Following a weekend of stunning comebacks, continued disappointments and a Monday night game that left everyone but the Dream Team on equal footing in the NFC East, here are five not-so-random thoughts about where things are in the NFL and where they could be headed.
By playing through the broken rib and punctured lung in rallies against San Francisco and Washington, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo might finally have his teammates' unyielding faith. Several players told me after he led Dallas to an 18-16 victory over Washington on Monday that watching what Romo went through last week in order to play and then again Monday night (he took two pain-killing injections before facing the Redskins, the second coming after the first injection didn't take), they stepped up to help him shake off mistakes and hits to rally the team in the waning moments. What's that credo about great players making other players better? As odd as it sounds, maybe this unfortunate medical break for Romo could turn into a fortunate break for the Cowboys.
Frazier's job security
Anyone thinking Vikings coach Leslie Frazier isn't up to snuff because his team has blown double-digit halftime leads in three straight weeks might have misguided angst. Over the past two days, I've dug into what's going on in Minnesota and not one coach or front office executive I spoke with thought Frazier is the problem. To say Frazier is highly respected is an understatement. Everyone cited the awkwardly-built roster -- top-heavy with veterans and thin at key positions -- as the main reason why things have gone poorly. There were a lot of doubts about Donovan McNabb, but even more about rookie Christian Ponder, who everyone I spoke with feels was a knee-jerk reach pick at No. 12 after main target Jake Locker got nabbed by Tennessee. Frazier isn't absolved of blame, but if he really is on the hot seat, then things might be in even greater disarray than they seem.
The Houston hype
The Houston Texans are going to be a team to reckon with as the season goes on. Although they stalled in the red zone and couldn't finish things out in a 40-33 road loss at New Orleans, they are a good team. In fact, if Arian Foster were healthy, the red zone futility that cost Houston the game might not have been so futile. After the game, I spoke with a Saints assistant coach who said Houston's offensive line was as good and as physical as there is in the league. Once the defense refines some technical flaws and settles in, the Texans will be a tough out. Oh, and their first-round draft pick, defensive end J.J. Watt, is a monster.
Linebacker U strikes again
Speaking of impressive defenders, what about Cowboys' second-year linebacker Sean Lee? The second-rounder from Penn State is a demonic ball hawk who can cover, mash and run like nobody's business. Last season, the player he replaced at inside linebacker, Keith Brooking, told me how good Lee was going to be. Bradie James, who starts alongside Lee now, said that Lee is elevating the rest of the defense's game because he does everything at such a high level that he's taking over the unit.
Giants have healthy outlook
During training camp, New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese told me his team won't tolerate any excuses (namely injuries) for not making the playoffs. He cited last season's injury-riddled Super Bowl champs, Green Bay, as an example. That message was passed along to players and they seem to have bought in. Safety Antrel Rolle took it a step further, saying he didn't want to hear any excuses from anyone when New York beat Philadelphia last Sunday, as it did rather decisively. No one's really talking about the Giants' injuries now, especially within the NFC East, since the Cowboys and Eagles are just as banged up. If the Giants can continue to get better and healthier -- Osi Umenyiora and first-round pick Prince Amukamara should be back soon -- they may have laid a foundation of perseverance in the early going that pays dividends down the stretch.
Follow Steve Wyche on Twitter @wyche89