Sunday in a real game that will count in the standings. Can you believe it? The time has finally arrived. The Cowboys will square off with their first NFC South team as they travel to Carolina to face the Panthers. The last time these teams met was in 2015 and the Panthers gave the Cowboys a 33-14 Thanksgiving beat-down. Carolina came into that game 10-0 and finished 15-1 en route to a Super Bowl appearance.The Cowboys are hoping for different results this time as they look to get off to a good start in 2018. It’s should be a great game as these teams are evenly matched Authentic Antwaun Woods Jersey
, but what are some things that could be the difference maker? Here are five things to watch when these two teams square off.Panthers DT’s vs. Cowboys interior OLThe Cowboys were going to have their hands full with the Panthers stud defensive tackles Dontari Poe and Kawaan Short no matter what, but the absence of All Pro center Travis Frederick is going to make it that much more challenging. Backup center Joe Looney has been solid in relief, but when you consider that he’ll have rookie Connor Williams on his left, that can create a cause for concern for Cowboys fans as they fend off two former Pro Bowlers.The offensive line is such an important part of the Cowboys success. They need it working to get Ezekiel Elliott going and they need it to keep Dak Prescott upright. Winning the battle in the trenches is going to be key for Dallas on Sunday.Which will effectively influence...Cowboys first-down efficiencyThere is no secret that the Cowboys are going to employ a heavy does of the running game. Keeping quarterback Dak Prescott in manageable down-and-distance situations is going to be imperative and the Cowboys offense will need to win on early downs to make that possible. With the tough defensive front of Carolina, it’s going to be difficult for the Cowboys to move the pile. Dallas will need to work in some bootleg tosses, play-action, and quick passes in order to keep the Panthers from overloading against the run.If the Cowboys get stuffed early or have some negative plays that put them behind the chains, then their offense could be forced to play uphill. It’s going to be important for the Cowboys to be efficient on first down.Randy Gregory vs. Taylor MotonThe Panthers offensive line is beat up as several key starters are battling injuries. One of those key starters is left tackle Matt Kalil who was selected fourth overall in the 2012 NFL Draft (by Minnesota). On Tuesday, the Panthers put Kalil on injured reserve, making him unavailable to them for the first half of the season.That leaves second-year tackle Taylor Moton to protect Cam Newton’s blindside. While Panthers fans are pleased with the progress of last year’s second-round pick, Moton is very inexperienced and only played five snaps last year.Opposing Moton will be another second-round pick who doesn’t have a whole lot of playing experience himself - Randy Gregory. However, the Cowboys young edge rusher has hit the ground running once he was reinstated by the league and he’s ready to show the world what he can do. This will be an interesting battle to keep an eye on as how well these players perform will have a huge affect on how successful these teams can be this season.Double-down on double-deuceChristian McCaffrey can be explosive when he gets in space and the Cowboys defense will need watch this guy carefully. McCaffrey can beat you as a running back, but he’s even more dangerous catching passes as the majority of his 1,000+ scrimmage yards last season came as a receiver. With Panthers coach Ron Rivera indicating that McCaffrey will get a heavy amount of touches, this could open things up for the second-year running back to have a big season.The Cowboys will counter that with the great explosiveness of All-Pro linebacker Sean Lee. And with the improved movement from Jaylon Smith, the defense has a good core group of players who can go after the ball carrier. When it comes to McCaffrey, the Cowboys better allocate an extra defender to track his whereabouts. He’s a slippery littler sucker and if they don’t have an insurance policy in place when one guy misses, it could turn into a big play for Carolina.The rookie receiversThe Cowboys didn’t select fan-favorite D.J. Moore in the first round, but the Panthers did. Dallas opted to wait until the third round to draft their new wide receiver when they selected Michael Gallup with the 81st overall pick. How well will these young receivers fan in their NFL debut?Devin Funchess is the Panthers top receiving threat at the moment, but with with the talent of Moore, it’s only a matter of time before he starts becoming more involved in the offense. Cam Newton has a big arm and if Moore gets loose deep down field, it could result in a big play for the Panthers offense.The Cowboys have an assortment of receivers and could end up dressing all six of them on the roster. It’s unclear what Gallup’s role will be, but he developed some nice chemistry with Prescott in training camp. Can the rookie makes a splash in his first NFL game?What will you be watching on Sunday?Six NFL teams and fanbases that should be just as mad as the Cowboys The Cowboys aren’t the only NFL franchise to stumble out of the gate. While we wallow in our own misery, let’s wallow in some other team’s misery, too. For various reasons and to various degrees, the fans of these teams are probably a little upset right now.New England Patriots - Could the reign of terror finally be over? Sure, you can never count them out as they’ve rebounded so many times before. They are notorious for slow starts inSeptember. But still. They beat the winless Texans by only seven points Youth Taco Charlton Jersey
, lost to Jacksonville, then got smoked by the previously winless Detroit Lions. The Lions loss looked particularly bad. They will get Julian Edelman back, and they traded for Josh Gordon, and it’s still Brady and Belichick. So maybe this is an overreaction, but hey, any opportunity to take a shot at the Pats is a good one!Houston Texans - Remember when the Texans were a chic pick for the playoffs, and everyone thought DeShaun Watson was the next big thing. Good times. The Texans are 0-3 and as OCC likes to remind us, 0-3 means it’s 2019 mock draft time. But hey, at least they have the Cowboys on their upcoming schedule. I kid (sort of)! On the other hand, at least we could beat the Giants.Oakland Raiders - How’s that Jon Gruden contract working out for ya, Silver and Black? Khalil Mack sure looks good with a “C” on his helmet. He has 15 pressures on the year, the same number as the entire Raiders defense. Did I also mention that Jon Gruden is the coach.Minnesota Vikings - After failing to get a win against Green Bay and having to settle for a tie, they went out and signed Dan Bailey. Everything is good then for the would-be Super Bowl contenders. Right? Uh, how do you lose, at home, to the winless Buffalo Bills, who had been outscored 78-23 in the two previous games, by a score of 27-6? That has to make some people mad. Skol!Atlanta Falcons - Not only did they waste Calvin Ridley’s breakout performance by letting the Saints and Drew Brees score 43 points and win in overtime in their building, but they lost another defender. The Falcons have lost Pro Bowl safety Keanu Neal for the season, Pro Bowl linebacker Deion Jones for over half the season at minimum, and now are without their other safety, Ricardo Allen, for the rest of the year. At least they can score, and they’ll need to as they dropped to 1-2.Arizona Cardinals - You know why the Cowboys don’t have the worst offense in the NFL? Thanks, Arizona. At 0-3, they are mock drafting and praying that Josh Rosen is the guy.