The bye week for the Dallas Cowboys is officially over. Hopefully they took full advantage of the little time they had off, because the grueling part of the 2023 season is staring them right in the face. It's make or break time and it starts this week with the Los Angeles Rams.
Today, we are going to take a look at a few key matchups that could sway the game either in the Cowboys favor, or the other way. How these individual matchups end up playing out could be the difference between walking away with a victory this week, or another unfortunate loss. If things go as planned though, putting another "W" in the win column wouldn't be a surprise.
Cowboys' LG Tyler Smith vs. Rams' DT Aaron Donald
At 32 years old, Aaron Donald may have lost a little bit of a step, however, he still has more than enough gas left in the tank to be a game-wrecker if not kept in check. That could be Tyler Smith's primary responsibility in this Week 8 matchup against the Rams. Zack Martin may get to face off with him from time to time, but it will likely be the second-year LG who will be tasked to limit Donald's impact on the game more times than not. Fortunately for Dallas, Smith is playing at a really high level right now and should be able to hold his own.
Cowboys' secondary vs. Rams' WR Puka Nacua
The Dallas Cowboys know all about Cooper Kupp and how much he can impact the game by himself, but they now must know about the Rams rookie sensation, WR Puka Nacua. The fifth-round pick out of BYU this year has been shredding every team’s secondary he's faced thus far this season. He is currently the second-leading receiver in yards behind only A.J. Brown with 752 receiving yards, putting him on pace for a staggering 1,826-yard season. Containing both he and Kupp will be Dallas' top priority in this Week 8 matchup.
Cowboys' DE Micah Parsons vs. Rams' LT Alaric Jackson
The best chance for the Dallas Cowboys to limit the impact of both Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua have in the passing game is for Micah Parsons to continuously harass QB Matthew Stafford. That could be easier said than done though. Alaric Jackson and Rob Havenstein, the Rams starting offensive tackles, have only allowed one sack each this season. If No. 11 can get the better of them more times than not, that could sway the game further in Dallas' favor and help them walk away with the "W".