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Dallas Cowboys roster power rankings Week 13: A Giant step in the right direction

As the playoff picture becomes clearer, you can rely on these ten names to get the Cowboys in the postseason.

NFL: New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys’ Thanksgiving game against the New York Giants was a full-course meal. The appetizer (the first half) was as bland and disappointing as a family member who brings soup on Turkey day. It’s something you don’t expect and you are looking for something more.

Then what everyone came for, the turkey and stuffing (the second half), was better than expected. Everything tastes great, and there are no annual arguments between your two cousins who can’t get along. Dessert (Micah Parsons’ two sacks) was just a little something special to put a bow on a great family holiday.

With over 42 million people in their homes watching the Cowboys with plates of food in front of them, here are the top ten players from Dallas’ win over New York.

10. Damone Clark, LB

In the absence of Anthony Barr, Damone Clark has slid right in and continues to fly all over the field. In his fourth game of the season, Clark totaled a season-best seven tackles against the Giants.

For a player who is coming back from spinal fusion surgery, Clark shows no hesitancy when it comes to tackling. There might be a few reads where he looks out of sorts, but Clark looks like a different player from his game against the Chicago Bears. If Clark can keep showing coaches he belongs in the starting lineup, Barr might be on the bench for a while, even if he’s healthy.

9. Jake Ferguson, TE

Jake Ferguson had the highlight of the game, hurdling a Giants defender for a huge gain. It wasn’t the play of the game, but it shows fans what to expect if Dalton Schultz isn’t back next season.

Ferguson was one of the four targets Dak Prescott threw to most, totaling three catches for 57 yards. The hurdle and athleticism are impressive, but what stands out more is averaging 19 yards per reception. Ferguson was known for his run blocking coming from Wisconsin, but if he can develop his receiving skills, he might develop into one of the top tight ends in the NFL.

8. Michael Gallup, WR

Michael Gallup continues to get better and better the further removed he is from his ACL injury. He finished the game with five catches for 63 yards, averaging 12.6 yards a catch.

Dak Prescott found the sure-handed receiver whenever he needed a play on third down. When the Cowboys needed a touchdown on their third drive of the game, Gallup made some sensational third-down grabs to keep the momentum moving. Not to mention his 25-yard catch where he was bulldozing people and showed off his strength.

7. Zack Martin, OG

Whenever the Cowboys play a defense with a dominant defensive tackle, I circle that matchup to see how ZackMartin performs against them. He didn’t disappoint.

The rare holding call against Martin wasn’t even a hold. It was just him beating Leonard Williams and both falling to the ground. Williams was matched up with Martin for most of the game and is one of the best defensive tackles in football. Martin neutralized him from the game and showed great strength in his pass sets and run blocking.

6. Leighton Vander Esch, LB

After the Green Bay Packers loss, Micah Parsons spoke to the media about how the defense would have to come together and fix the run defense. There’s no better way to start seeing results than with the middle linebacker.

Leighton Vander Esch has found the fountain of youth two games in a row. He’s had a good season overall, but limiting Dalvin Cook and Saquon Barkley to under 100 yards rushing is no small task. Not only does he now lead the team in tackles with 75, but he has missed just four tackles on the season, which is only 5.3 percent. That’s the lowest of his career, according to PFF.

5. Dalton Schultz, TE

Mike McCarthy said a few weeks ago that he feels Dalton Schultz looks like the player he was before the knee injury against the Bengals. It certainly looked like it on Thanksgiving.

Schultz finished the night with four catches for 31 yards but had the Cowboys’ two biggest touchdowns.

4. Dak Prescott, QB

It started rocky for Dak Prescott with two interceptions in the first half, but he became lights out when the game needed to be put away. Prescott threw for 261 yards and two touchdowns, but his best throws of the night came when he was under pressure.

Prescott is known to be great against the blitz, but he was under much more pressure than he is used to seeing. The Giants’ defense registered 23 total pressures, which is the most Prescott has seen all season, and it showed. His throws to CeeDee Lamb on the sideline and the touchdown throw to Dalton Schultz are reasons why he can be in the top-five quarterback conversation. If he can find a way to run a little more with his legs, then he will undoubtedly be in that category.

3. CeeDee Lamb, WR

The Cowboys’ offense needs more explosive plays, but from other players besides CeeDee Lamb. There should be no debating that Lamb is Dallas’ No. 1 receiver. Ever since Amari Cooper left, he’s had big shoes to fill. It took a while to come around, but Lamb is becoming a dynamic playmaker for the Cowboys.

His one-handed catch was the best of the night, but his almost-touchdown was even better. Lamb had over 100 yards for the second time in three weeks and is now second in the NFC in receiving yards behind Justin Jefferson. Even if Odell Beckham Jr. comes to Dallas, Lamb will remain the team’s No. 1 target.

2. Ezekiel Elliott, RB

One of Mike McCarthy’s underrated traits as head coach is knowing the health of his team. When Ezekiel Elliott injured his knee against the Detroit Lions, McCarthy talked about how it’s a 20-game season, and Elliott needed rest to be himself come Thanksgiving onward. McCarthy was right again.

After Elliott was able to rest for three weeks, he looked like his old self against the Giants. When the offense struggled in the first half, Elliott was the only one to bring some juice. He had his old burst back, and the touchdown run was reminiscent of his 2016 self. It was only fitting that the player who has “feed me” as his trademark had himself a game on turkey day.

1. Micah Parsons, DE/LB

Along with Elliott, the Lion, Micah Parsons, is another player that likes to be fed. In baseball, a team can only have true postseason success if they have a strong closer. The position doesn’t exist in football, but Parsons has undoubtedly become that for the Cowboys.

After Dallas took the lead coming out of halftime to make it 14-13, New York’s offense was looking to respond with points of their own. On second and five from the Giants’ 41-yard line, Parsons breaks through for his first sack. That knocked the Giants back, and they turned the ball over on downs when they couldn’t convert on fourth down.

His second sack of the game was more impressive going against left tackle Andrew Thomas, who’s regarded as one of the best in the NFL. It looked like Thomas jumped early to try and defend Parsons, but it was no match for his speed. The Giants tried to go for it on fourth down again and couldn’t convert. If he can be this dominant down the final six games of the season, Parsons should be able to run away with Defensive Player of the Year honors.

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