This week is a big one. The Dallas Cowboys head up north to take on their hated division rival, the Philadelphia Eagles, in an important midseason NFC East clash. A lot can be earned with a Cowboys win on Sunday and it will take a full game, full team effort to get it done.
The Eagles are 7-1 and have looked like the best team in football at times. However, on the other hand, they have looked beatable, even if they have found ways to overcome that multiple times this season. The Cowboys will have their hands full on Sunday, but they know what is at stake and we should expect to see the best version of the Cowboys against a familiar opponent.
Let’s take a closer look at this matchup and see who, on both teams, may end up being X-factors for Sunday’s game.
Dallas Cowboys X-factor:
One of the most underrated players in all of the NFL, DeMarcus Lawrence, will be a crucial part of the Cowboys' success on Sunday. While he does not command the type of sack numbers of the league leaders, what Lawrence does on the field on Sunday is invaluable to the Cowboys' defense.
While his sack numbers are questionable, when it comes to run defense Lawrence excels. He is known for being one of the most dominant run-stuffers in the league and plays with a tremendous motor on every single down. This is where the Cowboys need Lawrence to thrive on Sunday as the Eagles love to assert themselves on the ground, and it will be up to Lawrence and company to keep that element of this potent offensive attack in check.
Demarcus Lawrence is one of the most underrated defenders in the league pic.twitter.com/YxgOFyXdo5— AtoZ Sports Dallas (@AtoZDallas) October 3, 2023
Despite the assortment of weapons the Eagles possess, the Cowboys would be best served forcing the game into QB Jalen Hurts hands on Sunday. He has, by all metrics, been less efficient this season than he was last year, and is also playing injured with a mysterious knee injury.
Lawrence and company will need to be their best in their run defense and force the game away from what the Eagles want to do, which is keep the game on the ground and control the clock as they impose their will on opposing defenses.
Philadelphia Eagles X-factor:
With so many weapons to choose from both on offense and defense, D’Andre Swift has a chance to be a tremendous x-factor for the Eagles on Sunday. We know the Eagles like to run the ball, and when they do it well, they have no problem sticking with it over and over again. Swift is playing the best football of his career right now and that is no coincidence when you look at the talent he is running behind on the Eagles offensive line.
Stopping Swift and the Eagles' rushing attack will be priority number one on Sunday for the Cowboys. If the Eagles train gets rolling, it gets awfully difficult to get it to stop. Swift is a star in his own right, but it starts with winning the matchups up front and limiting the holes Swift is able to explode through.
Stop Swift, and you get the Eagles out of their element. It doesn't mean they can't still beat you, it just means they are going to have to do it a different way than they prefer to.