With the Dallas Cowboys playing for their playoff lives this Sunday against the Oakland Raiders, here are three Cowboys to watch closely.
The 7-6 Dallas Cowboys will face the 6-7 Oakland Raiders this Sunday night in a primetime matchup that could end a postseason berth for either team. For Dallas, it’s seemingly about surviving one more week until the return of suspended running back Ezekiel Elliott.
But the Cowboys must be careful not to overlook the dangerous Raiders, who still have some difference makers on both sides of the ball that could quickly sour Dallas’ season. With that in mind, here are three Dallas Cowboys players that I believe will be critical to the team getting the “W” on Sunday Night Football this weekend.
La’el Collins, Right Tackle
Due to a bad back, starting right tackle La’el Collins was unable to participate in any practices the previous two weeks. Yet somehow, the 24-year old was able to put up his best two back-to-back performances this season. It’s honestly amazing what Collins has been able to do!
This week, the third-year offensive lineman was limited during practice sessions on Thursday and Friday. And Collins faces two tough pass rushers this week in Oakland’s Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin. The young tackle’s play on Sunday night will go a long way in determining the outcome of this contest.
Rod Smith, Running Back
Third-year running back Rod Smith racked up 162 yards of offense and two touchdowns last weekend against the New York Giants. That explosion of production should earn the former fullback a few more touches in primetime, although I fully expect veteran Alfred Morris to continue to receive the bulk of the carries. Still, Smith’s confidence is through the roof right now. And Dallas could easily benefit from that.
Sean Lee, Linebacker
I know this is an obvious player to watch every game. But with defensive tackle David Irving out due to a concussion for the second straight game, the Cowboys’ defensive line will be soft in the middle. And with hard-nosed running back Marshawn Lynch on the other side of the ball, Lee’s ability to curtail the run raises to epic proportions of importance in this pivotal game for both teams.