Both teams are near the bottom of the NFL in total records, making this an important game for next. Year's draft.
However, the Cowboys are still in the race to win their division, making this a vital game if they want to extend their season.
Here's a look at the keys to victory for both the Bengals and Cowboys this Sunday.
The Bengals will win if…
The Bengals will walk out of the stadium with a win if they are able to overwhelm the Cowboys with their effort and energy for 60 minutes. The Bengals' competitive spirit will make this game a fourth-quarter affair with turnovers, penalties, and blown assignments deciding the game. With that in mind, Zach Taylor must implore his team to play a clean football game against a mistake-prone team to chalk up a win. If the Bengals avoid negative plays on offense while feeding Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins on the perimeter with Gio Bernard making an occasional appearance as a pass-catcher, the AFC North cellar-dweller could be in a position to steal a win at the end of the game. With a timely strip-sack from Carl Lawson or Sam Hubbard on a five-man pressure, the Bengals' aggressive defensive tactics might be the difference in a close contest.
The Cowboys will win if…
The Cowboys will win if they play complementary football without major mistakes. The Cowboys are the more talented team on each side of the ball but they must put together a 60-minute effort to knock off the Bengals. On offense, the game plan should feature Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard combining for 30-plus rushing attempts to control the game and set up big-play opportunities to Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, and Michael Gallup. If the Cowboys can remain balanced with their run-pass ratio, the offense will eventually put up points against a weary Bengals' defense that falls apart in key moments. On defense, the Cowboys need to focus on keeping the ball in front of the coverage to eliminate explosive plays through the air. With Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins and A.J.Green capable of racking up 20-plus yard receptions on vertical throws and catch-and-run tosses, the Cowboys' secondary must avoid the mental lapses that have led to numerous big plays this season.
Against the run, Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch need to play with better discipline and focus in the box. If they consistently hit their assigned gaps again the Bengals' core running plays, the Cowboys should be able to contain a Bengals'