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Cowboys mailbag: Questions about the defense heading into the playoffs

People have questions about the Cowboys as the playoffs approach, and we strive to provide answers.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Tennessee Titans Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Every week, we will be taking questions on Twitter about the upcoming Dallas Cowboys game and other questions surrounding the team. So let’s get right into it.

@JoeTranchina: Do you think the way our defense is playing we can win a playoff game on the road?

Brandon: They can win a playoff game with this defense. They are missing Leighton Vander Esch and Johnathan Hankins, but both should be back for the Wild Card matchup with whoever wins the NFC South. The young guys need reps right now, and thankfully they have been getting that to end the season. Nahshon Wright specifically could use the in-game work at cornerback as he is taking over for Anthony Brown.

Mike: The offense looks to be back on the up and has had it’s hiccup period. Last year around this time the offense looked to be stalling and everything hinged on the defense. This time around that narrative has reversed. If the struggles this defense has had recently due to injuries are slowly getting resolved, then confidence will slowly be getting restored.

@JosephDelCastilloSr: Will Parsons get back to his game?

Brandon: I 100 percent think so. There’s something about playing in the playoffs that gets a player to perform better, knowing it’s win or go home. If the Philadelphia Eagles beat the New Orleans Saints this weekend and lock up the NFC East, I could see Dallas telling Parsons he’s resting against the Washington Commanders for Week 18. Playing defensive end for the majority have the season has certainly worn him down, but if he gets an extra week off, he’ll be ready to go for the playoffs.

Mike: I get the question when Micah has been such a dominant force this year, and then goes a little silent. When you look at his game though, apart from a couple of games this year, not much has changed. The sack numbers have slowed down, but Parsons leads the league in pressures. As long as he’s getting back there and causing mistimed throws, forcing the quarterback to throw away or be off on his timing, then he’s still got Micah magic. The sacks will come, with great pressure always comes great sacks.

@AndyCochrane: What’s happened to Jabril Cox?

Brandon: He still needs more time to grow as a player. He’s in the same boat as Jalen Tolbert, where another year in the system will do them good. The pre-draft buzz around Jabril Cox put high expectations on him with a second-round grade. The Cowboys got him in the fourth round, which looked like a steal, but maybe that’s where he was supposed to be drafted all along. I see him getting a lot of work next week against the Commanders.

Mike: We’ve had this question a couple of times. But basically the guys ahead of him are just better. It really is as simple as that. When Anthony Barr came on the scene and Damone Clark became healthy, that just pushed Cox down the pecking order. Cox still has a role for Dallas as that hybrid cover type off-ball linebacker. He’s getting his snaps on special teams, so the best he can do right now is impress the coaches that way and maybe get more play time that way.

@DarrenDicks: Will the Cowboys make it to the Super Bowl?

Brandon: That’s the ultimate question, right? The fan in me says, ‘of course they make it,’ but the realist in me knows there is a lot that needs to go right for it to happen. For instance, if the Green Bay Packers sneak into the playoffs, they might have the best chance to beat the No. 2 seed (Minnesota or San Francisco). If they do that and Dallas beats Tampa Bay or Carolina, the Cowboys would travel to whoever was the three seed, and the Packers go to Philadelphia in the Divisional round. Out of all the lower-seeded teams, maybe the Lions, if they sneak in, I’d take the odds of Aaron Rodgers beating Jalen Hurts in the playoffs. Then it would be the Cowboys at home against Green Bay in the Championship game. If you go back and listen to our BTB roundtable podcast episode (wherever you get your podcasts), we broke down a lot of playoff scenarios.

Mike: That’s the big question. I hate to be the guy saying this is our year, but go through the checklist every Super Bowl bound team has on their roster. Solid quarterback play, Cowboys check. A good consistent running back room with a decent backup, Cowboys check. At least one high-end reliable wide receiver, Cowboys check. Finally a game winning defense, hold the check on that for now. Check the last box and I’ll jump on Lombardi train with Brandon.

Be sure to check @kenfigkowboy and @brandoniswrite on Twitter for the weekly post, asking you for your questions for the weekly mailbag

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