IRVING, Texas –The Cowboys have won four of their last five games, and a big reason for that has been Dez Bryant. He's scored a touchdown in each of the last five games, and seven overall in that span, in which the Cowboys are 4-1.
But the Steelers rank No. 1 in total defense and first against pass. Factor that in, plus Bryant's finger issues and there are tons of questions marks regarding this matchup of 7-6 teams.
Here are the gut feelings for staff writers Nick Eatman, Bryan Broaddus and Rowan Kavner.
Rowan: The uncertainty regarding how Dez Bryant's fractured finger will affect his play makes this prediction a little more difficult. Both teams are dealing with injuries, but while the Cowboys have won three of their last four games, the Steelers have lost three of their last four. Turnovers continue to be a problem for a Steelers team that lost last week despite the return of starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers defense is still among the strongest in the league, and the Cowboys' defense is getting further and further decimated, but the Cowboys should be able to outscore the Steelers in a close one if Bryant can continue to fight through the pain and extend his scoring streak.
Bryan:Much has been made about how Dez Bryant and his injured finger would respond to the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and going forward.
First off I am not surprised in Bryant's decision to play on Sunday but I do know this from having worked with these trainers ands doctors, they would not put him in harms way and all the information and help they could provide would be with his total safety in mind. My gut feeling is that Bryant attacks this situation like his has attacked this season, full head on. I expect nothing different from Bryant. If his quarterback can get time, Bryant will make plays. The Steelers are banged up in the secondary and could have trouble dealing with him. Bryant as crazy as this sounds will be focused and handle the task at hand. Look for him to get into the game early and often when his name is called. Jason Garrett will help him with play calls that put him in positions to make plays against the Steelers.
Nick: We knew when the schedule came out back in April this game would be huge. I'm not sure anyone thought it would be a battle of 7-6 teams, but I think we can both see how injuries have affected each squad. Still, the Steelers are No.1 on defense and the best against the pass. In the last eight games, they've put the clamps down on some pretty good quarterbacks. I know Dez Bryant will try to play and I think he should be applauded for it, but I do question how effective he'll be. I see a close game all the way, but the physical teams like Chicago, Seattle and Baltimore have hurt the Cowboys this year. For that, I see Pittsburgh squeaking this one out.