Cowboys play three times in 11 days and might be without Sean Lee for all of it

The Dallas Cowboys could have a problem on their hands. Sunday's loss to the Atlanta Falcons dropped the team to 5-4, and 0-3 in games where Sean Lee either did not play at all or left the game due to injury in the first half (as he did on Sunday). Now, it looks like Lee could be out for a while longer. 

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said "it might be some time" when asked how long Lee would be out, and NFL Network's Ian Rapoport later reported that Lee could miss several games. 

The Cowboys play the division rival Eagles, who have the best record in the NFL, next week on "Sunday Night Football." They follow that up with a Thanksgiving Day game against the Chargers four days later, and then another Thursday night game against Washington just a week after that. That's three games in 11 days, and given that way the injury is being talked about, it's hard to expect Lee to be ready for any of them. 

The Cowboys have allowed 27 or more points in all three games where Lee didn't play into the second half: 35 apiece to the Packers and Rams when Lee sat out, and 27 to the Falcons when he exited early. That's an average of 32.3 per game. In the six games where Lee was healthy, they allowed only 18 points per game.

Lee is the defense's best and most important player (including DPOY candidate DeMarcus Lawrence, who leads the NFL with 11.5 sacks), and with the Cowboys needing every last win to keep pace in the NFC playoff picture, an absence of even two weeks could prove disastrous at this point -- especially with Ezekiel Elliott sidelined by his suspension, Tyron Smith possibly missing more time with groin and back injuries, and Dez Bryant playing banged up with knee and ankle ailments. 

If Dallas doesn't figure out a way to get Dak Prescott protected (he was sacked eight times Sunday, six of them by Adrian Clayborn) by the time the Eagles come to town in six days, things could get ugly real quick. 

CBS Sports Writer

Jared Dubin is a New York lawyer and writer. He joined in 2014 and has since spent far too much of his time watching film and working in spreadsheets. Full Bio

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