ESPN’s Adam Schefter recently dropped a nugget that will reverberate around the NFC over the next few days: Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo has a herniated disc in his back and will not only miss this Sunday’s winner-take-all divisional matchup between the Cowboys and Eagles but also the rest of the season if Dallas advances:
This is huge news for a Cowboys team that would be in a much worse position if it were not for Romo. While often heckled as a “choking” QB, Romo has in fact put the Cowboys on his back this season; with 3828 yards and 31 touchdowns this season, he is continuing his pattern of excellence in Dallas. His play was the main reason the Cowboys are even in this position, as he led them back from a 4th-quarter deficit Sunday against Washington.
This means the Eagles defense will be facing backup Kyle Orton on Sunday; Orton is only 3-for-5 with 40 yards this season. He has never faced the Eagles in a Cowboys uniform, and will be making the first start of his Dallas career. It will be interesting to see whether five days will be enough for him to get on the same page with guys like Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, Miles Austin, and Jason Witten; if not, the Eagles defense will have a much easier time shutting down Dallas’ passing offense and focusing on DeMarco Murray and the running game.
The Cowboys will also be without middle linebacker Sean Lee for the 5th game this season. After missing two weeks in November, he has missed the last two weeks as well and the Cowboys defense has suffered accordingly. Their best run stopper, Lee had 11 tackles and an interception in the 17-3 win against the Birds in Week 7.