This game is huge. This is the NFL's Game of the Week. For the Dallas Cowboys, this might just be the game of the year—the game that propels them to their first successful December in recent memory and helps them to take hold of an ever-so-coveted Wild Card berth...
However,this could be the game that sends the 'Boys on a fatal decline in what could quickly become one of, if not the most, dissappointing seasons in Cowboys History.
Make no mistake about it: This game is HUGE.
Okay okay, enough with the dramatics already! One simple question:
Can the Dallas Cowboys beat the Pittsburgh Steelers?
Coming into this game, all the talk is of the nasty weather and the dominate Pittsburgh defense.
Now I'm going to go ahead and dismiss the weather issue. It is overblown. Last I checked, both teams had to play in it, so I do not see why this only effects the Cowboys (unless of course the Steelers are immune to cold).
Back in the day, weather would be a sensible argument for why one team will struggle and the other won't. However, in the age of free-agency, I just don't buy it.
TO used to play in Philly. Romo grew up in Wisconsin. Roy Williams (WR) just left Detroit. Marion Barber played his college ball in Minnesota. These guys have all played in nasty conditions, and it will effect the Steelers just like it will effect the Cowboys.
Now lets talk about this vaunted Pittsburgh defense. I am NOT going to dismiss them. They are great! Their front seven is especially fierce. They will get pressure on Romo, probably force mistakes and will limit our opportunities. I will not even waste my time debating the skills of the Pittsburgh defense.
However, for as great as their defense is, their offense is equally...not...great.
The Pittsburgh offense ranks 28th in the league at only 308.2 yard per game. They score 22.4 points per game, which puts them at 20th in the league. Roethlisberger has been sacked 33 times in 12 games. Only David Garrard and Matt Cassel have been sacked more than Big Ben. Roethlisberger is also tied for the fifth most intercepted passer at 12 INTs, while throwing only 13 touchdowns.
To put that in perspective, Tony Romo has thrown only eight interceptions to go along with 21 touchdowns, tied for fourth in the league, in three fewer games. Romo has also been sacked only eight times, 25 times less than Roethlisberger. The Dallas offense, with Romo, ranks second in the league in both points and yards per game (28.33 and 397.8 respectively).
As good as the Dallas offense and the Pittsburgh defense are, the difference in this game will be the Dallas defense, who have been playing surprisingly well as of late, holding three of their last five opponents to 10 points or less.
While Pittsburgh currently leads the league in sacks with 42, Dallas is right behind them with 40. Roethlisberger's tendency to hold onto the ball too long should help the Cowboy's add to that total, and we just might have a new sack leader come Monday morning.
Dallas Cowboys 17 - Pittsburgh Steelers 13