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Cowboys vs. Broncos: Week 9 matchups to watch for the Dallas Cowboys

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Key matchups to watch in Week 9 for the Dallas Cowboys.

On paper, the Dallas Cowboys are by far the more talented team in this Week 9 matchup with the Denver Broncos. Because of that alone, we should expect them to keep their rather impressive win streak alive this week. However, in order to do that they still have to make sure they are winning the matchups they are expected to win.

Each and every week there are certain matchups that could tip the scales and help sway the outcome of the game one way or another. This week is no exception. If the Dallas Cowboys truly want to lock down that No. 1 playoff seed and continue to keep their win streak alive, they absolutely have to win these key matchups this week. The question is, will they?

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Randy Gregory vs. Garrett Bolles or replacement

Denver Broncos v Seattle Seahawks
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Randy Gregory has arguably been one of the Dallas Cowboys best defensive players so far this year. He has been a nightmare for opposing offensive tackles and there’s no reason to expect that to change this week against the Denver Broncos. That’s especially true considering Garrett Bolles is currently dealing with an ankle issue. Even if he was 100% healthy he’d have his hands full with Gregory, but being less so gives the Cowboys red-hot pass rusher an edge that he’ll take full advantage of this week. There is a strong possibility that Bolles doesn’t even play, meaning Gregory would get to feast on a replacement player.


Tyron Smith’s fill-in vs. Von Miller’s replacement

NFL: OCT 17 Cowboys at Patriots
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The Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos both will have some replacement players going this week in all likelihood. We know that the Broncos will be without Von Miller as he is now a Los Angeles Ram. But he Cowboys will likely be without left tackle Tyron Smith. The plan as of now is to slide Terence Steele over to that spot and let La’el Collins man his old right tackle spot. It will be interesting to see this all plays out.


Amari Cooper vs. Patrick Surtain II

Denver Broncos v New York Giants
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Don’t expect the fact that both Amari Cooper and Patrick Surtain II are Alabama alum to keep these two players from butting heads Sunday afternoon. Neither will show any mercy for the other, making this an interesting matchup to watch. While Cooper is a little dinged up right now dealing with a hamstring injury, he still holds the advantage over Surtain. No. 19’s route running ability and short area quickness is one of the few problem areas of the young rookies game. Because of that, don’t be surprised if Cooper has a big game.


Trevon Diggs vs. Jerry Jeudy

Denver Broncos v Los Angeles Chargers
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While Trevon Diggs tends to shadow the opponents No. 1 receiver each week, Dan Quinn may switch things up in Week 9 against the Broncos due to Diggs’ familiarity with Jerry Jeudy. These second-year players not only entered the league together, but are very familiar with one another because of their time together at Alabama. Diggs should know all about Jeudy’s strengths and weaknesses and vice versa for the Broncos WR. These two former teammates could be a little extra motivated to try to get the better of each other.


Dalton Schultz vs. Justin Simmons

Denver Broncos v Cleveland Browns
Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

With Von Miller gone, Justin Simmons becomes the unquestioned leader and most dangerous player on the defensive side of the ball for the Broncos. Although he’s somewhat underrated, he is one the better free safety’s in the entire league. This week against the Cowboys he will be tasked to limit Dalton Schultz’s production. Schultz may be coming off one of his least productive games of the year, but should now be much more involved with Dak Prescott stepping back in action. This will be an interesting battle to watch.



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Jalen Hurts, DeVonta Smith dominate in Eagles' victory vs. Commanders

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Jalen Hurts threw for three touchdowns and 340 yards while DeVonta Smith had one touchdown and 169 receiving yards in the victory. The Philadelphia Eagles held the Commanders to just 240 yards.



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College football odds, lines, schedule for Week 5: Alabama, Clemson open as big favorites in key matchups

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The start of conference play throughout college football has delivered with nearly every national title contender facing real adversity. Now, there are five ranked matchups that will take center stage as the season heads into Week 5. No. 20 Arkansas gets a quick opportunity to rebound against No. 1 Alabama after losing on a bizarre field goal miss against Texas A&M. Meanwhile, No. 16 Baylor and No. 9 Oklahoma State battle for control of the Big 12 title race after both entering as prohibitive favorites. 

In the ACC, quarterback battles should make for an exciting weekend. No. 10 NC State’s Devin Leary and No. 5 Clemson’s DJ Uiagalelei vie against the best defenses each has faced so far. No. 12 Utah also faces a large line against an Oregon State squad that took USC to the wire in Week 4. 

Here are a few of the biggest spreads to watch in Week 5 with odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook. 

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No. 10 NC State (+7) at No. 5 Clemson: The Tigers narrowly survived a battle with Wake Forest, and now get a physical Wolfpack team coming to Death Valley. NC State has slowly gotten better since nearly suffering a loss to East Carolina in its opener, but Clemson is its first real test. The battle features perhaps the two best defenses in the ACC, so keep an eye out for the under. 

No. 9 Oklahoma State (+1.5) at No. 16 Baylor: The Cowboys travel to Waco for a rematch of last year’s Big 12 Championship Game. Oklahoma State is 3-0 but has not played a team ranked higher than 86 in the CBS Sports 131 Rankings. Baylor lost a double-overtime thriller against BYU but beat Iowa State last weekend. Whichever team emerges victorious will have an inside track back to the Big 12 title game in 2022. Something to watch: OSU quarterback Spencer Sanders threw seven of his 12 interceptions against Dave Aranda’s defense last season. 

No. 2 Alabama (-16.5) at No. 20 Arkansas: The Razorbacks lost a heartbreaker on a missed field goal against Texas A&M last week and fell 10 spots in the rankings as a result. With Alabama coming to town, Arkansas has a chance to shock the world and pull off a signature victory. Arkansas played Alabama within seven points last season, and the Tide only beat Texas by one point in Week 2. The ingredients for an upset are there. 

No. 7 Kentucky (+4) at No. 14 Ole Miss: The Rebels finally get their first test of the season as Kentucky heads to Oxford with its highest ranking since 1977. The Wildcats beat Florida by 10 points but struggled in a lookahead spot against Northern Illinois. Ole Miss also played inconsistently against Tulsa in a 35-27 victory, but the win moved them to 4-0. NFL-caliber quarterbacks Will Levis and Jaxson Dart will be on full display in this game. 

No. 22 Wake Forest (+4) at No. 23 Florida State: The Demon Deacons were painfully close to snapping a 13-game losing streak to Clemson but ultimately fell in overtime. Florida State is undefeated, but its best win is over a shaky LSU team. Ultimately, the Sam Hartman vs. Jordan Travis showdown should set up one of the best games of the weekend. Home-field advantage could be the difference. 

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Best of the rest 

No. 1 Georgia at Missouri (+28)
No. 4 Michigan at Iowa (+9.5)
Arizona State at No. 6 USC (-24)
Northwestern at No. 11 Penn State (-24.5)
Oregon State at No. 12 Utah (-11)
Stanford at No. 13 Oregon (-15)
No. 15 Washington at UCLA (+2.5)
No. 17 Texas A&M at Mississippi State (-1)
No. 18 Oklahoma at TCU (+5)
Utah State at No. 19 BYU (-24.5)
Purdue at No. 21 Minnesota (-10)
Georgia Tech at No. 24 Pittsburgh (-19.5)
Texas Tech at No. 25 Kansas State (-8)



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Blue Jays employ long ball to secure a series split in Tampa

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Through a season-defining stretch that featured 16 of 21 games against the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles, and which saw them post a 10-6 record, the Toronto Blue Jays head home with a solid grip on the top wild-card spot and a playoff-berth clinch imminent.

Their magic number is down to five after a 7-1 win Sunday over the Rays secured a four-game weekend split at Tropicana Field, the soul-less circus tent where so many Blue Jays dreams have gone to die. Alejandro Kirk opened the second by rocking a 97 m.p.h. fastball from AL all-star starter Shane McClanahan over the wall in left, while George Springer took the lefty deep in the third and fifth innings, leading the way in a second straight win after three straight losses.

Teoscar Hernandez added a two-run shot in the eighth and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. an RBI single in the ninth, helping five shutout innings of hard contact but little damage from Ross Stripling and four frames of clean relief stand up before a crowd of 16,394.

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At 86-67, the Blue Jays moved two games clear of the Rays (84-69) atop the wild-card race, with the Seattle Mariners (83-68), who were at Kansas City, beginning the day 1.5 games off the pace. A loss by the Baltimore Orioles (79-72), who were hosting Houston, could further cut Toronto’s magic number.

The Blue Jays were in a much more precarious spot back before this gruelling run began, heading into a Sept. 5 doubleheader at Baltimore trailing both the Mariners and Rays in the wild-card standings and just 1.5 games on the Orioles for the third wild-card.

A sweep of that twin-bill spring-boarded them into a 13-8 run that included a 5-2 mark against the Orioles and a 5-4 run against the Rays, their perennial nemesis, that helped reset the standings.

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Nine games remain, beginning with the first of three against the New York Yankees on Monday night, and if not for the losses in five games last Sunday to Friday, that series would have at least placed a run at the AL East on the spectrum of possibility.

Instead, the Yankees will arrive on the verge of securing the division title, leaving the Blue Jays playing for homefield advantage in the wild-card round, where they may very well encounter the Rays once again.

Recovering to earn a split and finish 4-5 at the Trop this year — they were 5-5 versus the Rays at Rogers Centre — should help steel them for another meeting against a rival that dogged them in all 19 meetings.

McClanahan had been tough on the Blue Jays in the past, allowing only six earned runs in 26.1 innings over five previous starts, but gave up a career-high three homers in his five innings Sunday.

That support came after Stripling dodged damage in a first inning that included four balls put in play at 98.8 m.p.h. or harder. He better suppressed hard contact from there, allowing just a Taylor Walls double and Randy Arozarena sacrifice fly in the third over the next four innings.

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A brilliant pick by third baseman Matt Chapman on an Isaac Paredes chopper with men on the corners to end the third helped, too.

Zach Pop, Adam Cimber, Trevor Richards and Yusei Kikuchi each threw an inning to close things out.



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