5 pivotal matchups to watch during Panthers at Cowboys in Week 4

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Chuba Hubbard
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Chuba Hubbard /
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Carolina Panthers
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FOX. 123. Panthers +5.0. 87. Sunday, October 3. 2-1. 1 PM ET. 3-0

What are some crucial matchups to keep a close eye on when the Carolina Panthers travel to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 4 of the 2021 season?

The Carolina Panthers are 3-0 for the first time since that magical, and short-lived, 2015 run to the Super Bowl. While the ending of that particular season has some painful memories and plenty of what-ifs, this is a new year and a very different team.

That third win was a very painful one though as arguably the Panthers‘ best player, Christian McCaffrey, went down with yet another soft tissue injury in what has become a worrying trend both from his health and a usage standpoint.

If that wasn’t enough, rising star Jaycee Horn got his foot caught in the turf and tripped, breaking multiple bones in that foot. The cornerback will miss the majority, if not all, of the season.

Not the greatest of outcomes even with the win, but a win is a win in the end.

Yes, you can say that the competition the Panthers have faced to date is not necessarily the stoutest. However, you can’t really control your schedule and you have to beat everyone on it to get to the playoffs.

The New York Jets are, well the Jets, the New Orleans Saints blew out a Green Bay Packers team before getting their karma in Week 2, and the Houston Texans have held up far above offseason expectations. But all three have one thing in common, a number in the loss column thanks to the Panthers.

Now comes the real test and a game that is somewhat more important from a personal standpoint as it will give early season bragging rights between me and my diehard Cowboys fan father.

The Dallas Cowboys are a team that seems to hang around in the public eye no matter how good they actually are. This team, however, is legit.

Dak Prescott looks every bit the superstar of the early going last season before a devastating ankle injury threatened his playing future and the defense has become something that is actually capable of getting a stop in what is a very dangerous combination.

The Cowboys gave the Tampa Bay Buccaneers everything they could handle in the opener and followed that up with an impressive, if somewhat lucky, nailbiter against the Los Angeles Chargers before blowing out the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night.

With some key injuries and suspensions on both sides, what are the matchups that will decide who comes out on top in Week 4?