Four weeks ago the New Orleans Saints blew out the Cowboys. They were ineffective on offense and non-existent on defense putting forward their worst performance of the year. And yet that was still not the most devastating thing to happen that week. Sean Lee, the Cowboys most important defensive player, went down leaving the Dallas Cowboys an absolute mess on defense.
The combination of the drubbing from the Saints and the numbing loss of Sean Lee left most of the world wondering if the Cowboys would be able to just dust off what happened and focus on re establishing themselves as the leaders of the NFC East.
Now the Cowboys stand on top of the NFC East coming off of back to back wins and, the best news of all, Sean Lee is expected to return. The Cowboys were able to take advantage of what now looks like the best possible timing for Sean Lee to get injured. With one week being the bye the Cowboys rallied without Sean Lee and took down divisional foes in the New York Giants, and gave America a second half treat on Thanksgiving against the Oakland Raiders.
Sean Lee is returning just when the Cowboys need him most. It is still unknown as to whether or not the Bears or the Packers will have their starting quarterbacks, but one thing remains the same. With the Eagles keeping stride the Cowboys know that with only 4 games remaining in the schedule, there’s very little room for error.
Even if Jay Cutler does not play the Chicago Bears is a team that the Cowboys desperately needed Sean Lee for. Matt Forte is one of the most dangerous weapons in the NfL, both in the passing game and in the running game. Sean Lee ranked second in run stop % before getting hurt, and is one of the most effective sideline to sideline linebackers in the NFL and is sure to be much more effective against Matt Forte than his inconsistent replacement Bruce Carter.
With four games left the Cowboys are still in a position where they control their destiny, and they are starting to get healthy at the right time. Morris Claiborne suffered a setback last week, but with Sean Lee returning this is the healthiest the defense has been all season and aside from the absence of Dwayne Harris, who has more of an impact on special teams that offense, the offense has all the necessary weapons for this final playoff push.
With the regular season finale against the Eagles looming and uncertainty as to whether or not Aaron Rodgers will be active against the Cowboys, this Monday night showdown against the Bears is crucial. With the Eagles facing a tough Detroit Lions team the Cowboys may have an opportunity to get a little separation in the NFC East.
Sean Lee is not only the most productive player on the defensive side of the field; he is also the leader and the quarterback of this defensive unit. Sean Lee not only makes the Cowboys better on the field, but also in their minds. Sean Lee’s productivity and leadership can’t be quantified and his return puts the Cowboys in a much better position to keep the Eagles behind them in the standings and end their playoff drought.