How to save Cowboys' playoff bid

Reducing Romo's burden, improving defense key to making the postseason

Updated: November 27, 2012, 11:13 AM ET
By Herm Edwards | ESPN Insider

Tony RomoAP Photo/Sharon EllmanTony Romo has struggled with turnovers, throwing 16 interceptions this season.

It seems the Dallas Cowboys end up in this position every season -- struggling with consistency and on the edge of the playoffs. There's no question that they are a talented football team, but they are also a football team that is not living up to expectations. Last season, Dallas blew five fourth-quarter leads and lost four of its last five games on the way to a disappointing 8-8 finish.

This year, the Cowboys sit at 5-6 and again are on the edge of the wild-card race. Even with everything that has gone wrong this season, there is a window for them to make a run to the playoffs. A month ago, I wrote that the Cowboys were playoff pretenders, and I don't think that has changed, but there are improvements they can make to try to save their season.

Here are three things the Cowboys must do to make the playoffs:

1. Reduce the burden on Tony Romo

The biggest issue for Romo is that he's taking too many risks and turning the ball over far too often. With 16 interceptions, Romo is trying to make big plays down the field and holding onto the ball too long. The reason is that he is being asked to do more now than at any other point in his career.