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Leighton Vander Esch has been ruled out vs. Bills with neck injury

Cowboys, Leighton Vander Esch, Bills

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch has been ruled out of his team’s game against the Buffalo Bills on Thanksgiving Day due to a neck injury, per Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk.

This does not come as much of a surprise, as the expectation all week had been that Vander Esch would not play. It will mark the third straight game he has missed as a result of the injury, one that occurred during the Cowboys’ win over the Philadelphia Eagles back on Oct. 20.

Given the importance of Vander Esch to Dallas’ defense, this is obviously significant, as it seems to be something that could be an issue for him throughout the remainder of the season. In the nine games he has played this year, Vander Esch has logged 72 tackles, a half of a sack and a forced fumble.

The 23-year-old, who played his collegiate football at Iowa State, was originally selected by the Cowboys in the first round (19th pick overall) of the 2018 NFL Draft. He had a tremendous rookie campaign, playing in every contest and racking up 140 tackles, a couple of interceptions and seven passes defended en route to a Pro Bowl appearance.

Dallas is 6-5 and has lost five of its last eight games after starting the year 3-0. Most recently, the Cowboys fell to the New England Patriots by a score of 13-9 last Sunday. The good news is that Dallas still holds a one-game lead over the Eagles for first place in the NFC East.