The Cowboys and the Steelers are going in totally different directions right now.
At 7-1, the Cowboys are rolling and routing their opponents. Seven straight wins have Dallas and their fans feeling a level of pride and confidence which has been absent around the team for a long time.
On the other side stand the Steelers, reeling after three straight losses and leaking confidence at just 4-4. “Pathetic,” said guard David DeCastro of the Steelers 21-14 loss last Sunday to the Baltimore Ravens, before proclaiming this weeks game against the Cowboys to be their “turning point.”
If they were to lose this week at home, to their historical rival, they may be done and buried only 9 games in.
Even at 4-4, however, the Steelers still pose the biggest threat to the Cowboys winning streak.
The Best Quarterback They Have Seen
Ben Roethlisberger is the best quarterback the Cowboys have seen so far, even coming off a bad performance on Sunday. In his interview with staff writer RJ Ochoa, former Cowboys' great Michael Irvin discussed how last week was Ben's first game off of injury, and how he will be better this Sunday.
I couldn't agree more with the Playmaker.
Ben's greatness doesn't stand alone, however. The Steelers also possess one of the scariest receiving corps in all of the NFL. Unlike the Green Bay Packers, who didn't bring an Antonio Brown to the table, the Steelers have the talent on the outside to truly challenge and beat a banged-up Cowboys secondary.
A banged-up Cowboys secondary. Because yes, they are really banged up, missing arguably two of their top three defensive backs in Morris Claiborne and Barry Church. Sure, the Cowboys found ways to deal with Odell Beckham Jr., AJ Green, and Jordy Nelson but that was when the parts of their secondary were more whole. On Sunday, this will not be the case.
The First Elite Running Back
This might be what scares me the most on Sunday.
After missing the first three games of the season due to suspension, Le'veon Bell is back to his old-self. Though he has only eclipsed 100 yards rushing once this season, he is still a dangerous threat in both the run and pass game. He is also by far the best back the Cowboys have had to deal with this season. The same Cowboys that nearly gave up 100 yards rushing to Darren Sproles, that is.
But then again, the Cowboys are yet to give up a 100 yard rusher this season. Despite this fact, I am still yet to say the Cowboys have some great run defense. I think the biggest reason they haven't allowed a 100 yard rusher is because of each game's circumstances.
The Cowboys offense has built early leads so consistently, that teams have had to either abandon the run game altogether or at least use it much less as the game wears on. If the Steelers can avoid that early Cowboys onslaught, Le'veon Bell might be poised for a very big game on Sunday.
Listen, the Cowboys should absolutely be confident heading into this game. Not only do I truly believe they are the better, more talented team, but they are also playing at a much higher level than the Steelers have been lately.
But, this game still worries me a ton. The winning streak has to end at some point, right? And the Steelers are too good to lose 4 straight games, right? And Vegas has the Steelers as a 2.5 point favorite!
This really might be the perfect storm for the Steelers to beat the Cowboys this Sunday.
I won't admit that yet, though, as I still believe in Dallas and the team which is so clearly greater than just about everyone else in the league.