Fresh off their bye week, the Cowboys will travel to Minnesota to take on the Vikings in Week 8.
Here are the three biggest matchups to keep an eye on this weekend.
Ezekiel Elliott versus the Vikings run defense
Zeke will undoubtedly have his opportunities to break open big plays in this one. Tony Pollard may at times as well. They have to take advantage of those. Minnesota’s offense has shown flashes of being high-powered, so if this one turns into a shootout, Dallas has to be able to control some of the clock.
All of Ezekiel Elliott’s 10+ yard gains through Week 7. Zeke looks outstanding this season, showing off his impressive vision and power in addition to some notable burst as well. #Cowboys pic.twitter.com/UZuapLIcsF
— John Owning (@JohnOwning) October 27, 2021
The Vikings rank 28th in rushing yards per game allowed. The defense has shown vulnerability in that area, so expect the Cowboys to possibly even get Dak Prescott a little bit more involved in the running game if given the opportunity. Regardless, Elliott needs to lead the way.
Justin Jefferson versus Trevon Diggs
Get your popcorn for this matchup, folks. This one won’t disappoint like Lane Kiffin’s did, though. Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs has been one of the best CBs in the NFL. Conversely, Jefferson has been his ultra-productive self again this season after a breakout rookie season last year.
Both players have a lot of respect for each other, so they are ready for the challenge. Kirk Cousins will undoubtedly try to get his top receiver involved early, so Diggs will have to be ready. If Diggs can contain Jefferson, Cousins will have to look to Adam Thielen, K.J. Osborn, and co. to facilitate the passing offense.
Trevon Diggs vs Justin Jefferson is going to be must-see TV 🍿 pic.twitter.com/HOYnfPD1yJ
— PFF (@PFF) October 27, 2021
Cowboys deep throws versus Vikings Safeties
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and his targets have been very successful at pushing the ball downfield so far this season. Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore trusts his star players, and it is paying off. This week, they will face safeties Harrison Smith and former Cowboy Xavier Woods.
Smith hasn’t had a ton of pass defense production, but he always has an impact for the Minnesota defense. Woods has an interception and four pass deflections. They’re a smart safety tandem, so the Cowboys offense needs to be careful. Taking the deep shots in the passing game will help to open up the running game even more, though. Don’t be surprised if they work in a lot of play-action, downfield throws if they run the ball successfully early in the game.
These three matchups may decide the winner of Sunday’s exciting NFC battle. Tune in at 7:20 PM CST!
Featured Image via USA TODAY-Sports