1. Micah Parsons vs Kyler Murray
Cowboys rookie linebacker Micah Parsons has arguably been the best defensive player in the NFL this season. His nickname “The Lion” has become his keepsake as well. He even compared Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray to a cheetah when talking to the press on Wednesday.
Parsons and the rest of the defense are clearly aware of the dual-threat that is Murray and how he can be a nightmare for any defense.
The Cowboys need to make sure they can keep Murray in the pocket. Once he escapes the pocket and can use his legs, he becomes much more dangerous. Parsons could even be used as a QB-spy at points in the game to make sure Murray can not escape.
Murray was an NFC Pro Bowl selection at quarterback despite missing three games this season. But when he is unable to scramble, the Cardinals’ offense struggles. For example, in their loss to the Detroit Lions, Murray only rushed for three yards, and Arizona’s offense only scored 12 points.
Slowing down Murray will be a collective effort, but in big games like this, you have to rely on your best players to make plays. So, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn must allow Parsons to roam free on defense and utilize his speed and athleticism to neutralize Murray.
Parsons is also only two sacks behind Jevon Kearse’s rookie sack record of 14.5. With two games to play, look for Parsons to continue chasing that record in hopes of getting it and capping off his Defensive Player of the Year campaign.