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Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith is out Sunday against the Falcons

It’s a massive downgrade for the Cowboys offensive line.

Dallas Cowboys v Green Bay Packers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

You can make a case for Tyron Smith as one of the two or three best left tackles in football. He’s exceptional in terms of both run blocking and pass protection, and there isn’t a line in the NFL (outside of the Browns, maybe, with a healthy Joe Thomas) that wouldn’t seriously consider swapping their left tackle out for him if they had the opportunity.

That’s why it’s a very big deal that Smith is going to be out Sunday against the Cowboys. The Falcons are now facing a Dallas team minus its best running back and stellar left tackle, an opportunity they really cannot afford to squander, especially at home.

Without Elliott and Smith, the Cowboys are almost certain to struggle to run the ball as effectively, though that doesn’t preclude them from having a solid game against an easily abused Falcons front seven. It does mean the pass rush has a better chance of getting home, and if Atlanta can just pull things together on offense, they should have a real shot at this one.

I’m considerably more hopeful than I was two days ago before word came down about Elliott and Smith. Please don’t disappoint us, Falcons.