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Cowboys vs. Colts: Each team’s X-factor player for Sunday

Dallas Cowboys v Indianapolis Colts

In game one of a three-game AFC South stretch, the Cowboys will look to find a way to get win number nine on the season.

The term trap game is nonsense, at least how it relates to this Cowboys team and their current situation. This team sits at 8-3 on a two-game winning streak but hasn’t secured anything, or even earned the right to underestimate an opponent at this point. This Cowboys team is very talented and could very well be the league’s best when firing on all cylinders. However, this team that went and throttled a Vikings team, but only did so after losing to a three-win Packers team the week prior, followed that win by keeping an overrated Giants team, that was banged up. alive long enough for them to think they actually belonged in the game.

This game may not seem like a big deal at face value, but be assured that we will learn a lot about this Cowboys team by their performance Sunday night. Dallas needs to come out clean for four quarters and with a plan of attack that leaves no doubt who the better team is on the field. Sure, a win is a win, but when you evaluate a team’s prospects and their big-picture outlook, how they looked doing it versus inferior opponents certainly plays a factor in the trust you have for the team to take the next step. We’ve seen wins, we want more definitive ones.

These two individuals, one a Cowboy, one a member of the Vikings, could have a big impact on Sunday’s game.

Dallas Cowboys X-factor: Chauncey Golston

Chicago Bears v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

This week, the Cowboys let go of Tarell Basham in a move that proves how deep the Cowboys defensive line is in 2022. Basham, due to injury and the amount of talent at his position group, only saw two games worth of action and ultimately was let go. A lot of their decision has to do with how they feel about Chauncey Golston and what he brings to this team moving forward. Golston used this offseason to bulk up and move more to the interior of the defensive line, and by doing so has shown to be a strong run defender that fits more comfortably into what the Cowboys are looking for from their depth pieces at the group. The Cowboys have continued to make moves to try and shore up the weakness of their run defense, and to give Golston more chances on early downs is something they think can help button things up on the front end.

Look for Golston to play that important role this week with Jonathan Taylor coming into town. If there is one way the Colts can beat you, it is by way of Taylor and his legs. Golston will need to be another cog in the middle to stop this mundane Colts offense from getting going on the ground, and if they are able to stop the source of their production in number 28, then the Cowboys should feel real good about their chances on Sunday night.

Indianapolis Colts X-factor: Jonathan Taylor

Pittsburgh Steelers v Indianapolis Colts Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

This is where it starts and ends for the Colts offense. Yes they have wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. on the outside to make plays, but the Colts win and lose on the back of Jonathan Taylor. The Cowboys know that and will act accordingly to contain him. Look for Taylor to touch the ball north of 20 times on Sunday night, and the Cowboys will need to be ready for his strength and his speed in and out of the hole that allows him to break off a big run at any moment.

The numbers may not be his best this year after leading the league last season, but he is still top 10 in rushing yards with 779 as well as scoring four touchdowns on the year. The Colts themselves may not be great, but league-wide Jonathan Taylor garners the respect he deserves and the Cowboys defense surely knows they are in for a fight Sunday night. It is easy to pick a running back against the Cowboys defense and say he is their x-factor but it is an absolute no-brainer when that said running back is also the majority of the opponent’s offense as well. Stop Taylor, you stop the Colts.


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