Will the 'Boys be able to sign Dez and Murray long term or will one get the franchise tag?
Rowan: I have absolutely no doubt Dez Bryant will be on this team. The Cowboys will try to get a multi-year deal done, and if they can't, they'll give him the tag. They won't let him go. I'm less sure about Murray. Even at his historic pace, I still don't know if the Cowboys view him as their top priority. They're running him as much as they possibly can, and it'll be interesting to see if he can hold up for all 16 games for the first time. I'm not sure they can afford all the players they'd like to, which could leave Murray out. Running backs just rarely get signed long-term on second contracts now, and there's a reason they're rarely going in the first round. It would be a big hit being without Murray, but he's less likely to be here than Dez.
David: You're going to look at me like I'm crazy, but I'm not sold the Cowboys need to re-sign Murray longterm even after his hot start. The running back position is just not as heavily valued as it used to be. With the resources the Cowboys have allocated into their offensive line, they could sign a more affordable free agent or draft a running back in the 2015 draft. I think there would be some dropoff, because Murray is an outstanding back, but they could manage. Dez will and should get a longterm deal – he's not just one of the five best receivers in a pass-happy league, he's also the face of this franchise for the coming years when Tony Romo and Jason Witten retire. It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if they franchised Murray and re-signed Dez, but I wonder if they wouldn't rather just move on and spend that money elsewhere.
Are you concerned about a Cowboys letdown against the [embedded_ad] Texans?
Rowan: That's a legitimate concern. Recently, this team hasn't handled success very well. That's why they have an 8-8 record so often. They lose, they answer. They get a big win, they come back down to reality. This year obviously has a different vibe, as the 3-1 record shows, and they know they weren't given much of a shot this year heading in. So I'm not expecting a letdown, but it wouldn't be shocking to see. I just look at the Texans' wins (Raiders, Redskins, Bills), and that's not a particularly perilous stretch.
David: One of these teams is going to finish with a record that's not as good as it looks right now – there's always a team that starts hot and fades during the season. If the Cowboys are for real, I think they should win this game. Houston has played well, but against suspect competition – and not necessarily in impressive fashion. I don't know if I'd call it a letdown, because we're not 100 percent sure the Cowboys are actually legit. But if they are, this is a game they've got to win.