3 key matchups: Cowboys at Falcons 

7:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017 Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons outside linebacker Vic Beasley before an NFL football game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017. (Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini)

Here are three key matchups to keep an eye on when the Cowboys (5-3) face the Falcons (4-4) at 4:25 p.m. Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium: 

Cowboys DE Demarcus Lawrence vs. Falcons RT Ryan Schraeder: Lawrence ranks second in the NFL in sacks with 10.5. Lawrence has started to blossom into the defensive force that the Cowboys hoped he would. In addition to rushing the passer well, he’s stout against the run. Schraeder has been playing well in pass protection. He’s missed some combination blocks with right guard Wes Schweitzer in the run game. 

Cowboys RT La’el Collins vs. Falcons OLB/DE Vic Beasley: Collins, the former LSU standout, is looking more comfortable at his new position. He played guard last season. Beasley, after posting 15.5 sacks last season, has four sacks halfway through this season. He started to round back into form after a hamstring injury. 

Cowboys WR Cole Beasley vs. Falcons CB Brian Poole: Beasley has been good red-zone weapon for quarterback Dak Prescott. He’s caught 22 passes for 165 yards and four touchdowns. Poole has four pass breakups, a sack and three quarterback hits. Poole planned to get ready for Beasley by working against Taylor Gabriel and Marvin Hall in practice. “He’s not the highest targeted player on their team, but he’s one that based on the number of targets, he takes advantage of those opportunities for sure,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said of Beasley. 

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