The Dallas Cowboys are set to square off with the 10-5 Arizona Cardinals in Week 17 this Sunday. This will be the Cowboys’ toughest test since they took on the Chiefs back in Week 11. Despite clinching the NFC East title last week, the Cowboys are still playing for the number one seed in the conference.
Arizona has plenty of high-caliber skill players on both sides of the ball, and they will provide the Cowboys with some very difficult matchups all over the field.
To get ready for this NFC matchup, let’s take a look at the top 3 player matchups to look out for in the Cowboys vs Cardinals game.
3. Terence Steele/Tyron Smith vs Chandler Jones
Cardinals edge rusher Chandler Jones is someone the Cowboys need to be aware of at all times on Sunday. Jones has 9.5 sacks on the year to go along with four forced fumbles. He was also just named to his fourth Pro Bowl team.
The current uncertainty at who will be starting at left tackle for the Cowboys remains a key factor in their ability to neutralize Jones. Terence Steele has done an admirable job as backup all season filing in at both right and left tackle. But, I think Steele would have difficulties against a player like Jones.
Giving quarterback Dak Prescott a clean pocket is the most important factor to success in the passing game. We saw what happened last week when he was given time to throw. Dak had over 320 passing yards and four touchdowns in just one half.
Ideally, a healthy Tyron Smith would be able to start at left tackle, but his status remains uncertain. Also, the Cowboys have been cautious with their players this year when it comes to injuries, so it would be a surprise to no one if he cannot play.
No matter who starts at left tackle, the Cowboys must come in with a game plan to limit the Cardinals’ best pass rusher and keep him off of Prescott.