We’ve got a long way to go before the playoffs place but in the ensuing days after an impressive win in Seattle over the defending Super Bowl champions, the 5-1 Dallas Cowboys sit atop tied for the NFC East lead with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Thus, Dallas sent a message to the rest of the league that they maybe for real.
Yes, the same Dallas Cowboys, who have essentially been one of the league’s bigger laughingstocks over the past five years due to their inability to deliver in clutch moments.
Yes, the same Dallas Cowboys that have one playoff win since the 1997 season.
Yes, the same Dallas Cowboys who lost the NFC East title on the final day of the regular season and subsequently, missed the postseason in 2011, ’12, and ’13.
These Cowboys are cut from different stock it appears. It’s not the obnoxious crew that finished 13-3 in ’07, only to drop their opening playoff game to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants following an ill-advised bye week vacation by Tony Romo and then-love interest Jessica Simpson.
It’s not the same crew that finished 11-5 in ’09 to win the NFC East and win a playoff game over the Eagles before getting dropped by the Brett Favre-led Minnesota Vikings in the second round.
This is a different bunch. Instead of trying to address one of the worst defense in league history, they opted to draft an offensive linemen Zack Martin in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft – rather than taking hotheaded, hotshot quarterback Johnny Manziel to watch over Romo for a season or two.
And guess what?
They were right for doing so.
Martin and the Dallas offensive line collectively form one of the biggest stars of the new season to date.
The defense, which allowed an absurd 415 yards per game last season (ranking dead last in the NFL), is vastly more competitive (ranked 15th in ’14 and 7th in points allowed) under new defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli than his predecessor Monte Kiffin.
Meanwhile, Romo isn’t leading the charge with a barrage of passing yards and touchdown tosses to Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. Yet, DeMarco Murray developed into a league MVP candidate and became the first running back in NFL history to start a season with six straight 100-yard rushing performances.
Dallas is committed to running the ball and making enough on defense to give itself a chance to win. Through six games, Dallas leads the NFL in rushes while ranking 26th in passing attempts.
Maybe it’s the turkey chili I ate on Sunday night but something feels different about the Cowboys this season.
Don’t believe me?
Look at the upcoming Cowboys schedule:
- vs. Giants
- vs. Redskins
- vs. Cardinals
- @ Jacksonville (London)
- @ Giants
They are going to be favored in those five games. Thus, the Cowboys could enter an NFC East showdown on Thanksgiving Day against the Eagles at 10-1.
The road to the Super Bowl has plenty of twists and turns left but it’s beginning to take shape.
As the Seahawks and 49ers attempt to shake off early season inconsistencies, there is room for a new NFC power.
If the Cowboys, can hold off Philly…it just may be them.
And if it is, hold on. The Dallas bandwagon will look something like this:
Incredibly, their time to shine may have arrived.
Categories: Dallas Cowboys