This week has felt like it was 14 days long for Dallas Cowboys fans as they've waited for the chance to see their team bounce back after last week's embarrassing loss. Well that time is almost here, with the Cowboys hosting the New England Patriots tomorrow.
The seemingly unending week has also given time for some intriguing storylines to develop that fans should be monitoring closely ahead of kickoff.
Here's the top news you need to know about the Cowboys' game tomorrow.
Offensive Line Health: Zack Martin & Tyler Biadasz Injury Update
A loss to the tanking Arizona Cardinals required more than just one thing to go wrong, and it's the red zone struggles plus poor run defense getting most of the attention. But what about the fact that the Cowboys were playing without two of their best players?
Zack Martin (ankle) and Tyler Biadasz (hamstring) were both inactive last week, leaving rookie undrafted free agent T.J. Bass and last-minute practice squad callup Brock Hoffman starting at guard and center, respectively. That's not ideal.
Both guys have been back on the practice field this week though, and it's looking like both will be back in action on Sunday.
While the Dallas offense is loaded with talent, the offensive line is really the core of what drives things. The best running back in the world can't do much if he's being hit in the backfield, and the best passing attack in the world can't do much if the quarterback doesn't have any time to throw.
The return of Martin and Biadasz is the number one factor making me so optimistic about the Cowboys on Sunday.
Welcome Back: Ezekiel Elliott's Return to Dallas
If you've been following the buildup to this game at all then it shouldn't be news to you that Ezekiel Elliott will be returning to Dallas for the first time since leaving the Cowboys on Sunday.
But what about on the field? Will Elliott have an actual impact for the Pats, or will the focus all be pre- and post-game reactions?
It's been an up-and-down season for the former Cowboy. He had just 42 yards on 12 carries across his first two games with the Pats before breaking out for 80 yards on 16 carries last week.
Considering that breakout was against the lowly Jets, I wouldn't count on a repeat performance. The Dallas D is a lot more dangerous than the Jets', and the Pats will also likely be playing from behind in this one, not trying to grind time on the clock with a lead like they were last week.
It will be nice to see Zeke again, but his performance will solidify that we don't actually miss him on the field.
Bouncing Back: How Worried Should We Be About the Cardinals Loss?
NFL fans love overreacting. It's easy to see why, too. A full week between games gives you an eternity to stew over a single result. It's not like baseball where you only have about 20 hours to ponder most losses, so you don't really worry until it becomes a trend.
Of course, it doesn't help that the national media often snowballs these overreactions.
Through two weeks, you'd think the Cowboys were a mix of the '07 Patriots offense and the '85 Bears defense. Surely the best team ever.
But last week's loss? Overhyped (say the people who hyped them up). Done for. A product of easy opponents to start the season.
The reality is probably somewhere in the middle. This is a very, very good team, but it's not a perfect one. Last week's loss exposed plenty of flaws.
But when would you rather find those weaknesses: In Week 3 when you have a whole season to sort them out? Or in Week 16 when you're trying to focus on a playoff run?
We're big favorites again this week for a reason. The Cowboys are going to make a statement, and everyone is going to quickly forget that Cardinals loss even happened. It made the sky fall for a week, but by the end of the regular season nobody will even remember it happened.
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