Jason Pierre-Paul, NYG – Three sacks in two meetings and a forced fumble that led to a field goal in the Giants' three-point win on Dec. 11. Plus, one of the most significant plays against the Cowboys all season: Blocking Dan Bailey's potential tying field goal with no time remaining in that Dec. 11 game. Big-time player.
Justin Smith, SF – Smith plays defensive end in San Francisco's 3-4 scheme, so let's move him inside here. Had two hits as part of a Niners front that battered and broke Tony Romo's rib in Week 2. Also forced a fumble. Chris Canty, NYG –Former Cowboy has been a nice complement to the Giants' star linemen all year. In two games against his former team, he sacked Romo twice.
Bobby Carpenter, DET –Can one play merit a spot? In this case, absolutely. The Cowboys' former first-rounder grabbed the first of three Romo interceptions in that epic second-half meltdown. Carpenter returned it 34 yards for a touchdown, cutting the Cowboys' lead to 17 and swinging the momentum back to Detroit in a Week 4 shocker.
Kevin Burnett, MIA –The third ex-Cowboy on this list, Burnett was all over the field in the Dolphins' Thanksgiving loss, racking up a game-high 12 tackles and a tackle for loss. The Cowboys won with a late field goal, but their offense never really found a rhythm against Burnett and Miami's athletic defense.
Navorro Bowman, SF –Speaking of athletic, Bowman and Patrick Willis are the league's best inside linebacker tandem. Bowman had a game-high 11 tackles and a pass breakup in Week 2.
Nnamdi Asomugha, PHI –Not a vintage year from the star corner, courted by the Cowboys in training camp. But he did have 12 tackles and two breakups in the season series, as well as a first-quarter interception of Romo with the Cowboys already trailing 14-0 in an eventual 34-7 blowout loss.
Patrick Peterson, ARI –The Cowboys limited Peterson, Pro Bowl punt returner, to one return for one yard. But the Cards' first-round pick showed he was more than a special-teamer by battling Dez Bryant on defense all day.
Darrelle Revis, NYJ – The NFL's top corner also accepted the challenge of covering Bryant in the season opener. Had two pass breakups, and his late interception on Romo led to Nick Folk's deciding field goal.
Patrick Chung, NE –Had 10 tackles in a defensive struggle Oct. 16 at Gillette Stadium.
Nate Allen, PHI –Very active for an Eagles defense that had plenty of overall success in two wins over Dallas. Finished with five tackles and two pass breakups.
Dave Zastudil, ARI – For a long stretch of the Cardinals' overtime upset on Dec. 4, Zastudil was their best weapon. He punted seven times for a 50.1 average (44.7 net), including a high of 54.
* *Brandon Banks, WAS – In two games, accounted for 113 of the 278 punt return yards yielded by the Cowboys all season.