Cowboys vs Packers: Unveiling key matchups and X-factors in Wild Card showdown

Dallas Cowboys v Green Bay Packers
Dallas Cowboys v Green Bay Packers / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages
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The Dallas Cowboys did everything they needed to do to win the NFC East title and secure themselves then number two seed in the NFC. For their efforts, they are now set to face off against the red-hot Green Bay Packers who come into this game playing some very good football. The Packers' offense is on fire right now and keeping this team afloat while the defense is looking to return to form after a strong showing against the Bears to make the playoffs.

On paper the Cowboys are the better team but as we've seen in the past the Cowboys and Packers in the playoffs no matter what the Cowboys record has been have been close games that the Cowboys failed to win. This time around the fans and Cowboys themselves believe that things will be different this time around. Thanks to a few key matchups and x-factors that could work in the Cowboys' favor. So, let's take a look and see what players are going to have big roles to play in whether the Cowboys can win this game or lose it and repeat the cycle of losing to the Packers in the playoffs.

3 key Cowboys offensive matchups vs Packers

Terence Steele vs Rashan Gary and Preston Smith

Terence Steele did a nice job in pass protection last week against the Washington Commanders but that was against a team that traded away their best pass rushers. This week Steele will be facing off against Rashan Gary and Preston Smith, two pass rushers who've combined for 17 sacks on the season along with 53 pressures on quarterbacks this season. Both players have a nice array of pass-rush moves that they deploy against offensive linemen and the Cowboys can look forward to seeing all of them in this game.

Steele's play this season has been very up and down with him having more issues with pass rushers with speed off the edge. Something that both Gary and Smith have, so we should expect the Cowboys to leave Steele on an island early to see how he handles the pressure and if they see that he can't hold up in protection then the Cowboys could start putting tight ends on that side to help him. The Cowboys need a huge game from Steele this weekend if they want to win this game.

Jake Ferguson vs Packers Safeties

The Cowboys have been waiting for tight end Jake Ferguson to come in and take over the starting role at tight end and he hasn't disappointed. But now that success has led opponents to start focusing coverage on Ferguson by using cornerbacks on him to try and take him out of the game. I don't see the Packers doing that in this game and electing to have a safety covering Ferguson in this game and that bodes well for Dak Prescott and Ferguson in this game.

The Packers safeties haven't really been able to cover tight ends this season or anyone for that matter and the Cowboys need to take advantage of it in this game. Teams have been able to complete 60 percent of the passes against the Packers safties with an average of 11.6 yards per completion. This looks like a very favorable matchup for the Cowboys to exploit in this game.

Tyler Biadasz vs Blitzing Linebackers

This season for Biadasz has been full of highs and lows but he has done a nice job overall in protecting his quarterback. This week he will need to keep his head on a swivel to make sure he's able to pick up blitzing linebackers specifically linebacker Quay Walker who has three sacks and ten pressures this season. The Cowboys must win at the line of scrimmage in this game if they want to take advantage of the Packers' exposed secondary.

If they can't and the Packers can get consistent pressure on Prescott, then this game will get out of hand for the Cowboys quickly. Biadasz already has to worry about Kenny Clark but he and Dak need to be on the same page when calling out protections to contain the Packers defensive front and blitzing linebackers. Do that and give Prescott adequate time in the pocket and the Cowboys win this game.