IRVING, Texas –The NFL has the Pro Bowl, which will be played later this week, along with various All-Pro teams and All-Rookie squads.
At DallasCowboys.com, we've traditionally produced a team made up of players who performed at the highest level against the Cowboys during the 2014 season.
The Cowboys faced superstars such as Calvin Johnson, Andrew Luck, Drew Brees and J.J. Watt, but none of them will make this list. Today, we'll break down the offensive unit:
QB - Aaron Rodgers, GB – Whether or not he was 100 percent, Rodgers was still good enough at the end of the game when it mattered most. He led the Packers to a pair of second-half scoring drives, including the go-ahead march late in the fourth. And then, he still made two third-down throws to keep the ball away from the Cowboys on the final drive.
Honorable Mention: Colt McCoy (WSH), Colin Kaepernick (SF)
Arian Foster, HOU – With 157 rushing yards, Foster was a beast for the Texans back in Week 5 against the Cowboys, nearly helping his team steal a road win. Foster not only averaged 6.8 yards a carry, but scored two touchdowns.
LeSean McCoy, PHI – Torched the Cowboys on Thanksgiving with a season-high 159 yards and a touchdown, rushing for the most yards in a game against Dallas all year. In the two team's second meeting, McCoy went for just 64 yards as the Eagles fell behind 21-0 and spent most of the game passing in an attempt to come back.
*Honorable Mention: *Eddie Lacy (GB)
Odell Beckham Jr., NYG – There won't be an easier pick for this list. Not only was Beckham a beast down the stretch of the 2014 season, but he was at his best against the Cowboys. Beckham would probably have made the list even with one catch – the catch – but his stats were pretty impressive aside from the one-handed snag that will go down as one of the best receptions of all-time. In two games against Dallas, Beckham had 14 catches for 180 yards and four touchdowns.
Jeremy Maclin, PHI – Playing twice certainly helps get on the list, but he had a pair of quality games as well. In a Thanksgiving Day win, Maclin had eight catches for 108 yards. In the rematch, he had four grabs for 98 yards, including a game-changing 72-yard reception that helped the Eagles mount a comeback.
Davante Adams, GB – Considering the magnitude of the NFC Divisional Round, plus the fact that Jordy Nelson was relatively quiet on the other side, Adams delivered with a pair of clutch plays that made the difference. His third-quarter 46-yard touchdown reception got the Packers back into the game, and then he came through with a third-down catch on Green Bay's last drive that helped seal the win.
Honorable Mention:Anquan Boldin (SF), Randall Cobb (GB)
Delanie Walker, TEN – The Titans tight end was the only offensive player that really hurt the Cowboys back in a Week 2 matchup in Nashville. The Cowboys led early and controlled most of the game, but it took a 61-yard touchdown from Walker to even give the Titans a chance. In fact, Walker was consistent throughout the day, catching 10 passes for 142 yards.
Honorable Mention: Martellus Bennett (CHI)
OT – Joe Staley, SF – He helped control the Cowboys' pass rush in the Week 1 matchup at AT&T Stadium. The 49ers did what they wanted to in the first half and Colin Kaepernick had plenty of time, thanks in large part to the guy protecting his blind side.
OT – Bryan Bulaga, GB – The Packers' right tackle was part of the reason Dallas didn't get much pressure on Aaron Rodgers, especially in the second half. Green Bay had 416 yards of offense and put together two big scoring drives in the second half. Rodgers often had plenty of time and Bulaga was rarely beaten all day.
G – Evan Mathis, PHI – The Eagles smashed the Cowboys with their running game in the first meeting, which was good enough to land him a spot on the list. While Philly didn't have the same success in the second game, the offense put up some yards. Mathis is one of the most consistent players on the Eagles' line.
G – Rodger Saffold, STL – Back in Week 3, the Rams moved the ball up and down the field on Dallas in the first half, and then late in the game when they were mounting a comeback. The Cowboys did not register a sack against the Rams' line and Saffold was a big reason why quarterback Austin Davis had time to make so many throws.
C – Kory Lichtensteiger, Wash – One of the better centers the Cowboys faced all year and they saw him twice. Working with Colt McCoy in the first game, Lichtensteiger was a steady force in the middle for the Redskins, which controlled the ball just enough to edge Dallas in overtime.
Honorable Mention: Jason Kelce (PHI), Jason Peters (PHI), Josh Sitton (GB), Jared Veldheer (AZ)
K – Cody Parkey, PHI – While he might have struggled down the stretch in a loss to the Redskins that helped the Cowboys clinch the NFC East, he did make six field goals in two games vs. Dallas, including four in the Thanksgiving Day win.
*Later this week, Part 2 will have the top defensive players against the Cowboys in 2014. *