Preseason preview: Cowboys versus Cardinals

Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ezekiel Elliott likely to get his first carry of the season, but focus will be on the offensive line.

The Cowboys third preseason game rolls our way on Sunday night and its an interesting one versus the former division rival Cardinals.

Everyone who pays close attention knows that the third preseason game is sometimes called a dress rehearsal and its commonly the final tune-up before the regular season begins (with the fourth preseason game serving as a spotlight for roster-bubble players).

Dallas coach Jason Garrett was pretty vague on Thursday in discussing who would and wouldnt play. But its a fair bet, having seen Dak Prescott and many of the first-teamers play several series against the Bengals, that well get a healthy dose of the starters versus Arizona. Were also likely to see Ezekiel Elliotts first carries of the campaign.

All eyes will be focused on the Cowboys offensive line as a group of would-be backups step into leading roles. Travis Frederick, we learned this week, is battling Guillain-Barre Syndrome and guard Zack Martin hyperextended his knee against Cincinnati and wont play on Sunday night.

So well find out how the retooled offensive front stands up in a live-action situation. It appears Joe Looney will be snapping the ball in Fredericks place. Alongside Looney, were likely to see a lot of Connor Williams, Chaz Green, Cameron Fleming and Kadeem Edwards.

Its starting to look like the offensive line is going to be a question mark, at least early in this season. If things fall right and Martin and Frederick get back on the field quickly, it could once again be a huge strength. But it could also be an injury revolving door and well find out how well Dallass depth stands up.

The other big thing to watch versus the Cardinals will be the Cowboys defense. This group is gaining momentum and praise this preseason as the first-teamers have allowed just seven points through two halves of football. In fact, theyre seconds away from having pitched a shutout as San Francisco managed to score a touchdown in the final minute of the second quarter in the preseason opener.

Jaylone Smith and Chidobe Awuzie are shaping up to be stars alongside Sean Lee and Demarcus Lawrence. Will we see that continue to take hold on Sunday? Who else might step up? Maybe a big play from Randy Gregory?

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