Dallas Cowboys: Trevon Diggs and Justin Jefferson meet again

Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

5-1. Cowboys +3.0. 8:20 PM ET. 123. NBC. Sunday, Oct 31. 3-3. 60

The Dallas Cowboys are going to need to rely on one of their stars come Sunday night. Trevon Diggs is going to be tasked with the duty of attempting to put the clamps on Minnesota’s blossoming young wide receiver, Justin Jefferson.

I debated putting this in my “player to watch segment” on tomorrow’s matchup outlook, but this matchup is just too good to not get its own discussion. I am all sorts of excited about it. This is going to be electric, competitive, everything a football fan wants to see. As a former collegiate wide receiver, these are the games you get up for. Every competitor wants the chance to prove themselves against the best.

Diggs and Jefferson have met before. In 2019, Diggs and Jefferson met as LSU and Alabama played in a 46-41 shootout won by LSU on their way to a historic season and NCAA title. Jefferson reeled in seven catches for 79 yards for the Tigers while Diggs contributed 10 tackles for the Crimson Tide.

Everyone knows the special season Diggs is having right now. It is truly incredible. Picking off seven interceptions through six games is the definition of lockdown and taking away part of the field. Diggs has turned himself into a feared cornerback. He is aggressive and instinctual; two things you want in any cornerback.

The Vikings also know he is aggressive. He likes to jump routes, sit on combinations, and play downhill for interceptions and breakups. Diggs needs to recognize situations and down-distance combos that could be a double move or shot play. To be transparent, the Vikings should try this on Diggs once early to keep him honest.

Diggs has the speed to run with Jefferson all day long on deep routes and should be twitchy enough to be right on his hip for the quick game. On the season, Diggs is allowing only 48.8% of passes his way to be a completion. For some context quarterbacks are 21/43 when throwing against Diggs. He has a third as many interceptions as completions against him, an insane output.

The Dallas Cowboys should trust Trevon Diggs on an island

The Cowboys should trust Diggs early in this one and see if Kirk Cousins tests out the one-on-one battle early. Diggs has earned himself the right to be on an island until proven otherwise and that is how I would start the game. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn had Richard Sherman in his prime and should treat this the same way.

The Vikings have Adam Thielen lining up across from Jefferson at the other receiver and he is no slouch averaging nearly 66 yards per game so far. The Cowboys have been suspect opposite of Diggs and I have to think the Vikings know that is where they may hurt this defense the most. I would give safety help to Anthony Brown and trust that Diggs holds up. I hesitate to drop more into coverage as the Vikings would likely give the Cowboys a taste of their own medicine and run against a lightbox.

One thing to keep an eye on is Jefferson’s drop rate. He has an 8.5% drop rate this season, nearly double the 4.35% drop rate he posted in his rookie campaign last year. Diggs likes to talk. He is going to let receivers hear it. If Jefferson has an early drop, look for Diggs to toe the line of taunting and chirping to get in Jefferson’s head.

This battle is going to be a fun one Sunday night. I think each guy gets theirs. Gut tells me Jefferson gets one big one using Diggs’ aggression against him but is otherwise held under control. I look for Jefferson to put up somewhere around six catches for 80 yards.

light. Hot. Cowboys vs Vikings odds and prediction for Week 8

As for Diggs, well, it is against Kirk Cousins in primetime (insert Vikings fans cringing) and there will certainly be at least one or two chances to extend his interception streak. It will be limited opportunities, but Kirk Cousins is going to do Kirk Cousins things and toss a duck out there. Buckle up for this matchup. This is the best against the best and what we all tune into the NFL for. The Cowboys have a lockdown corner. Time for him to continue to show the nation.