5 Cowboys on the hot seat entering the NFL Playoffs

• A forgotten WR

• Injuries in the secondary ramp up the pressure

• Playing QB for the Cowboys leads to criticism

Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys / Patrick Smith/GettyImages
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4. Tony Pollard, RB

Last year, Tony Pollard cracked the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career — just barely. Working alongside Ezekiel Elliott, Pollard had 1,007 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground. Elliott was then released and Pollard was signed to the franchise tag.

Without Zeke, there were some lofty expectations put on Pollard's shoulders and he had more than his share of struggles. He barely averaged four yards per attempt on the season but was again able to cross the four-digit mark. With 70 yards on 17 attempts, Pollard ended the year with 1,005 yards.

The good news is that he looked like the explosive player we're used to seeing in the win over Washington. Pollard was hitting the hole in a hurry and even pushed a few defenders for extra yards. For good measure, he had a touchdown near the goal line which has been an issue for him all year.

Once they're in the playoffs, the Cowboys are going to need to lean on Pollard. Sure, they're a pass-first team and they're going to win or lose games on the shoulders of Dak Prescott. However, Pollard being able to take some pressure off No. 4 will be key to them having success.

As we saw in the Week 18 win, the Cowboys entire offense is better when they stay ahead of the chains. That's why the heat will be on Pollard, who will also be looking for a new contract in the offseason.