The Dallas Cowboys are in Pennsylvania ready to play the Pittsburgh Steelers in what a whole generation of Cowboys fans consider to be an NFL-ancient rivalry. From the 1970s to the 1990s, the Cowboys and Steelers fought to best each other year after year, going head-to-head on more than one occasion in the sport’s greatest game, the Super Bowl.
A number of you may relate more with Inside The Star Staff Writer, Sean Martin, as he was literally born while the Cowboys beat the Steelers in Super Bowl XXX. He’s turned that into a lifelong passion for football and America’s Team.
Others still are more like myself (Bryson Treece, in case any were wondering)…
In my house growing up, the Cowboys were the team to root for, for all but one member of my family. I was just a kid then, but hearing my grandmother tell my uncle Johnny (in-law) his Steelers were nothing as the sound of their banter mixed with the aroma of Thanksgiving dinner is a memory I’ll never forget.
Today’s game is nowhere near as dramatic as some in the past, but these two teams each have something on the line today.
For the Cowboys, it’s an eighth win in a row behind the most unexpected quarterback ever to step foot on a football field. Like Jon Favreau’s character in the movie Rudy, attending the Fighting Irish’s first game with a first-time-dressed Rudy Ruettiger, fans of Dallas have been screaming in glee. Only we’re saying “He’s so green!” instead of “He’s so little!”
After seven straight wins, no one can deny the improbability of Dak Prescott.
He not only out-plays his rookie status, but he’s made his way into the starting lineup of a team who had no room for him at the top when training camp started. From being the eighth QB selected in the 2016 NFL Draft to practicing badly all summer, from dazzling in preseason to being thrown into the fire with the first-team Seahawks when Tony Romo went down, from a nail-biter against the New York Giants in week one to being the single most impressive — and winning — rookie QB in Cowboys history through eight games…
No one can deny the improbability of Dak Prescott, nor his importance to this team. And once you get past the surprise, you get to the league’s best offensive line and best running back, who is also a rookie.
It’s so difficult to remain calm about these Cowboys when Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott take to the field each Sunday afternoon. The excitement has the nation — and not just Cowboys Nation — buzzing about playoffs and the Super Bowl just barely midway through the season.
The Cowboys are fighting today for legitimacy. They got some against the Bengals, and some more against the Packers, and even managed to earn some against the Browns to the tune of 35-10 in a game they were already supposed to win.
Now it’s time for the next hurdle; Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
For the Steelers, today’s game is just as important. Roethlisberger’s return from injury last week was less than stellar, to say the least, but it was what most expected, his first game back. At his age, rust can set in with just a single week off. But he’s freshly polished and ready to face the ‘Boys.
The Steelers are at home, and they’re 4-4 on the season. They need a win today and, in their 32nd meeting together, any sense of rivalry they feel toward the Dallas Cowboys has to take a backseat to the prospect of failing under .500.
It’s the home-stretch, and Coach Tomlinson isn’t going to be happy settling for dropping to 4-5 at home.
The last time the Cowboys were in Pittsburgh was in 2008, in the snow, with Tony Romo under center. It was a thriller for us all to watch the still fresh — at the time — Romo take on the Steelers, regardless of the outcome.
And now, let’s take a look at what our team at Inside The Star is looking for from this latest dive into the land of Terrible Towels.
Brian Martin | @Bmart0204
The historic rivalry between the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers will be talked about at length, and because of that, a lot of people are predicting a close, hard-fought game. I, however, think the Cowboys can once again dominate in all three phases the game.
That’s due in large to the fact the Steelers are decimated by injuries, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
I predict the Cowboys will continue to run the ball and control the time of possession. It’s worked so far, so why change things up?
Cowboys 28 – Steelers 17
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John Williams | @John9williams
The Dallas Cowboys are playing as well as anyone on both sides of the football. They compliment each other quite well.
The offense goes on long drives that eat up a lot of clock and keep the defense rested on the sideline. The defense doesn’t give up big plays and holds teams to field goals.
This week will be decided on the health of Ben Roethlisberger and the Dallas defense’s ability to contain Antonio Brown. Le’Veon Bell is going to get his yards, but as long as he doesn’t gash them for big plays, the Dallas Cowboys do enough to win.
Cowboys 27 – Steelers 21
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Kevin Brady | @Kevinbrady88
They have to lose again at some point, right? This is a tough matchup for a Cowboys team missing their best corner and starting strong safety as the Steelers have a hungry Antonio Brown and Big Ben back healthy.
This will be a tight game throughout, especially since the Cowboys will be able to run the ball effectively. In the end, however, the Cowboys give Ben too much time for a game winning drive, and lose for the first time in seven games.
Cowboys 23 – Steelers 27
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Justin Grohowski | @Grohowknowhow
The Pittsburgh Steelers need this game a lot more than the Cowboys do. Add in the fact that they’re home and coming off a bad performance by Big Ben, and this will be a tough one to get for Dallas.
With a banged up secondary, I expect the Steelers’ explosive offense to hit its stride through the air. The Dallas offense will hang tough, and this game will live up to the hype.
Dallas falls on a Pittsburgh field goal as time expires.
Cowboys 28 – Steelers 31
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Jess Haynie | @CowboysAddicts
Pittsburgh’s big-play offense could wreak havoc on a Dallas secondary missing Morris Claiborne and Barry Church. The Cowboys could win time-of-possession but still lose this game, if Ben Roethlisberger gets hot.
At home and desperate to stay above .500, I think the Steelers win a close one.
Cowboys 27 – Steelers 31
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Ian Koplowitz | @BleedingTheStar
This game has the makings of a shootout. I fear that losing Morris Claiborne and Barry Church will really hurt our ability to contain Pittsburgh’s aerial attack.
Having said that, I like our odds running the ball, and the Steelers secondary is very suspect. I look for Dan Bailey to come through at the end of a nail-biter.
Cowboys 24 – Steelers 23
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Sean Martin | @ShoreSportsNJ
If there were still any Ezekiel Elliott doubters following the Cowboys during this seven game winning streak, there won’t be after today – as he carries this team to their eighth win in a row. In what will be a wild high-scoring affair, the Steelers will fail to shut down Elliott, opening up Dak Prescott and the passing game to out-score Pittsburgh on the road.
Cowboys 35 – Steelers 33
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Bryson Treece | @BrysonTreece
The Steelers have a knack for upsetting the Cowboys. It goes back generations and continues to this day. A few of my colleagues are predicting that the inevitability of a second loss will bite the ‘Boys but I have my doubts.
The Cowboys are hungry. Even at 7-1, they’re playing like it’s 1-7. They’re young and energized behind some awfully impressive leadership from Dak Prescott, and no, not just for a rookie. Seasoned vets rarely lead a team the way Prescott has led your Dallas Cowboys, and it’s resulting in check after check in the win column.
Even still, I believe the Cowboys will struggle today. I believe last week’s route of the Browns will be a distant memory by halftime with a pick from Prescott. But, I think the Cowboys have too much momentum to let the Steelers ruin their fun for long.
Cowboys 30 – Steelers 23
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It seems every additional win brings about an equally increasing mixture of worry and pride. A few of the guys have touched on it already, and it warrants repeating, every win brings that second loss one game closer. We fear the collapse we know all too well, and we’re in disbelief that this team can keep it going for much longer.
If history is any indicator, and it always is, then the very thing pinning our ears back will surely be the thing that brings us to a crashing halt… the performance of our rookies. Or so we fear, at least.
However it goes today in Pittsburgh, keep your friends close and remain positive. Be safe and GO COWBOYS!!!