Poll: Are Cowboys NFL’s Best Team?

In pulling out a 31-26 win over the NFC East rival Redskins on Thanksgiving, the Cowboys improved to 10-1 and became the first team in the NFL this year to reach double-digit victories. Most of Dallas’ success has come thanks to an elite offense fronted by a dominant line and two sensational rookies – fourth-round quarterback Dak Prescott and first-round running back Ezekiel Elliott.

Ezekiel Elliott & Dak Prescott

As those who pay any attention to the league know, Prescott was only supposed to be a temporary fill-in while Tony Romo recovered from an August back injury. The 23-year-old instead stole the four-time Pro Bowler’s job and has combined for 23 touchdowns (18 passing, five rushing) against two interceptions. Thanks to Prescott’s stinginess, the Cowboys are tied for first in the league in giveaways per game (0.6).

While Prescott’s resounding early success has come as a shock, Elliott has been as advertised. The former Ohio State star went fourth overall because his greatness with the Buckeyes was supposed to transfer to the pros, which it has. Elliott entered Thursday as the league’s rushing leader, and he increased his advantage over second-place DeMarco Murray – a former Cowboy – with a 97-yard performance. Elliott is now up to 1,199 yards on a league-high 243 carries, and he ranks second in the sport in rushing touchdowns (11).

With so much going for them on offense – including tight end Jason Witten, receivers Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley and, should something happen to Prescott, the league’s premier backup QB (Romo) – it doesn’t appear an attack that entered Thursday first in DVOA is going to fade down the stretch. The Cowboys’ defense is another matter, though: While the unit has given up a fairly meager 19.4 points per game – good for 10th in the league – it’s a distant 22nd in yards allowed per contest, and 25th in both DVOA and takeaways per game (0.9). Dallas’ work against the pass has been especially problematic, and its ineptitude was on display when it allowed Redskins signal-caller Kirk Cousins to complete 41 of 53 passes for 449 yards and three touchdowns on Thursday. The Cowboys also failed to sack Cousins, and have taken down opposing QBs only 20 times.

One thing the Cowboys’ defense has going for it – and one thing that helps explain the team’s lack of points surrendered – is that it doesn’t spend much time on the field. Dallas’ offense leads the league in time of possession (33:12 per game), as Lorenzo Reyes of USA Today noted Friday, thereby taking even more pressure off a less-than-stellar defense. That formula has worked swimmingly so far, but it could backfire in the playoffs against a team like the 7-2-1 Seahawks – who rank in the league’s top 10 in both offensive and DVOA and might stand as the Cowboys’ top competition in the NFC.

The likes of the Patriots (8-2), Raiders (8-2) and defending champion Broncos (7-3) are among those that should also be in the discussion for the league’s No. 1 team, though any of them would only serve as a hindrance to the Cowboys in a potential Super Bowl matchup. Having to face one of those teams this season would be a welcome task for Dallas, whose latest Super Bowl appearance came in a January 1996 win over the Steelers.

As things stand, the Cowboys are on track for a first-round bye in the postseason and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. That indicates that they’re the league’s preeminent team, but do you fully buy into their nearly spotless record? Are they the current Super Bowl favorites?

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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34 comments on “Poll: Are Cowboys NFL’s Best Team?

  1. jacobsigel1025

    One word: Patriots

    • Deez Nuts

      Oh, the same patriots that just traded Collins.. oh ok.. y’all gotta get thru Oakland first..

      • Carson

        Oakland? The same team who should have lost to Houston

    • madmanTX

      Another word: cheaters

      • Connorsoxfan

        I’m not denying they have cheated, but they are still in the discussion here for best team. I’m not sure Bill is stupid enough to cheat again. I sure hope he isn’t, because the rest of the time, he’s a football genius.

    • Woodlawn

      1 word. Seahawks.

    • bigjonliljon

      Agreed

      • bigjonliljon

        On the patriots that is

  2. BigChip10

    Wow, man there are a lot of teams that gets calls to go their way. You still have to make plays after.

  3. Woodlawn

    They ain’t even the best team in their conference. Russell Wilson would carve that defense up like a Thanksgiving turkey.

    • Sportsguy98

      Please. He won’t be on the field long enough. And last time I checked Seattle had how many losses? The Cowboys O-line wears teams down to submission. And I would put Witten, Bryant, Williams and Beasley against anything the Seahawks would throw out there including one of the dirtiest players in an NFL secondary in Sherman.

      • Woodlawn

        Sherman never did anything dirty in his career. Get a clue man

      • Woodlawn

        Also won’t be on the field long enough? Based on what? He has never missed a game in his career.

      • Woodlawn

        Let me reiterate. Seahawks D drops a big D on Dallas offense and Wilson will look like he is playing a pop warner team carving up that mediocre defense.

      • CDHam12

        @Sportsguy98 –

        I hope for your sake, that you are joking. If you aren’t, there is ZERO credibility to any nonsense you spew out. Have fun living in lala land.

        All the hawks would have to do is bottle up the run game (top 5 run defense) and Dak would start throwing picks all day long.

        Easy 31-13 win

        • Woodlawn

          ^ yep. Hawks EASY

  4. Sportfeen69

    They got lucky they beat the steelers lmfaooo

    • Sportsguy98

      Luck had nothing to do with it. Dallas is the better team. If it wasn’t for Williams mental mistake in game 1, they would be undefeated.

      • CDHam12

        What legit defense have they played?? Have they even played a defense ranked in the top half of the league?

        • CDeC101

          they played Green Bay, when they had the #ranked rush defense- Elliot dropped 150. They just beat the Ravens and their number one defense. NUMBER 1

  5. JeD242

    I’ll let you know at the end of the season, they are doing great so far

  6. Francisco

    Patriots offense will be tough in postseason. Plus experience and great coaching will make them favorites.

  7. kehoet83

    I like Seattle in the NFC and the Patriots in the AFC. I worry about both Elliott and Prescott wearing down as the season goes on.

  8. Got 5

    Cowboy’s!!!!!!

  9. Dallas

    1. Cowboys 2. Raiders 3. Seahawks 4. Patriots 5. Giants

    • Connorsoxfan

      Oh please. Pats Seahawks Cowboys Raiders.

  10. Dallas

    Talk talk talk, to steal a line from the old Tuna you are what your record says you are, and the boys are 10 and 1 that says they’re good, new England is good, Seattle is good but they’ve lost 5. 5 games combined and the last time I checked whoever has the most wins is the best team “Cowboys”

    • Woodlawn

      Whoever has the most wins is the team with the most wins dude lol. Cowboys 3rd to 4th best team in NFL tops.

  11. Got 5

    Cowboys!!!

  12. Mikel Grady

    They are playing with A lot of cohesiveness right now. As a Cowboys fan there always seems like drama from some diva or drug or gun , or violence charge . Not this team . Fun team to watch that is young and should only get better as years go on. Seahawks pats and raiders are formidable foes. If Jerry Jones doesn’t mess it up could win it all.

  13. Wally-the-green-monster

    Interesting debate…the playoffs will ultimately answer this question for us. All the statistical arguments (haven’t played teams with a top defense, have played teams with a poor win/loss record) are skewed by the fact that Dallas has racked up yards and added losses to virtually every team they’ve played. Dallas has a dominant offense and a mediocre defense…but they operate together in the context of a game where their defense is protected by ball dominant offensive time of possession. There is no perfect or dominant team in the NFL with the salary cap.

    • Woodlawn

      Seattle pretty much is

  14. BWA214

    The same Seahawks that just lost to Tampa? The same injury depleted pats that struggled against the jets all day?

  15. Mr. Bamboozaul

    The Cowboys finally received 2 gifts from the football gods. Dak and Zeke, along with quality offensive line, skill player will keep the Cowboys in the race for the Super Bowl, for next 15 years. The Cowboys will be able to build up the defense as well and. Cowboys will be the new New England Patriots, with their core of youth at key positions. Jason Garrett will be the new Belichek, without the cheating.

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