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Redskins-Cowboys: Josh Norman vs. Dez Bryant tops the key matchups Thursday night

It doesn’t get much better than Dez Bryant vs. Josh Norman. (Roger Steinman/Associated Press)
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Whenever the Redskins and Cowboys meet, cornerback Josh Norman and wide receiver Dez Bryant are hyped as the major matchup. Both are key players, and a big performance from either would go a long way toward a win, but they aren’t the only players who will have an impact.

Cowboys WR Dez Bryant vs. Redskins CB Josh Norman

Bryant and Norman have had quite the rivalry since Norman signed with the Redskins before last season. Both had their moments last year, but Norman was the victor in the first game this season. Bryant only had four catches for 39 yards in the Cowboys’ 33-19 win Oct. 29, and all of those came against cornerback Quinton Dunbar. Bryant was only targeted once when lined up against Norman; he had Bryant well covered in the end zone, and Dak Prescott’s pass sailed out of bounds. Norman has played almost exclusively on the left side this season, which means Bryant can avoid the matchup if the Cowboys align him on the opposite side. But Bashaud Breeland is also playing well and has a history with Bryant, so the Cowboys may be inclined to move Bryant to Norman’s side a little more often than they did in the first matchup.

Cowboys DE Demarcus Lawrence vs. Redskins LT Trent Williams

When healthy, Williams is one of the best left tackles in the NFL. This season, he is battling a knee injury that eventually will require surgery. He missed last Thursday’s game but is expected to play this week. Lawrence is tied for third in the league in sacks with 11.5. He also has three forced fumbles, meaning he’s not only a threat to get to the quarterback but also to strip the ball loose. How a limited Williams handles Lawrence will play a meaningful role in how successful the Redskins are on offense.

Cowboys DT David Irving vs. Redskins RG Brandon Scherff

The Cowboys rely on their front four to generate pressure for the majority of the game, allowing them to drop seven into coverage and play with two safeties deep. They need good defensive linemen to do that. Lawrence is their main edge rusher, and Irving is the leading interior rusher. He has six sacks and will be a tough test for Scherff.

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