Cowboys vs Panthers: Key matchups and X-factors to watch to avoid trap game

Dallas needs to make another statement Sunday. Here's how they can do it.
Carolina Panthers v Dallas Cowboys
Carolina Panthers v Dallas Cowboys / Cooper Neill/GettyImages
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Key Offensive and Defensive X-Factors for Cowboys in Week 11

Offensive X-Factor Player: Brandin Cooks

Last week, the Brandin Cooks we've all been waiting for emerged on the scene with nine catches for 173 yards and one touchdown. With the possibility of Jaycee Horn returning and shadowing CeeDee Lamb this week, the Cowboys are going to rely on Cooks to make plays in the passing game and keep the chains moving. His speed on the outside is going to be an issue for the Panthers, and with Prescott's ability to read the defense and manipulate safeties, Cooks could be in for a huge game.

Defensive X-Factor Player: Osa Odighizuwa

We know the Cowboys can send waves of pass-rushers at opposing quarterbacks, but if they want to make sure the Panthers aren't able to get any type of offense going, they are going to need another strong showing from Odighizuwa. Quarterbacks in their first year are more likely to try and scramble out of the pocket when they feel pressure up the middle, and Odighizuwa can provide that pressure this week. With Odighizuwa putting pressure on Young from the middle of the pocket, it will force poor passes from the rookie along with forcing him to hold on to the football longer and increasing the potential for sacks.