If the humiliating loss in the desert yesterday wasn’t enough for Dallas, news from Cowboys’ camp today was: QB Tony Romo is out for up to four weeks with a broken pinkie.

This is a bigger story than people think. The Cowboys, once thought to be a runaway favorite to win the division and represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, are now fighting for their playoff lives and two of the next three games won’t be easy. This week, they essentially get a bye – they face the St Louis Rams, who played the spoiler yesterday in Washington but should come back to life on Sunday, but after that, it gets real tough. They face the Bucs and then head out to the Meadowlands to face the Super Bowl NY Giants. I think they’ll lose both games and be 5-4 at the bye, not a place you want to be in the ultra competitive NFC East.

Once Romo’s back, it’ll be interesting though. In the interim, this Cowboys team has a lot of problems: they have poor coaching; they have a talented group of individuals who can’t come together as a team; they also have bought into the illusion created by media and experts alike who picked them to be the best in the league at the beginning of the season when it’s clear to all now that they’re not… in fact, it’s not even close. And even if they can fix these problems, which are no small matter by the way, the end of the season has typically been a time when Romo comes undone, as his record in December and January are dismal. So this year, if Dallas is forced to win big games in late December, history has shown that you shouldn’t bet the house on the prospect of that happening.

If the Cowboys don’t end up making the playoffs, let alone a Super Bowl, there’ll be some drastic changes in big D because everything has fallen in place for them. Only the Giants right now appear to stand in their way; the Patriots aren’t the Patriots, the Colts still have to display more consistency, the Chargers can’t get out of their own way and Jacksonville doesn’t have enough talent.

In the NFL, the old saying rings true in that you need to “strike while the iron is hot.” There hasn’t been a better opportunity in the past decade for the Cowboys to bring a Super Bowl back to big D but unfortunately for them, the iron appears to have cooled off a bit prematurely this season.

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