The Dallas Cowboys are forced to put the overtime loss to the Green Bay Packers behind them. Up next, the Cowboys take on the 8-1 Minnesota Vikings — a team that is coming off an overtime win over the Buffalo Bills.

Dallas will have its hands full in the upcoming matchup. Minnesota — and the rest of the NFL — saw what Aaron Rodgers and Christian Watson were able to do against the Cowboys’ secondary. The secondary was torched. to the tune of three Watson touchdowns in the 31-28 defeat.

Things do not get any easier this week. In fact, the challenge is even greater. That is because Justin Jefferson is the opponent on Sunday. And he’s not by himself, either.

Jefferson is arguably the NFL’s best wide receiver. He is a smooth route runner that makes plays all over the field. His catch in the win over the Bills is one of the best of all time.

So while Dallas needs to obviously limit Jefferson, the Vikings have more than just their superstar receiver to throw at the Cowboys.

Major test coming up

Dallas Cowboys
Nov 13, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) and Buffalo Bills cornerback Dane Jackson (30) in the first quarter at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota also has the likes of running back Dalvin Cook, wide receiver Adam Thielen, and tight end TJ Hockenson — who the team acquired ahead of the trade deadline.

Cook has proven to be one of the game’s best backs, and Thielen is a quality secondary option in the passing game. Hockenson is proving to add another element in the offense for Kirk Cousins, too.

This is worrisome on paper. But it’s even more worrisome when you factor in how the Cowboys’ defense played versus the Green Bay Packers. The run defense was gashed, and seemingly every corner not named Trevon Diggs was burnt.

Aaron Jones and the Packers had their way against the Cowboys. Jones rushed for 138 yards and a touchdown in the win, averaging nearly six yards per carry. Dallas was never able to get a stop when it mattered, leading to the Packers winning in OT.

With so much attention going to the Vikings’ receiving weapons, that opens the door for Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison having big performances on the ground. Why wouldn’t the Vikings attack the Cowboys’ biggest weakness on that side of the ball?

Cowboys are hungry

Dallas Cowboys
Oct 30, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback DaRon Bland (26) and cornerback Trevon Diggs (7) and linebacker Micah Parsons (11) celebrate Parsons fumble return for a touchdown against the Chicago Bears during the second half at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

To no surprise, the Dallas Cowboys are hungry. The defense has been gashed on the ground in consecutive games. Micah Parsons — and the rest of the unit — is hungry to get back on the field and turn things around.

“Whether I have 3 sacks, zero sacks, no tackles, 20 tackles, all I want to do is win,” Parsons said this week. “I want to be around people who want to win as bad as I do.”

And he’s not alone. Cowboys safety Jayron Kearse has also been very vocal about effort and winning since the loss to Green Bay. It is evident that the defense is entering Sunday’s game with a chip on its shoulder.

“You should be angry. You should be frustrated, If you’re not, then I think we got the wrong guys on the defense,” Kearse said.

The leadership is there. And the defense has played phenomenal for the majority of this season. Still, the Dallas Cowboys will need to back up their words — and the matchup against the Vikings won’t be easy to do so.

Featured image via Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

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