Dallas Cowboys: Matchup preview for Week Eight

SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 22: Ezekiel Elliott
SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 22: Ezekiel Elliott /

The Dallas Cowboys will head to Maryland to take on their arch-rivals, the Washington Redskins. Here are some of the best matchups from this Week 8 contest.

The Dallas Cowboys are heading into Week Eight with a rivalry game on the docket. The Washington Redskins will take on the Dallas Cowboys in Landover, Maryland in what should be a heated battle between two competitive rivals.

The Cowboys have been given a big boost of confidence by their routing of the San Francisco 49ers while the Redskins have been dealing with a major wave of injuries. Here are some of the key matchups for Sunday’s contest.

Dallas Cowboys pass rush VS Washington Redskins offensive line:

The Dallas Cowboys are currently tied for sixth in the NFL in sacks this season which is a major win for the team as it shows that their young defense is finally putting up some noteworthy production.

This matchup is incredibly good for Dallas this week as Washington’s offensive line is dealing with major injuries. Most of the starters along the offensive line are dealing with leg/lower body injuries that could either require them to miss the game or be on a limited snap count.

Brandon Scherff is dealing with a back injury and a sprained MCL while Spencer Long is dealing with quad/knee tendinitis in both legs. Trent Williams issues have been known for a while as he will eventually require surgery on his right knee and Morgan Moses has sprains to both of his ankles.

There are also a couple of injuries to backup offensive linemen that could cause the Redskins to struggle against the Dallas Cowboys pass rush. Demarcus Lawrence is ranked second in the NFL for most sacks so far this season and he should have an easier time getting to the quarterback this week than in the six before.

This is a game that could finally display the Cowboys prowess in getting to opposing quarterbacks.

Dez Bryant VS Josh Norman: This matchup has been talked about all summer and has become one of the more physical and heated rivalries in recent memory. Norman is returning after being listed as out with fractured ribs for several weeks.

He is not 100 percent but he will attempt to face off against Dez Bryant. The Cowboys are not necessarily a pass-happy team anymore however they do manage to give the receivers in this offense a good shot making an impact play when it matters.

Bryant will be instrumental in this as he is typically the first player Dak Prescott looks to in the end zone. Dez will want to leave his mark on Norman however the combative Norman will likely want to do the same as Bryant.

Norman may have gotten the better of Dez in recent matchups however the Cowboys offensive attack is a bit different so being productive against the Redskins best cornerback could mean something different than it has in the past.

If Bryant gets into the end zone he will win this round and with Norman nursing his sore ribs, he may not be as effective as he has been in the past. This should be a statement game for Bryant in many ways.

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Ezekiel Elliott VS Washington Redskin linebacking corps: The starting linebacking corps for the Washington Redskins took a massive hit this week as it was announced that Mason Foster will be placed on injured reserve.

This likely leaves Ryan Kerrigan, Zach Brown, and Will Compton as the starters and they will have their hands full this week. The Cowboys offensive line is still one of the best in the NFL and Washington is missing most of their key pass rushers including their 2017 first round pick, Jonathan Allen.

This means that the Cowboys offensive line should be able to get Elliott into the second level of the Redskins defense, leaving the tackling duties to the linebackers listed above along with strong safety, Everett Deshazor.

Elliott will look to make a big impact on this game as it could be the only chance he gets all season to play in this heated rivalry series/he does not know if he will be on the field in Week Nine. 

Elliott made mincemeat of the San Francisco 49ers linebacking corps and secondary as they attempted to stop him all afternoon. I would expect a similar outcome in this game as Washington struggles to shut Elliott down all afternoon.

Dak Prescott VS Kirk Cousins: Who will have the better day? When you look at it from an overall team perspective, the Dallas Cowboys clearly have the edge. Sure they may lose Ezekiel Elliott for a couple of weeks but in this game, the board is tilted in their favor.

The Redskins offensive line will be a patchwork all afternoon, even if their starters can play they will not be 100 percent. Trent Williams seems as if he will struggle until he gets surgery on his knee completed while the other players have similar question marks.

The Dallas Cowboys offensive line may see Tyron Smith limited due to back and hip injuries but so far he has been able to play through that. When you add the injuries up Washington just has more and that will impact their game to a certain extent.

Cousins will struggle to have a clean pocket as this will not be as easy of a matchup as it looks like on paper. The Cowboys have allowed multiple passing touchdowns to quarterbacks over the last few weeks, but this is the worst the offensive line has been for Washington all season long.

The Redskins have also faced some relatively easy matchups over the last month. The San Francisco 49ers managed to pick off Cousins as he has had at least one turnover over the last two weeks, that trend should continue as the Cowboys put him in pressure situations.

Cousins has also been the more accident prone quarterback as the tough matchups in his schedule are coming up over the next few weeks, the Cowboys have had the toughest schedule out of any NFC East team.

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Prescott has been a steady and confident force for the Dallas Cowboys offense and it appears he should only have to throw the ball around 20 times. The average stat line for Dak this season has been around 230+ yards, 2.5 touchdowns, and 0.5 interceptions.

Those numbers should remain steady as the Cowboys look to let their ground game do the talking.