After suffering their worst loss of the season the Dallas Cowboys get an extra week with an awful taste in their mouth. Nobody likes the lose before the bye, but to lose the way the Cowboys did to the Saints makes it that much worse. Taking that into consideration, the bye week could not have come at a better time. Miles Austin, Morris Claiborne, Jason Hatcher, Nick Hayden, DeVonte Holloman, J.J Wilcox, DeMarcus Ware, and most recently Sean Lee are all dealing with injuries. The Cowboys defense is decimated and with the way they performed against the Saints this team cannot succeed until they get healthier. The good news is many of these guys do not have long term injuries.
Miles Austin is expected to return to the lineup following the bye week and even though Terrance Williams appeared to have taken over as the number two receiver in Dallas, after the way the Cowboys offense has performed recently, Miles Austin will be a welcome sight on the field. With Austin's return, the Cowboys offense is one of the healthiest in the league. Aside from the season ending injury to Brian Waters, Murray has returned and the Cowboys offense will have all the pieces they need to be a force in the NFL.
The Cowboys' defense has seen an impressive increase in turnovers this year, but aside from that it's starting to look at lot more like last year's, decimated with injuries and a liability during games. Jason Hatcher, J.J Wilcox and DeMarcus Ware could all be on the field after the bye week, but this defense has a tremendous challenge ahead of themselves with Sean Lee sidelined for 3-4 weeks. There's always the chance of a miraculous recovery and Sean Lee could return immediately. However, Dallas Cowboys Nation should expect to have at least a couple games without the team's defensive MVP. Sean Lee led the league in tackles, was tied for interceptions and was the quarterback of the defense.
The Cowboys defense looked like children playing with men without Lee against the Saints and a lot of people are going to have to step up to make up for this loss. The return of key players in the secondary and on the defensive line will definitely help a defense that is going to have to find a way to slow down the opposing offense, something they haven't been able to do any time they've faced a top quarterback.
With the Eagles starting to find their form and tying the Cowboys for the NFC East lead the Cowboys can't afford another performance like the one in New Orleans. The bye week will help with the injuries and the next two games against the Giants and the Raiders are not only winnable games but must win games. Even without Sean Lee the Cowboys know they are very capable of taking down and Giants and Raiders putting them two games above .500.
But if they blow these next two games, it can be expected that the Eagles will take over as division leaders, both the Redskins and the Giants won't be far behind the Cowboys and they will have the next two games against the Bears and the Packers who should both have their starting quarterbacks back. Even with the blown games and awful injuries the Cowboys have a chance to maintain the lead in the NFC East and when Sean Lee returns they could be in the driver's seat of the NFC East. But if they can't pull it together while Sean Lee recovers the NFC East could easily slip out of the hands of the Dallas Cowboys