Cowboys vs Commanders: Key matchups and X-factors with the NFC East title on the line

Washington Commanders v Dallas Cowboys
Washington Commanders v Dallas Cowboys / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages
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3 key Cowboys defensive matchups vs Commanders

Jourdan Lewis vs Curtis Samuel

The receivers for the Commanders haven’t been very effective this season, a lot of that is thanks to their offensive line and the quarterback play but the one receiver that has been the most consistent has been Curtis Samuel. He’s second in targets on this team with 87 and catching 60 passes for 598 yards on the season. He lines up a lot in the slot and that means he’ll be matched up against Jourdan Lewis in a big matchup this week.

The last time these two teams played Samuel went off and became the first receiver to reach 100 yards against the Cowboys on nine targets. The Cowboys did a great job against the Commanders outside receivers and if they stop Samuel then this game could be worse for the Commanders than the 45-10 drubbing they took on Thanksgiving.

Micah Parsons vs Chris Paul and Sam Cosmi

The weakest link of the Washington Commanders offensive line are the guard spots who are giving up a total of 61 pressures and nine sacks this season. Those numbers should have Micah Parsons licking his chops at the matchup potential against either Chris Paul or Sam Cosmi in this game. Defensive Coordinator Dan Quinn has done a nice job of putting Parsons in the best positions to win and in this game, it will be against the guards.

The last time Parsons faced off against this offensive line he had 1.5 sacks and three quarterback hits, and he could easily have the same amount of success this weekend. Look for Parsons to have a field day in this game lining up over these guards.

Markquese Bell vs Brian Robinson Jr.

The Cowboys much like every other team on defense look to make offenses one dimensional and the first way to do that is to stop the run. The Cowboys did a nice job against the Lions tough running game, this week they face Brian Robinson Jr. and Antonio Gibson, another nice one-two punch in the backfield. Markquese Bell has done a nice job over the last two weeks in the running game with 18 tackles and two tackles for loss against the Dolphins and Lions, the Cowboys are going to need him to continue that success in this game.

The Commanders focus on running the football so they can set up their play-action passing game but if Bell and the Cowboys can shut that down they will force the ball into Jacoby Brissett and Sam Howell’s hands to win the game. Continuing to stop the run will be key for the Cowboys and finishing off the season doing that will boost this team’s confidence heading into the playoffs.