Week 16 has all of the intensity of a playoff game for the Dallas Cowboys, as they take on Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts. Beating the Eagles a week ago put the Cowboys in position to capture the NFC East, but if they can't get past the Colts, missing the playoffs altogether could still be a real possibility.
Trying to seal the deal without DeMarco Murray could make it even more difficult. Owner Jerry Jones has suggested that Murray (broken hand) could still suit up against Indy, and that slim chance could very well be what the ‘Boys playoff hopes are riding on.
As much as Dallas has avoided putting games in Tony Romo's hands, it looks like we could be headed for old number nine to do their bidding. Romo has been having arguably the best season of his career, even battling through injuries to his back and elsewhere. His 110.4 quarterback rating is a career high in addition to his 28-8 TD-INT ratio and nearly 3,200 yards passing thus far.
With the craziness included in this week's potential shootout, it's no surprise that Dallas Cowboys tickets come in at a hefty $427 on average. Tickets for Indianapolis Colts fans traveling to Arlington will have to pay $159 to get in the door. The season is very much on the line and even if it weren't, a Romo vs. Luck battle would bring the masses in regardless. The Cowboys have been impressive this year, but that's largely been the case due to a simple formula: watch Murray run, keep the defense fresh and allow Romo to pick his spots. If Murray sits this one out or is limited, the running game could suffer, the defense could be exposed and Romo could have to be the hero.
The beauty lies in the ugliness, as Dallas is playing with everything on the line in front of their home crowd. They're a pretty pedestrian 3-4 at Jerry World, but Romo is a lot more clutch than he gets credit for and as explosive as the Colts can be, they may not get all the way up for this one now that they have their AFC South division title in the bag.
The Colts punched their ticket to the playoffs last week, but Romo and company still have work to do. With or without Murray, look for the ‘Boys to show up and finish strong in their final regular season home game of 2014.