FRISCO, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys are back out on the road this week to take on the Miami Dolphins in a Christmas Eve clash at Hard Rock Stadium, as the Cowboys will look to rebound from last week's big loss in Buffalo with a win against another AFC East opponent.
The Dolphins feature immense talent on both sides of the ball, allowing for a handful of fun matchups that will dictate which team has the most success on Sunday evening in South Beach.
Here are the Key Matchups to keep an eye on as the game progresses.
CeeDee Lamb vs. Jalen Ramsey/Kader Kahou
A lot of buzz has been circulating around the matchup between CeeDee Lamb and Jalen Ramsey, and if the eight-year veteran corner will trail the Cowboys' lead receiver throughout the entirety of the game after doing so against Garrett Wilson a week ago and only allowing three receptions for 29 yards.
The short answer for that curiosity would be no, as the Cowboys will almost certainly work Lamb out of the slot a little bit more than usual with the Dolphins giving up more receiving yards out of the slot than any team in the NFL entering this matchup. On the flip side, Ramsey has only played five of his 388 snaps covering the slot this season and will almost exclusively be confined to his responsibilities on the boundary.
While the two will line up opposite of each other when Mike McCarthy throws Lamb on the outside of a formation, Lamb will most likely see Euless native and second-year corner out of Texas A&M-Commerce Kader Kohou for the majority of his snaps out of the slot. It will be a big opportunity for Dallas to build some quick and sustainable offensive momentum by feeding Lamb across the middle of the field on Sunday.
Chuma Edoga/Tyron Smith vs. Bradley Chubb
It's been a career year for Bradley Chubb rushing the passer and defending the run from his right outside linebacker position, and he'll look to keep it going against what is expected to be another Chuma Edoga start at left tackle with Tyron Smith listed as doubtful due to a back injury.
In five starts and 14 total games this season, Edoga has allowed only two sacks and 11 pressures on 204 pass block snaps, but Chubb could be the biggest challenge he's faced yet. Entering Sunday, the sixth-year pass rusher has accounted for 9.5 sacks and a league-leading six forced fumbles.
His athleticism will force a challenge for Edoga early and often, as he will be the key cog in Miami's pass rush efforts on Dak Prescott early on in the game. If Chubb gets home early, expect Dallas to resort to their quick game action – getting the ball out under the 2.3 second threshold from the time of the snap.
Mazi Smith vs. Lester Cotton
After playing a career-high 36 snaps last week against Buffalo, first-round rookie Mazi Smith will have another chance to start on Sunday as Johnathan Hankins continues to nurse his ankle injury, and he will get a solid opportunity to face a fellow reserve on the other side of the line of scrimmage in Miami left guard Lester Cotton.
Having to fill in at left guard in four of the last five games for the Dolphins, Cotton has been Miami's "sixth man" on the offensive line – similar to how Edoga has been for the Cowboys – and has only allowed one sack and seven pressures over that timespan.
However, his run blocking has been suspect for the Dolphins up front, allowing for an opportunity for Mazi Smith to flex his muscles a bit in the run game and work to limit the between-the-tackles action from Raheem Mostert and De'Von Achane.