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
(Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns /

Pass first offense vs. Carolina Panthers pass-rush

Raise your hand if you thought Hasson Reddick would be leading the Carolina Panthers with 4.5 sacks and Brian Burns would be right behind him with three just a few games into the season.

This defensive line is special and it’s not like they have gone against the bottom-of-the-barrel protection schemes, either.

I’ve said before that putting strength against weakness is the best way to win anything but having something that is so overwhelming it doesn’t matter who they go up against works just as well.

That’s what Week 4 is going to be. A matchup of strengths.

For years the Cowboys’ offensive line was the best in the league by a large margin and while those stars are either aging or gone this unit is still a force to be reckoned with. Even after the suspension of La’el Collins left a hole at right tackle.

A defensive line on the rise against a top offensive line.

A matchup that is magnified by the Cowboys’ pass to open up the run approach to offense.

Dak Prescott threw 58 passes for 403 yards in the season opener once the run game was almost completely abandoned and still almost pulled out a win. That just doesn’t happen every day and passing volume like that means more opportunities to get after the quarterback.

This is concerning for the Cowboys as the Panthers haven’t allowed more than 50 rushing yards in any game this season and that makes teams go one-dimensional.

If the Panthers can stifle the run once again, Reddick and Burns followed up by an interior of DaQuan Jones and Derrick Brown can pin its ears back and Prescott won’t have his usual amount of time to dance around the pocket and find the open receiver.

This is exactly what this line was built for, the moment they have been waiting for to prove just how good they really are. If Prescott drops back more than 40 times, it’s going to be a long day for Dallas fans.

Look for the Panthers to go after Terence Steele and center Tyler Biadasz early and win those matchups more often than not in what should be a very entertaining matchup to watch.