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Three Big Things: Cowboys Week

A look at the top storylines for Sunday's game

3 Big Things_AT_DAL_21


The three biggest things to watch for Sunday when the Cardinals play the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium:

At All Costs, Protecting Kyler

Yes, this got a little more complicated when left tackle D.J. Humphries went on the Covid list and is expected to miss the game. But the Cardinals should have center Rodney Hudson back, and after the duress QB Kyler Murray has been under for three straight games, the Cards have to find a way to keep an impressive Cowboys pass rush at bay. Demarcus Lawrence is a problem, and when Dallas lets loose rookie linebacker Micah Parsons, it tends to be a problem for opposing offenses. There is little arguing that the Cardinals have to find a way to score more points – just 28 total the last two games, less than they were scoring in single games most of the season – and that starts with the quarterback having time.

Can The Cardinals Cover?

No, this has nothing to do with the betting line. It has to do with injuries at cornerback – Robert Alford already on IR, Marco Wilson sidelined this week because of a bad shoulder – and Covid issues at pass rush – Markus Golden and Devon Kennard may both be unavailable. The Cowboys have the ability to throw early and effectively, with Dak Prescott (who the Cardinals didn't have to face a year ago) passing to Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup. The Cards still have Byron Murphy but will have to get along with Antonio Hamilton and probably practice squad callup Kevin Peterson. Maybe Isaiah Simmons is used a little more in coverage. And the Cardinals need Chandler Jones to have a big game, along with someone like Dennis Gardeck, so that Prescott can't just sit back and wait for the perfect throw.

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Keeping The Dream Of A Division Title Alive

So much has changed in a month. A few games ago, the Cardinals had a chance to all but wrap up the NFC West title by beating the Rams. They couldn't, and now, the Cards are in second place, the Rams' magic number to clinching the division down to two. The Rams are in Baltimore Sunday morning. A win, and the Cardinals must beat the Cowboys to keep their division title desire available. If the Rams lose, a Cardinals' win would put the teams in a tie again, and the Cardinals own the tiebreaker. The Cards need to win a game regardless given their losing streak, but if they still want that NFC West banner, it seems like a must-win.