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Key Match Ups

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Key Matchups: Osa Odighizuwa key to pass rush success


FRISCO, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys will travel to Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday afternoon for a divisional mega-clash against the Philadelphia Eagles, who have a strong case for having one of the best-built rosters in the NFL on both sides of the ball.

As a result, the Cowboys' elite talent lined up against the Eagles' star-studded group will create must-watch matchups both in the trenches and in the secondary.

Here are the key matchups to keep an eye on as the game unfolds.

Osa Odighizuwa vs. Sua Opeta

There aren't many holes in the Philadelphia offensive line – as experience and talent up front for the Eagles have allowed their offense to operate at a league-leading pace – but an opportunity awaits for Osa Odighizuwa against starting right guard Sua Opeta.

In six games up front for the Eagles this season, Opeta has allowed 17 pressures and two sacks and has the lowest pass rushing grade of any starting offensive lineman in front of Jalen Hurts. For Odighizuwa, he's been able to find more success in rushing the passer this season, specifically early in the season.

If pressure is going to be generated on a consistent basis, I see it starting with Odighizuwa before trickling around to the rest of the defensive line group. Additionally, stopping the run with D'Andre Swift will start with interior pressure generated by Odighizuwa and fellow defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins.

CeeDee Lamb vs. James Bradberry/Darius Slay

Fresh off a career performance against the Rams last week, CeeDee Lamb will enter Philadelphia with a prime opportunity to keep the momentum going against a secondary that has suffered some lapses this season, specifically on the boundaries.

We've gotten used to seeing Lamb have most of his production out of the slot, but don't be surprised if he finds most of his success outside of the numbers on Sunday afternoon. Lamb will see a variety of cornerback matchups throughout the game, but Darius Slay and James Bradberry will draw most of the assignments.

If Lamb can use his quick release and speed in the short game, there will be opportunities to generate explosive plays off yards after the catch. Dak Prescott will obviously be a huge part of the offensive success on Sunday, but Lamb will be just as important.

Micah Parsons vs. Jordan Mailata

Another matchup between the Dallas defensive line and the Philadelphia offensive line, star pass rusher Micah Parsons will have his strength put to the test against Eagles left tackle Jordan Mailata.

A former rugby player from Australia that stands at 6-foot-8, 365 pounds, Mailata has had a strong 2023 season thus far as he is beginning to separate himself as one of the premier tackles in the league in his sixth season.

For Parsons, that matchup can be won by utilizing his athleticism and quick get-off. Mailata excels with leverage and getting his hands under defensive linemen and driving them back, but if Parsons can use his athleticism off the ball to get around Mailata, there will be success in getting into the backfield.

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