DENVER - Take a look at the five matchups to watch for as the Denver Broncos face the Dallas Cowboys.
1. Peyton Manning vs Dallas Cowboys Defense on 3rd down
It’s easy to focus on what Peyton Manning is doing by tossing 16 touchdowns without any interceptions in the first four games. But what may be more impressive is what happens when the Broncos face a third down situation. Denver has converted 55.3 percent of their third downs which ranks first in the NFL. The Cowboys defense has held teams to a 32.7 percent conversion rate on third down, which ranks fourth in the league. Whichever team can win this stat, will have the upper-hand in the game.
2. Chris Clark vs DeMarcus Ware
Broncos left tackle Chris Clark will face his biggest challenge of the season when he lines up against the Cowboys' DeMarcus Ware. Ware has 115 career sacks in nine seasons and he has four sacks so far this year. If the Broncos want to attack the Cowboys 28th best passing defense, then Clark will have to keep Ware far away from Manning.
3. Dez Bryant vs Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
With Champ Bailey questionable to play against the Cowboys, the assignment to cover the Cowboys' top receiver, Dez Bryant, will fall on Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Bryant has scored in his last three games, including twice last week against the Chargers.
4. Julius Thomas vs Cowboys Linebackers
Julius Thomas jumped onto the NFL scene by hauling in five passes for 110 yards with two touchdowns in the Broncos first game. Since then, he's only had 127 receiving yards with two scores. Look for Thomas to attack the Cowboys linebacking unit, especially since veteran Cowboys' linebacker Ernie Sims will replace Bruce Carter.
5. DeMarco Murray vs Broncos Defense
The Cowboys' running back DeMarco Murray is third in the league with 356 rushing yards. He will face a Broncos rush defense that is ranked first in the NFL, only giving up 74 yards rushing per game.