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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Cowboys offensive and defensive X-factors vs Packers

Offensive X-factors: Tony Pollard and Rico Dowdle

The Cowboys are going to need a strong performance from Tony Pollard and Rico Dowdle in this game to take pressure off of the passing game. Pollard has come on as of late for the Cowboys and Dowdle should be ready to go with his physical running style. They are going up against a Packers defense that has been good at times against the run but when they aren't things go wrong.

Looks for the Cowboys to come out early and try to establish their running game to soften this defense up. Pollard and Dowdle can have big games against this defense and if they can pick up the tough yards and keep this offense on the field then they have an excellent chance of winning this game.

Defensive X-factor: Malik Hooker

The Packers like to throw a lot of play-action at opposing defenses and safety Malik Hooker needs to be ready for it in this game. The Packers have a lot of young receivers on this roster but what they lack in experience they make up for in effort and speed. Hooker is going to need to make sure he doesn't let receivers get behind him by falling for the run fake, and you take away the Packers' real big-play threat in this game.

Once he does that then the Cowboys will be able to gang tackle and get into the passing lanes of the Packers and make plays on the football. Hooker has done a good job defending against deep shots downfield and he'll need to be on his game once again so they can put this game away early.

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