the Rams and the Cowboys will need him if available as the game’s best slot wide receiver, Cooper Kupp, will most likely be his assignment. If Lewis is unable to play, all eyes will be on the rookie DaRon Bland, fresh off his first defensive action and first interception, to step up to the plate for another challenge. It will be all hands on deck against Kupp and Dan Quinn and staff will do their very best to limit his impact. The Cowboys could move Diggs inside to help cover Kupp at times. But where the X-factor lies on Sunday is simply whether Lewis or Bland can do enough to keep Kupp in check when it’s their turn to cover him.
Cowboys CB Jourdan Lewis missed Sunday’s game with a groin issue. Felt muscle tighten in pregame warmups, and it didn’t loosen. “I’m glad it was nothing major,” Lewis said. He is hopeful to face Rams on Sunday.— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) October 6, 2022
Daron Bland First Career INT— Sidelines - FresnoState (@SSN_FresnoState) October 2, 2022
Cooper Kupp has seen 10+ targets in every game but one so far this season and is clearly Matthew Stafford’s go to guy in any situation. Four games into the season Kupp has three 100 yard games and 42 receptions. Whether it is Lewis or Bland, both need to understand they are going to be in for a battle and it needs to be one that they win more times than they lose for this Cowboys team to have a chance Sunday. Lewis is a tough and physical player who has the mentality and swagger to go toe-to-toe with a player like Kupp, while Bland showed some toughness and grit to get his first real action on 15 minutes notice.
The Cowboys will likely use a combination of players to try and keep Kupp from going off, and Lewis/Bland figure to see time on him throughout the game. This matchup is crucial and for that reason the combination of Jourdan Lewis and or DaRon Bland is this week’s Cowboys X-factor.
Dallas Cowboys X-factor:
Sometimes the easy answer is simply just the correct answer. When you talk about an X-factor, someone who can ruin your day and completely disrupt your offensive attack, look no further than Aaron Donald. Donald is the best player in football and the only other person who is even remotely in the conversation wears number 11 with a star on his helmet, but the fact remains that Donald has been the guy for quite some time now. The way he is able to beat lineman, fight through double teams and live in the backfield is done in such a dominant way, the only thing left for Donald to do is be suited for his gold jacket in Canton, OH.
How Aaron Donald pull slides— Craig Roh (@craigroh) October 1, 2022
The Cowboys coaching staff is very aware of the challenge Donald brings and best believe the offensive game plan will be focused around neutralizing Aaron Donald as best they can. Look for Rush to get the ball out quickly and look for this offense to scheme ways to try and run away from Donald. Add to the fact that when at all possible look for the Cowboys to find a way to get two or three people in his general area at all times to stop him from imposing his will on this offensive line. Do not be fooled by the Rams record, this team is littered with players that are game wreckers. Aaron Donald is the biggest one of them all and makes him maybe the easiest choice for an opponent X-factor all year.