The Dallas Cowboys are heading to Highmark Stadium to face off against the Buffalo Bills this weekend in a crucial matchup for both teams.
The Cowboys, led by Dak Prescott, bring their winning streak to Buffalo hoping to keep their division lead over the Philadelphia Eagles while the Bills led by Josh Allen are looking up at the Miami Dolphins in the AFC East are hoping to catch them in the division.
The elements this time of year always play a factor in these Bills games and the Cowboys are going to have to battle those elements, a hostile Bills Mafia, and a determined Bills team. If they want to come out of this game with another victory, they need to play mistake-free football. They are also going to need big games from players in key matchups.
Let's get into those matchups right now and talk about two players on both sides of the football that could make huge impacts in this game.
3 key Cowboys offensive matchups vs Bills
Tyler Biadasz vs Ed Oliver
The Buffalo Bills defense has been ravaged by injuries this season at each level but one player that has been able to stay healthy and play some good football this season has been Ed Oliver. Oliver comes into this game with 6.5 sacks, 14 pressures, and 43 tackles and it will be up to Tyler Biadasz to keep him under control in this game. The main focus for Biadasz needs to be slowing down Oliver on this defensive line who last week posted a 10.8% pressure rate against the Chiefs. The Bills aren't seen as a team that will blitz often so they will be looking to win more in the trenches with their defensive line to create pressure on Prescott.
Biadasz will be able to get some help against Oliver, but we can expect the Cowboys to leave him on an island at times and it's imperative that Biadasz wins this matchup to give Prescott the time he needs to survey the field, step up and deliver the football to his receivers.
Brandin Cooks vs Taron Johnson
The Bills defense tends to play a lot of cover 3 this season, thanks in part to head coach and defensive coordinator Sean McDermott. One of the players the Cowboys brought in to help attack teams that decide to drop into zone coverage over man coverage was Brandin Cooks who has been on a tear over the last month. Cook's knowledge of the game allows him to find holes in zone coverage that give Prescott easy throws to make.
This week against Johnson who is allowing 68.3% of targets to be completed Cooks has a chance to be a weapon on third downs and short yardage situations with Johnson normally giving decent cushion to his receivers each week. If Cooks can be that reliable outlet for Prescott, it will force the Bills defense to adjust and open things up a little bit more for CeeDee Lamb who will be facing Rasul Douglas for the majority of this game.
Dak Prescott vs Terrel Bernard
For a while now the narrative for Dak Prescott has been he struggles against zone coverage, this season that has changed thanks to the scheme change from head coach Mike McCarthy. Prescott is seeing the field much better and has been able to pick defenses apart regardless of the coverages thrown at him. If there's one place he can do some damage in this game though it will be on the ground when the Bills drop into their zone coverage.
Prescott needs to take a page out of Josh Allen's book and use his legs when he has space to run and middle linebacker Bernard vacates that area when he drops into coverage. Another thing he can use against Bernard is his cadence to determine if the Bills will be blitzing, something they don't do often, slide his protections to either side and make changes at the line for his receivers to beat it.