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Cowboys at Bills: Buffalo QB Josh Allen must avoid turnovers for Bills to be successful

The latest news from the Bills’ side of things.

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Dallas Cowboys Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Bills RB James Cook motivated to ‘keep producing’ amid recent burst on offense - Patrick Warren, BuffaloBills.com

James Cook knows that the better you play, the more touches you’ll get.

Across the Bills’ last four games, Cook has averaged nearly 116 total yards per game as he continues to be a threat as both a rusher and pass catcher. The second-year running back has been elusive and explosive, as seen in his 25-yard touchdown catch against the Kansas City Chiefs last Sunday.

The Bills ran a similar play in their 37-34 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles two weeks prior, and Cook dropped the pass that would have led to a walk-in touchdown.

“It’s been a lot of ups and downs during the whole season. But I try to stay steady and whenever my name and my opportunity presents itself, I try to answer the bell,” Cook said.

The running back answered the bell plenty of times against the Chiefs, averaging 9.4 yards per touch and playing a crucial role in the Bills’ nail-biting conference win. Over the past four games, Cook has averaged around 6.5 yards per touch.

For Cook, his motivation to keep performing on the field is simple.

“The more you produce, the more the ball is going to find you so I just try to keep producing and making plays for my team,” Cook said.

Setting up the run game will undoubtedly be a key to Buffalo’s success against the Cowboys, who rank near the middle of the league with 106 rushing yards allowed per game. The front four for the Cowboys, led by defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa and edge Micah Parsons, are well-known for their dominance in the pass rush, but pose a serious threat in the run game as well.

“They come off the ball, they fire off the ball, they’re very good players and you just have to be ready to go,” Cook said of the Dallas D.

5 biggest questions for the Buffalo Bills against the Dallas Cowboys - Brandon Croce, Buffalowdown.com

Preventing turnovers is important for Buffalo’s success.

Can Josh Allen avoid throwing an interception?

Whichever team protects the football better in this game could end up deciding the outcome in this game. The Buffalo Bills defense ranks second in the NFL with 23 takeaways while the Cowboys are not far behind with 21 takeaways.

The difference between the two teams is how many times they turn it over as the Bills have 19 turnovers while the Cowboys have only 11. One of the big culprits for the turnovers for the Buffalo Bills has been Josh Allen.

The Bills quarterback has thrown at least one interception in nine straight games and will need to protect the football in this game. The Cowboys cornerback DaRon Bland currently leads the league with eight interceptions while returning five of them for touchdowns.

When going against an offense like the Cowboys, the last thing the Buffalo Bills can do is give them a short field or even an opportunity to return it for a touchdown.

Can the Buffalo Bills keep the Cowboys offense under 30 points?

The Dallas Cowboys currently lead the NFL in points scored per game with an average of 32.4 points per game. Particularly as of late, the Cowboys have been putting up huge point totals in games and currently have scored 30 or more points in five straight games.

This will be a good test for the Bills defense who did a good job containing Patrick Mahomes but did struggle slowing down Jalen Hurts and the Eagles offense before the bye.

Bills defense to be without Micah Hyde, A.J. Epenesa in Week 15 vs. Cowboys, per Sean McDermott - Jared Dubin, CBS Sports

Buffalo’s defense will be missing two of its biggest stars this week.

The Bills are set to face one of their toughest tests of the season this weekend, though, when they welcome the Dallas Cowboys to Buffalo.

And now, according to head coach Sean McDermott, they will head into that matchup shorthanded on the defensive side of the ball. McDermott said Friday that both safety Micah Hyde and defensive end A.J. Epenesa will miss Sunday’s game with their respective injuries, via Syracuse.com.

Hyde previously missed one game this season — Buffalo’s 24-22 loss to the Broncos back in Week 10. He had otherwise played 80% of the team’s snaps or more in every game before getting injured this past weekend against Kansas City. He is an extremely important piece on the back end of Buffalo’s defense, and an especially important one in the wake of all the injuries the Bills have dealt with this season on the second and third levels.

Dallas loves to challenge defenses in the middle of the field, especially with CeeDee Lamb and Jake Ferguson. Defending the middle was already one of the Bills’ weaknesses on defense, and it will only be tougher to take that area of the field away from the Cowboys without Hyde.

Epenesa, meanwhile, is fourth on the team in total pressures this season, behind Ed Oliver, Greg Rousseau and Leonard Floyd. They still have some pretty good depth on the edge, but rushing the passer as often as the Cowboys drop back to pass is difficult, and it’s best to be able to rotate bodies in and out. With the Dallas offensive line having protected Dak Prescott extremely well all year, the Bills need all systems operational along the defensive front, and not having Epenesa is less than ideal.

‘Himothy!’ Dallas Cowboys Star Micah Parsons Earns Respect of Buffalo Bills - Anthony Licciardi, Sports Illustrated

The Bills’ offensive line is well-aware of the challenge of containing Micah Parsons.

Few things in football are more infrequent than an offensive lineman admitting he’s scared. So, Dallas Cowboys fans will have to settle for their opponents tipping the cap before a road game against the Buffalo Bills.

Make no mistake, the Bills know an elite Cowboys pass rush is just days away from trying to wreak havoc on their playoff chances. They’re fighting for the right to make the AFC playoffs while Dallas hones in on an NFC East championship.

This week, Buffalo left tackle – and Walter Payton Man of the Year award nominee – Dion Dawkins spoke about the challenges that come with facing superstar edge rusher Micah Parsons.

“For him to be that strong and that physical and to be that size – not calling him little, but he’s smaller than the average guys, compared to like a Myles Garrett – so those guys are always the anomaly,” Dawkins said of the 6-3, 250-pound Parsons. “Because they’re drastically different, and they’re great players.

“But Parsons is ‘Himothy,’ times two, so we understand.”

Dawkins himself is having a nice year, ranking inside the top 16 in Pro Football Focus’ offense and pass-blocking grades, but he’s well aware of how dangerous Parsons is. The Cowboys superstar is challenged only by Garrett and San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa for the title of best edge rusher in the sport.

With 12.5 sacks, Parsons is once again amongst the league’s elite. Parsons and Bosa are tied for the most pressures in football, and only Garrett ranks higher by PFF’s pass rush win rate. He’s certifiably elite, but he’s not alone on a strong Dallas front.

Here is the final Week 15 injury report for the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills.

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