Cowboys aren't only ones with questions
October, 28, 2013
By Mike Sando | ESPN.com
AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post/Getty ImagesTony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys suffered a tough defeat in Week 8.
Only one NFL team since 2010 has blown more leads in the final two minutes and lost than the Dallas Cowboys, and that team is the Detroit Lions. We'll pause for a few seconds here so followers of those teams can finish their knowing nods. Fans might not have known the numbers -- eight blown-lead defeats for the Lions, a sixth for the Cowboys on Sunday -- but they knew these truths to be self-evident. Oh, what an emotional price to pay.
Putting these soul-crushers under the same roof in Week 8 produced an ending for the ages. The Lions won 31-30 after Matthew Stafford changed a routine clock-killing spike into an unauthorized QB sneak. The dramatic finish did more than strengthen these teams' reputations for late-game volatility. It further defined two of the 14 teams that entered Week 8 hoping to reach .500 or avoid falling back to it.
Three of those 14 teams won, six lost, four had byes and another, St. Louis, limped toward the Monday night game without its QB. Seven of the 14 stand .500 or better, including the Cowboys and Lions. We'll take a closer look at those seven teams' prospects for the rest of the season based on strengths, weaknesses, quarterback play, remaining schedules and whether their problems appear fixable. Buckle your chinstraps, and watch out for the sneak.
Team: Dallas Cowboys
Record: 4-4, first in NFC East
Conference standing: 4th seed
Remaining SOS: .448, 25th-hardest in NFL
Total QBR: 62.3 (11th)
Prognosis: Good, thanks to a soft NFC East featuring three teams at 3-5 or worse. Dallas can be a mystifying team to watch from game to game, but there are real reasons for the Cowboys' issues. Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware combined to start all but two games last season, and they ranked first (Spencer) and ninth (Ware) in Pro Football Focus' 3-4 positional rankings. Spencer is now out for the season, while Ware has been hurt and missed the last two games. Running back DeMarco Murray is also out.