By Jack Grubner
To date, the Dallas Cowboys have the best record in the National Football Conference. And no, that is a not a typo. With their 6-1 record through seven weeks of football, “America’s Team” has exceeded all expectations for this season. And truly, this season, the boys are for real. They are legitimate Super Bowl contenders. The Cowboys have been able to prove the doubters wrong this season: on their way to a six-game winning streak they have routed Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, held off the Texans in overtime, upset defending champions, the Seattle Seahawks and comfortably took down NFC East division rival, the New York Giants.
Dallas has been winning thanks to NFL leading rusher DeMarco Murray. With Sunday’s 28-carry, 128-yard performance against the Giants, Murray became the first player in NFL history to rush for at least 100 yards in each of a season’s first seven games. The Cowboys running game is a throwback, especially in today’s pass-happy football culture. The Cowboys have not been afraid to ride their running back, and it is hard to blame them after a six-game winning streak that might put the team into the playoffs for the first time since 2009. Murray is on pace to rush for more than 2000 yards, all the while surpassing Larry Johnson for the most rushing attempts in an NFL season.
Murray has been helped by his dominant offensive line. Jerry Jones’ commitment to the offensive line in the draft during the last few years has proved to be a successful endeavor, as he spent three of Dallas’s last four first-round picks on left tackle Tyron Smith, center Travis Frederick and right guard Zack Martin. The emergence of the running game has allowed quarterback Tony Romo to flourish. Romo leads the NFL in completion percentage (69.2). He is fourth in quarterback rating (104.7). He is fourth in yards per attempt (8.36). He is fifth in touchdowns (14), and he is 10th in yards (1789). This team is a real title contender, and it is time for fans to start believing in this team. The players certainly do.
Meanwhile, the Dallas Stars have started out their season strongly. Their high-powered offense has led them to a 4-2-2 start. The Stars’ first line of Captain Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Valeri Nichushkin has led the Stars to the title of third-highest scoring team in the NHL. Seguin is on a historic scoring pace with six goals and seven assists for 13 points solely in the first eight games of the season. Benn continues to grow into one of the league’s most complete players. So far, he has provided solid defense. He also has 11 points, resulting in a little over a point-per-game scoring average. Offseason addition Jason Spezza has helped provide depth for the second line as he has also contributed 11 points thus far. The Stars are an exciting young team and are an up and coming threat in the conference.