Here is what will sink the Dallas Cowboys this year

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Colin Cowherd, Jason Whitlock, Eric Davis and Eric Dickerson talk Dallas Cowboys after a federal appeals court cleared the way for Ezekiel Elliott's suspension.

JASON WHITLOCK: Will the constant distractions sink the Cowboys this season?

COLIN COWHERD: I would say yes. And the other thing that will sink them is-- over the course of a season you learn things about teams. Well, Dez Bryant not that he's a shot fighter, but he's struggling. So now I don't have a deep threat, now defenses are crowding the box. Now I don't have my running back star. Is Dak a guy that 40, 45 passes a game, is that what you want to lean on him? So we've learned over the first month of the season, people are cheating on the Cowboys. They don't think Dez can escape. Now I don't have their star running back. To me this puts the entire onus of the offense-- and the O-line's not as good as we thought a month ago. I think the Cowboys now are looking at sub 500.

JASON WHITLOCK: Look Zeke's had a very slow start to his sophomore season. This thing was clearly hanging over his head, not the same player as he was a year ago. Again, this national anthem thing has taken on a life of its own inside the Dallas locker room. This team has looked distracted and unfocused all season. Now you've just added another excuse. A lot of time. When things get tough people start looking for excuses to justify the struggle. I think the Cowboys are toast here.

- I think they're going to have a real problem without a Zeke Elliot because I mean they really depended on him in the running game. I mean they lost two offensive linemen. And you see how the running game-- I think Zeke's the same player, but when you lose offensive linemen that's a big factor. People say, what about the backups? That's why they're backups because they don't play. So I think they have a real problem, and I think the big thing is can Dak run this team without the running game, the real running game.

COLIN COWHERD: We're already seeing him struggle without a deep passing game.

- Well everyone's struggling, not just Zeke because you see what's going on right now. The defense played very well last year. Why? Because they didn't have to play as much. The running game controlled everything that was happening. And every team has a philosophy on how they're going to try to win. And their philosophy was control the clock, control the game, pound you, not give your opportunities, the defense was resting. That's not happening now. You lose offensive linemen, so now you can crowd the line of scrimmage. You've got a young quarterback, you're not fearing the receivers so that's affecting everything. And I do think this is going to cause them some problems because now, if you lose that running game and the control of the games you had, it falls back on coaching. And I keep saying there is not a more quarterback dependent coach in the league than Jason Garry. He needs his quarterback to save him. It happened last year. It's not going to happen this year without the running game.

COLIN COWHERD: Eric brings up a good point. When you go to backups there's a gap right? Well what happens when the starters were good starters, not just average starters. That cowboy offensive line was really good, and now you're going to backups. Well they weren't just below those starters. The other thing is that you have it Dallas's schedule.

JASON WHITLOCK: Is not good. At 49ers, a second bye week for them. The they play the Redskins, Chiefs Falcons, and Eagles.


JASON WHITLOCK: That's murder's row. Now listen, look the NFLPA is likely to appeal this. The NFL from all the reports Albert Brilz reporting wants to enforce this now. Who knows Zeke may or may not play, but this cloud, this distraction. The fact that they're going to spend their bye week, and when they come in the next week, talking about this. All the conversation around the Cowboys, is it really X's and O's related. It's national anthem, it's Zeke Elliot's, problems off the field and this thing hanging over their head. We had this discussion earlier in the year during the off season how would this chaos play out and would they be able to handle it? We went back and forth. I remember kind of landing on I think they'll be able to handle it. Well, clearly they can't handle it. This team has backed up, and I think this season is a lost season.

COLIN COWHERD: We kind of knew when they drafted Zeke. I mean Jerry has taken some real risks. I always accounted for that it was bucket list. Jerry hit 70, and he said I want to recreate those Jimmy Johnson years. And he took the Greg Hardy and the Rolando McClain, and the Ezekiel Elliott risk. He took some risks, and frankly they haven't-- Randy Gregory they haven't panned out.

JASON WHITLOCK: He's pushed a lot of chips into the center of the table. There's a lot of people I'm sure are happy today. If you're not a Cowboys fan, you're not a Jerry Jones fan, you don't like where he landed on the national anthem. You don't like where he's landed--

COLIN COWHERD: Just like everything else in America, we're split right down in the middle.