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Cowboys vs. Giants: Each team’s X-factor player for Sunday

The 2023 season is finally upon us and the Cowboys look to get off to a fast start versus a division foe.

New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve made it. Dallas Cowboys football is finally upon us as they prepare to take on their division rival, the New York Giants. Both teams are looking to start the season on the right foot in the highly competitive NFC East with this early season divisional matchup giving the winner an early upper hand.

The Cowboys swept the Giants last year in their two matchups, and despite the fans belief that the Cowboys just always find a way to beat their division foe, this is a much improved Giants team and the Cowboys can not afford to sleepwalk out the gate in this one. This game has the makings of a close one, and if so both teams will likely have an x-factor playing a pivotal role in the outcome. Let’s take a look at who it might be on Sunday night.

Dallas Cowboys X-factor:

Damone Clark

Indianapolis Colts v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys know what they have in Leighton Vander Esch, but outside of that, the linebacker room is very much a mystery. With DaMarvion Overshown out for the year and the Jabril Cox era coming to an end, all eyes are on Damone Clark to see if he is able to become a trusted piece in the middle along side LVE in hopes of securing second level of the Cowboys defense.

At every level of this Cowboys defense, there are stars and loads of talent, but the biggest question marks undoubtedly lie within the linebacker room. Clark has had a great camp and many are excited about his prospects of being an impact player in this league, but much like anything else with this Cowboys team, it needs to be seen first to be believed at this point.

Clark will be tasked with defending the run well and being able to be a plus player while in coverage when called upon. The Cowboys don’t have the deepest linebacker room at this time and even Clark just staying healthy for the season could be a huge thing for this group. The Giants will surely look to test the second level of this Cowboys defense and if Clark responds well to the challenge, it could be a good night for the Dallas Cowboys.

New York Giants X-factor:

Evan Neal

New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Cowboys pass rush is ferocious. With a wide array of guys who can flat out get after the quarterback, all eyes will be on Giants right tackle Evan Neal who looks to be weaker of the two tackles expected to start. On the left side the Giants have a star in Andrew Thomas, and while Parsons has had his way with Thomas in the past, the Cowboys know the path to success is to attack Neal early and often even if it isn’t Parsons doing so.

How Neal is able to hold up in pass protection with the onslaught Dan Quinn in this defense will send at him will be a crucial x-factor for the Giants and this game in totality. If the Cowboys are able to affect Daniel Jones all night, the Giants will have no path to success. Look for the Cowboys to isolate Neal whenever they can and look for this pass rush to have their way with the young tackle.

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