Stating the obvious, but in order for the Cowboys to win against the Steelers, they are going to play their most complete game of the season. The Cowboys are going to have to win even though they will be battling the elements, 12th man, and the Steelers without Barber. They will need to have a "Vision Quest" or "Tunnel Vision" if you may, and not allow any distractions or obstacles to get in their way. Over the last 3 games the Cowboys have gained momentum going into this game and most importantly into December because the Cowboys have not fared well in December over the past decade as it has been very well documented by the sportswriters of America. This is the reason that this game is the most crucial of the season and why it's imperative that the Cowboys win, so that they continue to build their momentum for the remaining games against very tough opponents.
Over the last few weeks the Cowboys' punt and kickoff coverage have been great and they must continue to cover like bats out of hell and/or head hunters. The Cowboys also need a another great game from Folk inspite of the elements and a soggy field. The new punter must remain steady in a hostile environment and stay within his game. Both of them must continue to step up in order for the Cowboys to pull it off against the Steelers.
The defense must harass Rothlisberger all game long and even remind him of his shoulder. Not that I wish for Rothlisberger to have a serious injury, but the Cowboys must apply relentless pressure on him. Rothlisberger has been sacked 33 times which is second worst in the league, so the Cowboys must not allow for the Steelers offensive line to gain any sort of confidence and allow for Rothlisberger to pick apart the secondary. Hopefull, this comes to play because all the nagging injuries will hurt a little more at this time of the year. As of late, Anthony Spence has played solid and he the Cowboys need for him to play a lot better and more minutes in order to provide rest for Demarcus Ware even though I don't think that he needs it. But just to be on the safe side. I feel that the Cowboys run defense will continue to stop the run and they must have discipline pursuit, so that Parker doesn't make any cutbacks for big gains on stretch plays. Canty and Spears do not have the numbers that everybody expects, but they have done a great job of occupying blockers, so that James and Thomas can make plays. This must continue, so that both inside linebackers can continue to make plays. As a result of the pressure, hopefully the Cowboys can get more turnovers out of it because this another facet of the game that the Cowboys need for victory.
The Cowboys are going to need for the offensive line to be spectacular both in the passing and running game. The offensive line will have to protect Romo better without any false starts and other penalties that might be caused by the support of the 12th man. The offense has reduced the amount of turnovers and penalties over the last 2 games, but these were at home and now they must be better because they are on the road. Offensively, the Cowboys are going to need 1 maybe 2 of their role players to come up big. It will be a lot better if Roy Williams finally breaks out and hopefully he and Romo can do a better job of hooking up.
Not having Barber will give Romo the opportunity to elevate to a Super Bowl level quarterback. During the 90s, there were always debates about who was more valuable to the Cowboys success. Troy or Emmitt? Needless to say the Cowboys won more games with Emmitt than with Troy. This year, the Cowboys were without Romo for 3 games and went 1-2 and lets hope that the Cowboys without Barber go 1-0. Since Romo has comeback from the injury, he has been saying all the right things. I feel that last year was to easy and Romo and the Cowboys took it for granted. Now, they are fighting for their playoff life and understand thay they must win out to get to the dance and that no one is going to lay down for them, especially the Steelers. Romo is demonstrating how much he has matured since the playoff loss against the Giants.
All week long Phillips should have been on the Cowboys about the Cowboys playing with the most complete and best effort in order to get the crowd out of the game early, and not allow the Steelers to make a comeback. As I have mentioned before, Phillips needs to keep the pressure on throughout the game and not allow the other teams to get out of the hole. He and the team need to make sure that they understand that this game is probably the most crucial of the season because of the situation that they are in and their lack of success in December. Their lack of success in December should not be part of the equation because they need to win out in order to get into the playoffs. The Redskins, Falcons, Panthers, and Bucs are not going to fade away. Finally, Garrett needs to continue to call plays like Zampese and Turner and not get too cute.