If there was any doubt that the Dallas Cowboys were one of the NFC’s best teams, it was removed with their win on Sunday. Convincingly defeating the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau Field, Dallas looks like a legitimate threat to reach the 2017 Super Bowl.
Through six weeks, only the Minnesota Vikings have a better record than Dallas. The Cowboys sit alone atop the NFC East, and they haven’t lost since the season opener. Heading into their bye in Week 7, Dallas has better Super Bowl odds than all but three teams.
With the best record in the AFC, the New England Patriots are the Super Bowl favorites, just as they were before the season began. They are followed by the unbeaten Vikings and the 4-1 Seattle Seahawks, who have reached the playoffs in each of the last four seasons. Dallas and Green Bay are tied for fourth with 10/1 odds to win the championship, via Bovada.lv.
Dallas was the preseason favorite to win the division, but that changed when Tony Romo went down with a back injury. When it was reported that rookie Dak Prescott might be forced to start at quarterback for half the season, it looked like the Cowboys might have a tough time making the playoffs. But Prescott has been one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks, and now it looks like Romo might not even see the field when he’s healthy enough to return.
Throwing seven touchdowns and just one pick, Prescott is tied for first among all quarterbacks in touchdown-to-interception ratio. His 103.9 passer rating is fifth in the NFL, and only three other starters complete their passes at a higher rate.
But Prescott isn’t the only rookie that makes the Cowboys a legitimate title contender. Ezekiel Elliott has been the league’s best first-year player, leading all running backs with 703 rushing yards. He’s totaled at least 157 yards from scrimmage in each of the last five games, giving Dallas an offensive weapon like few teams have.
Perhaps most importantly, Dallas’ defense has been better than expected. They are sixth in the NFL, allowing just 17.8 points per game, having shut down the likes of Aaron Rodgers and Andy Dalton in consecutive weeks.
Dallas will get a chance to prove themselves against the NFC favorites in the regular season. The Cowboys visit Minnesota on Dec. 1.
The Cowboys haven’t reached the Super Bowl in 21 years when they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers to win their third championship in four seasons. Dallas hasn’t reached the NFC Championship Game since then, winning just three playoff games over the last two decades.
Romo has put up impressive individual numbers when healthy, but the Cowboys haven’t had much success with the quarterback under center. The Cowboys have had just one winning season since 2010. Their best chance to reach the Super Bowl came during the 2014 season when they lost to Green Bay in the divisional round of the postseason.