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Are the Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl Contenders This Season?

by Photo of Connor McCollum

The Cowboys offense is running on all cylinders. Can anyone stop Romo, Murray and company?

Are the Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl Contenders This Season?

As much as it may hurt the ears (and souls) of NFC East fans from Washington to New York, the Dallas Cowboys look like the real deal this season. With the Giants sitting at 3-4 on the season and the Eagles falling to 5-2 after a tough loss in Arizona, The Cowboys head into Monday Night Football at 6-1 to take on the 2-5 Washington Redskins.

With the Redskins season all but finished in the NFC East and Dallas a game up on the Eagles after Philly's loss, the Cowboys have the opportunity to go 1.5 games up in the NFC East standings. A small but growing lead over the Eagles could be enough of a cushion at this stage in the season to nearly seal the deal for the Cowboys as division champions.

The pieces are now there. The offensive line as a unit gives Tony Romo all day to throw the ball, a luxury Romo has not been afforded in previous seasons. According to the Offensive Hog index on Cold Hard Football Facts, The Cowboys offensive line is ranked second in the league. Over the past three seasons, Romo has been sacked 36,36 and 35 times respectfully. Through seven games this season, Romo has hit the turf a fair 12 times, an improvement from this time last season.

On top of improved offensive line play, the Cowboys now have a healthy DeMarco Murray who has ran for 100-plus yards in every game this season. With Murray’s success in the running game, it has allowed for the Cowboys to rely more on the run than the pass. The Cowboys have run the ball more often than they have passed this season (235 rushes to 214 passes). Their model can be attributed to their success in the running game. The Cowboys lead the league in rushing average per game, gaining nearly 160 yards a game on the ground.

There is a constant argument on who is the best wide receiver in the NFL. Often, fans' lists boil down to two candidates: Calvin Johnson and Dez Bryant. With Calvin Johnson out of the Lions lineup for the past few weeks with an ankle injury, there is no doubt that Dez Bryant is controlling the reigns as the league's top receiver. The Romo and Bryant connection has been flourishing, especially with the increased ground support. Murray’s effective running is opening up the pass game for the Cowboys. With the experience of Dez Bryant and Jason Witten along with the combination of rising stars Terrence Williams and Gavin Escobar as new popular targets, Romo has as well-rounded an attack as he's ever had in Dallas. 

As much as it pains many fans in northeast, the Cowboys are looking like serious contenders this season. Not only do they lead the race as NFC Champions, but the team looks like a lock right now for a high seed, potentially a first round bye, home field advantage and even the Super Bowl trophy. The Cowboys look like the real deal this season but there is still plenty of football left, only time (and injuries) will determine their success down the road.

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