A lot has happened over the last week for the Dallas Cowboys. A victory that felt very unsettling, topped off by some impactful injuries to key players and the addition to the roster of others, the week prior has left this team looking to get back on track on Sunday and take home their 11th win of the season. Dallas heads to Jacksonville to face a Jaguars team that hasn’t been consistent in their play this season but certainly have shown the capabilities to be a tough team to play on any given Sunday.
The impact on the game is simple for the Cowboys. Win and they’re in the playoffs. Simple enough, but also a win keeps them within striking range for the division with the Philadelphia Eagles. There is no reason whatsoever for this Cowboys team to look past this week’s opponent. A lot can be earned with a victory and a lot more questions will be asked in defeat.
Dallas Cowboys X-factor: Tyron Smith
We’ve waited all season long for this debut and it looks to be finally happening this Sunday. As good as that is for the Cowboys, there seems to be a lot of questions and possible scenarios for what exactly Smith’s day is going to look like. According to some reports there is a chance he could get reps and even start at right tackle for the Cowboys. Something he has not done since his rookie season. Head coach Mike McCarthy has come out and said that they will be multiple on the line and will sort out the best options for the five men up front.
Either way, whether it’s on the right side, the left side, starting or on a pitch count, having Tyron Smith available is a massive x-factor for this Cowboys team. The loss of Terence Steele hurts this team going forward but it is not every day a team can say they replaced their starting tackle with a future Hall of Famer, and the Cowboys have two guys on their roster that you can say that about if you include Jason Peters into the mix. No matter the effect Tyron Smith has on this week’s game, the goal in mind is to get him right and situated to be more settled for next weeks Eagles clash and the playoffs moving forward and lock him back into a starting spot on this line.
Jacksonville Jaguars X-factor: Trevor Lawrence
The first overall pick from two years ago is rounding into form here as of late and looks to be every bit of the talent the league thought he was coming into it. While that is good for the Jaguars and their future prospects, it is less than ideal for this Cowboys secondary that is down two starters at the cornerback position. The focus will be on impacting Lawrence any way they can. Whether that is getting him off his timing, his spot in the pocket, or putting hits on him when able to, this Cowboys team knows if they want to disrupt this offense it starts with the quarterback.
The Jaguars have spent a lot of money in free agency and they do have some solid weapons around Lawrence, guys like Evan Engram, Christian Kirk, and Zay Jones to name a few. The Cowboys defense have some things to prove after last week as does the rest of the team, but the defense will look to get a stranglehold on this game early on and leave no doubt en route to their 11th win of the year.