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Romo return only thing that can prevent Cowboys' season from derailing

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Dallas Cowboys head to London this week in serious need of a win to restart their season.

What was an excellent start to the campaign at 6-1 is slowly descending into the familiar false dawn for Cowboys' fans following back to back defeats.

There has certainly been a sense of 'here we go again' in Dallas in the past couple of weeks after the Cowboys devastating defeat to NFC East divisional rivals Washington Redskins, before losing to Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

Two terrible defeats 

The worst thing about the Cowboys last two defeats is that they have both been at home in front of the Cowboys fans at AT&T Stadium. There is nothing more demoralising than seeing a six-game win streak end with two drab losses in front of your own fans.

But this isn't your ordinary loss of form or loss of confidence. There is a clear line to be drawn between the Cowboys two defeats and the fact they have been without their star quarterback Tony Romo for one and a half of those games.

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No coincidence 

Romo's back injury in the contest against the Redskins changed the course of the game, something which the Cowboys never recovered from, even if Romo did return in an ill-advised late decision by head coach Jason Garrett.

Back-up quarterback Brandon Weeden actually performed reasonably well in that game, but against the Cardinals at home on Sunday, we saw Weeden's true worth as a QB.

Weeden provided so many off-target throws that premier receiver Dez Bryant became so angry that he started arguing with Weeden late in the game.

Weeden is not up to scratch, but don't take my word for it. Read the stat line comparing the two quarterbacks play this season.

In one and a half games, Weeden has a quarterback rating of 71.7 while Romo is having the best season of his career to date with a rating of 103.6 so far this season, with 15 touchdowns and six interceptions.

Stats don't lie 

But there is another statistic that shows the clear difference between the two signal callers. And that's their completion rate. Brandon Weeden's is a horrific 56.4 per cent, while Romo's is an elite level 68.2 per cent.

These stats prove there is no coincidence that Dallas lost without Romo against Arizona on Sunday. He has been inconsistent over the course of his career, particularly when leading in the final minutes of games, but this season we are seeing a different Romo.

It is this side of Romo that played a crucial role in helping the Cowboys to a 6-1 record this season. A considered Romo that doesn't force the throw as much as he used to.

Now some of this can be put down to the amount of help that the Dallas quarterback has been getting from his run game. But nonetheless, Romo's clutch ability in the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks earlier this season was the main reason why the Cowboys triumphed in the World Champions' backyard in their most impressive win.

On the brink of failure without Romo 

Dallas now face two key tests that will surely determine whether or not they can actually compete with the 6-2 Philadelphia Eagles for the NFC East title.

They looked a sure bet for the playoffs at 6-1, but now at 6-3 and facing the arduous task of travelling to London and facing a dogged Jacksonville Jaguars, before a huge divisional game in New York, Dallas look vulnerable.

You wouldn't bet against the Jags causing an upset as well in London, so Dallas need their starting QB back from back injury or else they face three defeats on the bounce.
A defeat against the Jags could well put them on the brink of another year of heartache, but should Romo return, then Dallas will be a different outfit. Romo is the key cog in the Dallas machine, and they need him back before the Cowboys' machine completely malfunctions before our eyes in London this weekend.

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