Posted on: December 13, 2022, 12:17h.
Last updated on: December 13, 2022, 12:17h.
The Dallas Cowboys lost starting right tackle Terence Steele for the remainder of the regular season and postseason, after the offensive lineman suffered a serious left knee injury against the Houston Texans in Week 14.
The injury occurred in the second quarter when a Texans defender fell onto Steele. He exited the game and never returned.
The Cowboys rallied to defeat the Texans, 27-23, and prevented one of the biggest upsets of the season. The one-win Texans had the worst record in the NFL, and came into the intrastate battle as a huge underdog at +17. The Texans covered, but lost the game outright by four points.
The Cowboys improved to 10-3 this season, and now tied for the second-best record in the NFC. The Philadelphia Eagles have the best record in the NFL at 12-1.
The Cowboys are +800 odds to win Super Bowl LVII, as the fourth favorite on DraftKings’ NFL futures board. The Buffalo Bills are the betting favorite at +350 odds, followed by the Eagles (+450), and Kansas City Chiefs (+500).
The Eagles lead NFC East, ahead of the second-place Cowboys. The Cowboys are +450 odds to win the NFC East, according to DraftKings. The Eagles are -650 as the favorite to win the division for a third-straight season.
The Eagles are +160 odds to win the NFC championship. The Cowboys are right behind them at +350 odds to win the NFC title game.
Steele: Season-Ending Double Whammy
An MRI revealed that Steele tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his left knee. He will require reconstructive knee surgery, and could miss a significant amount of next season.
Any time a team loses a member of the starting offensive line, it’s a huge blow to both the running and passing game. In the case of Steele, he was regarded as the most underrated lineman in the trenches for the Cowboys.
It’s a big loss for us, and we’ve got to find a way to rally and fill that spot for him,” said right guard Zack Martin. “I said it last year and said it this year, he’s been our bell cow. So, we’ve got to step up and find a way to fill that hole.”
Since joining the Cowboys in 2020, Steele started in 40 games with the team, while only missing five due to an injury. During this season, Steele did not miss a start in their first 13 games.
Steele was an undrafted player out of Texas Tech, but signed with the Cowboys as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2020.
Veteran Jason Peters Next Man Up
Initially, the Cowboys replaced Steele with backup Josh Ball. However, Ball looked awful during two specific plays that resulted in a fumble by quarterback Dak Prescott and an interception.
Head coach Mike McCarthy yanked Ball in favor of Jason Peters. Peters played out of position, but helped provide tight protection on the final drive that resulted in a game-winning touchdown.
Jason really did a hell of a job going in there and playing in that situation,” said McCarthy. “Jason’s been in that two-minute situation for a couple decades compared to Josh Ball.”
The 40-year-old Peters is in his 19th season in the NFL, and he’s expected to start at right tackle going forward.
Cowboys in Second Place in Stellar NFC East
A couple of seasons ago, the NFC East was so bad that the division winner would lock up a playoff berth despite having an 8-8 or even losing record. Trolls passed around a popular meme with NFC logos on garbage cans and dumpsters on fire, which indicated how bad the division was compared to the rest of the league.
However, the current NFC East is the toughest division in the NFL this season. Heading into Week 15, all four teams have a winning record with the Eagles and Cowboys combining for 22 victories.
The New York Giants and Washington Commanders are both 7-5-1. They’re also currently occupying the final two NFC Wild Card spots, which means all four NFC East teams could qualify for the postseason.
If the season ended today, the Eagles would earn a first-round bye with the #1 seed in the NFC playoffs. The Cowboys are currently the #5 seed, while the Commanders are the #6 seed, and the Giants would get the final NFC Wild Card spot with #7 seed.
According to FiveThirtyEight, the Commanders have a 73% chance to qualify for the playoffs, and the Giants have a 45% chance.