After a sluggish start, wide receiver Dez Bryant has made his presence felt as the Dallas Cowboys have risen in the standings. While dealing with a fractured left index finger, Bryant's presence itself is now in question heading into Sunday's game against the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers. Bryant, who has expressed his desire to play, suffered the injury as Dallas recorded its fourth win in five contests with a 20-19 triumph over Cincinnati last week.
Pittsburgh knows a thing or two about injuries, although it welcomed back Ben Roethlisberger (shoulder, rib) in last week's 34-24 home loss to San Diego. Roethlisberger struggled before throwing three touchdown passes - albeit with the game no longer in doubt and the Steelers skidding to their third loss in four contests. Pittsburgh is clinging to the final wild-card berth in the AFC, while Dallas sits one game behind NFC East-leading New York.
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Steelers -1, O/U 44
ABOUT THE STEELERS (7-6): Although Pittsburgh hosts Cincinnati next week in a game with AFC North and wild card implications, the Steelers need to keep their focus on the task at hand. Mike Tomlin's rushing carousel has careened off its tracks as Jonathan Dwyer struggled to move the ball last week while Rashard Mendenhall's displeasure with his inactivity has reportedly led to a one-game suspension.
ABOUT THE COWBOYS (7-6): While Dallas has been faring well on the field, the team is still dealing with the death of practice squad linebacker Jerry Brown. Many of the Cowboys attended the memorial - including Josh Brent, who was released from jail on intoxication manslaughter charges stemming from the one-car accident that killed Brown. Back on the field, Tony Romo has thrown seven touchdowns in his last three games.
1. Pittsburgh will feature its fifth different offensive line in as many games on Sunday. First-round pick G David DeCastro will make his first career start versus Dallas.
2. Bryant, who has seven touchdowns in his last five contests, has scored all nine of his TDs this season in the second half of games.
3. The Steelers have played in the new Cowboys Stadium - although Dallas was not their opponent. Pittsburgh lost to Green Bay in Super Bowl XV.