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Mailbag: Key Matchups? Must-Win Mentality?


What is the biggest advantage/disadvantage the Cowboys have against the Saints this week in relation to personnel groups? My novice opinion is the best is our secondary against their WRs; the worst is maybe their O-Line against our D-Line? - MARK JOHNSTON / SILSBEE, TX

Bryan: Their offensive line is outstanding, but with that being said, your defensive line has played well. I worry about the Dallas secondary. This Saints unit does a great job of getting open for Brees. They will hurt you, especially if you have mental mistakes. Their combination of Ingram and Kamara is equal to what you have with Elliott. If Tyron Smith doesn't play, Cam Fleming against Cam Jordan has the potential to be a bad matchup. 

Rob: Respectfully disagree, Mark. This Cowboys defensive line has been a strength all season, and they know the game will depend largely on their ability to pressure Brees. The Saints' passing game puts so much pressure on your secondary throughout the game, particularly with Kamara in the fold. To me, that's the key area. On the other side, the Saints will have to decide how to cover Amari Cooper and play Ezekiel Elliott. That's a big challenge, too.


Mathematical possibilities aside, do you see the Saints and Eagles games as a "must win ONE" of the two games for a real chance at the playoffs in 2018? - ROB RIGGIERI / RUTLAND, MA

Bryan: The Eagles have a much tougher road to the division, but if you're serious about winning this division you had better take that game. 

Rob:We've debated the NFC East race on "Talkin' Cowboys." To me, it's not out of the question that nine wins can take this division. But you've got to treatevery game like it's a must-win situation, and I think this team does. Thursday's game is at home, where they've played well. They're looking forward to the opportunity to surprise a lot of people.