Cowboys’ offensive and defensive X-factors vs Dolphins
Offensive X-factor: Tony Pollard and Rico Dowdle
The Cowboys need to jump out to an early lead on the Dolphins, but they can’t forget about their running game in the process. They need to keep this Dolphins' defense off-balanced and to do that they need to run the ball with Pollard and Dowdle. The Dolphins can be had in the running game, but the Cowboys offensive line needs to step up and get the job done.
They also need Pollard to hit his holes more effectively because right now it looks like he just runs into the backside of his linemen each time. If that continues then Dowdle may need to take over and start to punish this defense with his physical running style so they can start to open up the passing game.
Defensive X-factor: Malik Hooker
The Cowboys can’t allow big play in the passing game this weekend and they are going to need Malik Hooker to have a big game in order to make that happen. The Cowboys centerfielder was out last week with an ankle injury but should return this week and it couldn’t be at a better time with the Dolphins on deck. They will need his range to help keep Jalen Waddle and Tyreek Hill from getting behind the defense and getting large chunk plays.
He may just be the biggest x-factor in this game for the Cowboys because if they allow this Dolphins offense to make plays down the field, they won’t be able to stop them when you combine it with the effective running game.