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X Factors

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X Factors: 10 game-changers for Cowboys & Giants 


FRISCO, Texas – The first meeting was a 40-0 blowout by the Cowboys in Week 1. But let's see how things have changed for each team as the Giants come to AT&T Stadium on Sunday for a rematch.

Since the Super Bowl is always the goal for every team, we decided to rank the Top 10 X-factors for the Cowboys and Rams, using roman numerals, since 10 = X.

Here we go, these 10 guys will likely be big difference-makers one way or another.

X – Andrew Thomas – The Giants' left tackle suffered a hamstring injury during the Week 1 loss to the Cowboys and has been out since his return last week against the Raiders. While he was credited with allowing two sacks last week, there were other signs that the Giants O-line should be vastly improved with his return. He'll have his hands full against the Cowboys' pass rush that had seven sacks against the Giants in the first game.

IX – Tommy DeVito – The Giants will start their third quarterback of the season as Daniel Jones (ACL) and Tyrod Taylor (ribs) are both on IR. DeVito will make his first NFL start, although he's played in two games, including last Sunday against the Raiders. DeVito relieved an injured Jones, who is likely out for the season, and went 15-of-20 for 175 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.

VIII – Kayvon Thibodeaux – One of the leaders in sacks, Thibodeaux has 8.5 sacks, including a three-sack game against the Jets two weeks ago. In five games this year, Thibodeaux has garnered a sack, but he's been held without one in four contests, including Week 1 vs. Dallas.

VII – Saquon Barkley – In the last three games, Barkley has seen his all-purpose yards totals jump. He had 128 rushing yards two weeks ago against the Jets but had 123 offensive yards last week against the Raiders, despite the offense scoring just six points. Barkley is still a major factor and will be relied on even more with the Giants' issues at quarterback.

VI – Brandon Aubrey – Who knew that after his first missed extra point against the Giants in Week 1, Aubrey would be absolutely perfect for the rest of the seven games, setting an NFL record along the way with 19 straight field goals. He's been perfect in the rest of his extra points – 19 straight – and he's leading the NFL in touchbacks.

V - CeeDee Lamb – Ever since he asked to get more touches in the passing game, Lamb has exploded into one of the NFL's best receivers. He has produced career-highs in receiving yards in each of the last two games. After recording 158 yards and two scores against the Rams, Lamb had his best output of his career with 191 yards against the Eagles. He is now tied with Michael Irvin for most 10-catch, 150-yard receiving games in franchise history with three each.

IV – Terence Steele – The Cowboys are still hoping for Steele to turn the corner and get back to form after suffering a torn ACL last December. While he's been back on the field for the entire season, he's had some issues allowing sacks and pressure, which was evident against the Eagles. He'll probably see plenty of Thibodeaux on Sunday, who has 8.5 sacks, ranking second in the NFC.

III - Jake Ferguson - At one point during the fight with the Eagles, Prescott's streak of completions to Ferguson went to 19 in a row, building on the several previous games, and the second-year tight end went on to finish with a season-high 91 receiving yards and a touchdown. He's been the second-hottest target behind only Lamb, who is in maniac mode as of late. Tight ends have been known to torture the Giants for the Cowboys, and Ferguson could be the next in line for that honor, if he's targeted like he was in Philadelphia to make New York's linebackers wish they had never gotten off of the tarmac.

II - Micah Parsons - Parsons is coming off of a multi-sack outing against Jalen Hurts, and he also helped bully Daniel Jones in the regular season opener, but Jones won't be taking the field this time around, or again this season, with a torn ACL. What's worse for Big Blue is in how Tyrod Taylor is also on IR right now and that likely thrusts … *checks notes* … Tommy Devito into the role of QB1. An undrafted rookie out of Illinois is about to face off with a lion, but seeing as there's no NFL film on Devito to scheme for, be on the lookout for any rabbits that might be up his sleeve. Play bully ball early and make him see ghosts.

I - Dak Prescott - It's now been two consecutive weeks wherein Prescott has looked to be back in Pro Bowl form. Things didn't shake out in his favor against the Philadelphia Eagles, in a game of inches that could've gone either way, but Prescott is on fire exiting the bye week, having willed the Cowboys to victory with his legs going into it. When the Giants come to town for the rematch, it'll be key for Prescott, CeeDee Lamb and Jake Ferguson to start cooking early to demoralize Big Blue — much like Dallas did in Week 1, albeit defensively.

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