With two games left to play, the Cowboys and Titans are taking vastly different approaches for their penultimate regular season game. While Dallas is likely locked into the No. 5 seed barring two losses from the Eagles, they’re keeping their starters on the field. For Tennessee it’s a different story. Their season comes down to their Week 18 bout with the Jaguars so they’re benching a majority of their starters before they head to Jacksonville.
The Cowboys are being cautious with running back Tony Pollard, who has a thigh bruise and shouldn’t be needed to defeat the Titans’ backups. Linebacker Leighton Vander-Esch is nearing his return after a stinger set him back while defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins is still a ways away before he can bring a big boost to the Dallas run defense.
Tennessee is rolling out without their star running back Derrick Henry and a majority of other key players that were dealing with nagging injuries or needed extra rest. Rookie quarterback Malik Willis is even getting a week off, while practice squad quarterback Josh Dobbs got the call to start in Nashville. Take a look at the full list of inactives for Cowboys-Titans.
RB Tony Pollard
ARLINGTON, TEXAS – NOVEMBER 24: Tony Pollard #20 of the Dallas Cowboys runs the ball during the first half in the game against the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium on November 24, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
WR James Washington
Jul 27, 2022; Oxnard, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys receiver James Washington (83) carries the ball during training camp at the River Ridge Fields. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
LB Leighton Vander-Esch
ARLINGTON, TEXAS – DECEMBER 11: Leighton Vander Esch #55 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates after a third down stop in the first half of a game against the Houston Texans at AT&T Stadium on December 11, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images)
WR Jalen Tolbert
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Jalen Tolbert (18) lines up against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
QB Will Grier
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Will Grier drops back to throw a pass in the second half of a preseason NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Arlington, Texas, Friday, Aug. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
S Markquese Bell
Dallas Cowboys safety Markquese Bell (41) runs during an NFL preseason football game against the Los Angeles Chargers Saturday, Aug. 20, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)
CB Trayvon Mullen
Sep 11, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, United States; Arizona Cardinal cornerback Trayvon Mullen Jr. watches his team play against the Kansas City Chiefs during the fourth quarter at State Farm Stadium. Mullen was acquired in a trade from the Raiders.
Nfl Cardinals Nfl Game Kansas City Chiefs At Arizona Cardinals
Titans RB Derrick Henry
Oct 14, 2018; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) rushes against Baltimore Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley (57) during the second half at Nissan Stadium. Baltimore won 21-0. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
Titans DE Jeffery Simmons
Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons (98) takes the field to face the Houston Texans at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022.
Nfl Houston Texans At Tennessee Titans
Titans LB Dylan Cole
Dec 11, 2022; Nashville, Tennessee, USA;Tennessee Titans linebacker Dylan Cole (53) tackles Jacksonville Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. (1) during the second quarter at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean-USA TODAY Sports
Titans S Amani Hooker
Tennessee Titans safety Amani Hooker (37) takes the field as the team gets ready to face the Cincinnati Bengals at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn.
Nfl Cincinnati Bengals At Tennessee Titans
CB Kristian Fulton
Houston Texans wide receiver Randall Cobb (18) makes a touchdown catch defended by Tennessee Titans cornerback Kristian Fulton (26) during the third quarter at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020 in Nashville, Tenn.
Titans OT Nicholas Petit-Frere
Nov 6, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere (78) looks to block as quarterback Malik Willis (7) throws a pass during the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Titans LB Denico Autry
Oct 23, 2022; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Titans defensive end Denico Autry (96) after a Titans win against the Indianapolis Colts at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Titans S Josh Thompson
Oct 30, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Tennessee Titans safety Josh Thompson (29) on the sideline before the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports