Cowboys Sink or Swim on Tony Romo’s back

Romo2014WeedenLeading up to Week 10 of the NFL season, the previous two weeks of football had not been a pleasant experience for Dallas Cowboys fans. On Monday Night Football in Week 8, quarterback Tony Romo went down with what appeared to be a significant back injury.  Brandon Weeden came in to replace Romo and despite leading them down the field for a late field goal and the lead, Colt McCoy and the Washington Redskins eventually won in overtime 20-17.

In Week 9, Romo was still sidelined with his back injury and Weeden looked entirely unimpressive, throwing two interceptions and averaging just 5.5 yards per attempt in a 28-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.  The Cowboys, who had been 6-1 and looked as if they were the cream of the crop in the NFC, had fallen to 6-3 and had a major quarterback issue.

However, this past Sunday, Romo assuaged many concerns moving forward as Dallas defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 31-17 to get back on a winning track.  Playing in London at the famed Wembley Stadium, Dallas jumped out to a 24-7 lead at the half, buoyed by two remarkable touchdown catches by Dez Bryant.  Joseph Randle would add a 40 yard touchdown run early in the third quarter, giving Dallas a 31-7 lead that essentially ended the game. The Jags would add ten more points, but Dallas was able to rest their starters for much of the final quarter as the team closed out the 31-17 victory.

The Cowboys will receive a much-needed bye in Week 12.  Romo will get two weeks of down time before their next matchup at MetLife Stadium against the New York Giants.  Unfortunately, it will be the Sunday Night Football game so the weather will most likely be cold and windy, hardly optimal conditions for a poor back. Cowboys vs. NY Giants tickets currently start at $130 and have an average ticket price of $388.

The Cowboys will have just two remaining home games on the season as they host Philadelphia on Thanksgiving Day and the Indianapolis Colts in the penultimate week of the year. Eagles vs. Cowboys tickets is the higher-priced matchup, currently with a get-in price of $130 and an average price of $389, just a dollar higher than the Giants game.  For Cowboys vs. Colts tickets, it will cost you a minimum of $102 to get in the door and the average ticket price is currently $321.

It certainly seemed on Sunday afternoon that if Romo can play the final six games of the regular season, the Cowboys will be the favorites to win the NFC East.  The Giants and Redskins could still claw their way back, but both teams sit at 3-6 and can not afford another blemish if they want to take the division.  While the Eagles are still neck and neck with the Cowboys, the loss of quarterback Nick Foles could potentially derail their playoff aspirations.  Replacement Mark Sanchez has been to the playoffs before, notably leading the New York jets to two AFC Conference championship games, but it’s hard to argue that a Romo-led Dallas team will be able to weather the storm better than a Sanchez-led Philly team.  The two teams have two crucial matchups with each other left on the schedule, so we will shortly see if Dallas can get back to the postseason and if Romo can be the one to take them there.