The Cowboys are clearly one of the NFL's most surprising teams, winners of seven straight games on their way to a 7-1 record.
With each win, the quarterback debate seems to be dialed down as rookie Dak Prescott has taken the league by storm. Owner Jerry Jones said on Tuesday that the team will play the quarterback situation "by ear," which is somewhat of a backtrack considering he has said before that it's still "Romo's team."
Romo was supposed to play against the Browns and now it seems unlikely he will suit up against the Steelers this Sunday, although the veteran is expected to do more in practice this week.
Prescott, along with rookie running mate Ezekiel Elliott, continue to rack up weekly awards around the NFL for their dominant play. Prescott became just the third rookie since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970 to win seven consecutive games. One of those players is this week's matchup in Ben Roethlisberger, while the other is a former Cowboys backup in Kyle Orton.
Elliott has been held under 100 yards in each of the last two games, but has still eclipsed 90 yards in both outings and his two-touchdown performance last week in Cleveland was rather impressive. Through eight games, Elliott not only leads the league with 891 yards, but is on pace to rush for 1,782 yards, which would be the second-highest single-season total in club history, only behind DeMarco Murray's 1,845 yards in 2014.
Defensively, the Cowboys are slowly becoming one of the better teams in the league. The defense ranks 10th in the NFL and sixth against the rush, yielding just 86.9 yards per game.
Through eight games, the Cowboys remain the only team in the NFL that hasn't given up either a 100-yard rusher or 100-yard receiver. That's impressive considering the likes of A.J. Green, Jordy Nelson, Odell Beckham Jr., Alshon Jeffery, Eddie Lacy and Jeremy Hill have been on the schedule. But that mark might be tested even more this week as the Steelers have arguably the best receiver-runner combo in the league with Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell.
[embeddedad0]From an injury standpoint, the Cowboys don't seem overly worried about Ron Leary's status. He was taken out of the game Sunday in Cleveland and was evaluated for a head injury. Safety Barry Church had surgery on Tuesday on his broken forearm, but there's still a chance he could return for the Thanksgiving Day game against the Redskins. Cornerback Morris Claiborne might need a few more weeks to return from his groin injury.
The Steelers have now lost three straight games and remain one of the NFL's most intriguing teams, considering some of the big wins they've earned in 2016, coupled with some head-scratching losses.
The health of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger seems to make the biggest difference for this Steelers team. His knee injury against the Dolphins four weeks ago led to a surprising loss for Pittsburgh, which also lost the next week to the Patriots and then last Sunday in Baltimore.
Roethlisberger was able to play last week against the Ravens, but struggled early, only to rally the Steelers to a couple of touchdowns. It wasn't enough, though, in the 21-14 loss.
The Steelers are counting on their veteran signal-caller to bounce back this week with the Cowboys coming to town.
Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell called out the team and/or the coaching staff, saying the problems stem from poor practice play. Head coach Mike Tomlin didn't exactly disagree with Bell's opinion. The Steelers were flagged for 13 penalties for 99 yards in last week's loss to the Ravens.
On the injury front, center Maurkice Pouncey suffered a thumb injury that required surgery, but Tomlin hasn't ruled him out of playing this week. Also, receiver Darius Heyward-Bey sustained a sprained foot and his status for Sunday remains questionable.