5 players and areas that have to be elite on Sunday to beat the Cowboys

The Miami Dolphins will host the Cowboys in a game that is important for both teams in their pursuit of playoff seeding and division titles.

Dec 17, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) and running
Dec 17, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) and running / Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
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Andrew Van Ginkel could make the biggest impact on the Miami Dolphins defense this Sunday.

Van Ginkel is having an incredible season in 2023 and on Sunday, he may need to have his best game yet. AVG needs to have great vision and reactions against the Cowboys. They can run the ball and will use play action often to keep Miami guessing.

AVG should be able to get to Dak Prescott and if he can do that consistently, it could force the Cowboys to adjust their protection which in turn should allow Christian Wilkins and Zach Sieler to make big impacts as well.

While AVG is important, Duke Riley may be the most important linebacker this week. He will be calling the defense and will adjust according to what the Cowboys set shows. If Riley can keep the communication open and clear, the Dolphins will be able to keep the Cowboys' offense guessing.

Mismatches are not going to win this game, Miami has to be creative and they need to disguise their blitzes and coverage to keep Prescott guessing. Riley needs to recognize the running lanes and plug them quickly before the offensive linemen can get to the 2nd level.

This week will be a test for the entire team and every player from Kendall Lamm to Tua Tagovailoa and Raekwon Davis to Jalen Ramsey will need to play some of their best football.

There is no need for bulletin board material this week. The Dolphins have a lot on the line. Win and they move one step closer to a division title. Maybe they win the division this week. More importantly, if they do win, they lock up a spot in the playoffs.