There were a few defensive highlights in the Dallas Cowboys’ 42-17 loss at Denver last week despite the score.
End DeMarcus Lawrence had two sacks against Denver and has 3.5 sacks through the first two games, which ranks second in the NFL. Calais Campbell of Jacksonville leads the league with four sacks.
Can Lawrence maintain his fast start against the Arizona Cardinals Monday night at University of Phoenix Stadium?
Here’s a look at the key matchups in Monday’s game:
Arizona offensive tackle Jared Veldheer vs. Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence: Lawrence is healthy and looking to cash in during his contract year. He’ll have to continue his productivity this week against a Cardinals team that likes to throw deep passes with veteran quarterback Carson Palmer. Lawrence must win his match-up vs. Veldheer and make Palmer uncomfortable in the pocket.
Arizona cornerback Patrick Peterson vs. Dallas wide receiver Dez Bryant: Bryant has been tested early this season, facing top-flight defenders Janoris Jenkins in the opener and Aqib Talib last Sunday in Denver. It doesn’t get any easier on Monday against three-time, first-team All Pro Patrick Peterson. Bryant has nine catches for 102 yards and a touchdown through two games and needs to get going this week to keep Arizona’s defense honest.
Arizona pass rusher Chandler Jones vs. Dallas left tackle Tyron Smith: Much attention has been placed on Cowboys’ right tackle La’el Collins going against elite pass rushers such as Jason Pierre-Paul and Von Miller early this season. Now it’s Smith’s turn. The All-Pro left tackle will have his hands full with the 6-foot-5, 265-pound Jones, one of the top pass rushers in the league. Jones has three sacks through the first two games.