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A court hearing today will determine whether Ezekiel Elliott plays against the Falcons

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If Dallas is missing the gifted second year back, everything changes.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Dallas Cowboys Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

It’s fair to say that Ezekiel Elliott is one of the best backs in football, and he’s facing off against one of the league’s most consistently weak run defenses this weekend. If for some reason he didn’t play, it would change the complexion of this matchup significantly, pitting a much weaker set of backups against the Falcons while their excellent pass defense gets a shot at the equally excellent Dak Prescott.

That possibility is on the table, even if it’s remote, because Elliott’s suspension is still working its way through the legal system in fits and starts. He has been ruled against and granted stays and so on and so forth for weeks now, and the suspension that he was supposed to serve early in the year still has not started yet. Elliott has vowed to fight it to the last, and to his credit, that has looked like an excellent decision so far.

Because it’s so late in the week, the possibility of Elliott somehow getting around a ruling against him might be slim. That would leave a man with nearly 800 yards rushing and seven rushing touchdowns on the sideline, while Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris tag team the Falcons. That would be a lot more threatening if it was, say, 2014.

I’d proceed as the Falcons are and assume that they’re going to need to figure out a way to contain Elliott, which is a tall order. Perhaps we’ll get lucky, though.