After Week 7, only one team stood alone with six wins: the Dallas Cowboys. Are they for real? Are they that good? Can they really turn their “stuck-in-mud” 8-8 records the last three seasons and really challenge for the Super Bowl this year?
If past history is any indicator, the answer is: Yes. In fact, as the first team to six wins this season, there is data to support that the Cowboys may be on their way to something special this season.
Let’s look at the past 10 NFL seasons. The team(s) that were the first to six wins were very successful. (Note: If two teams reached six wins on the same day, both teams are included in this discussion). Consider this:
* The 12 teams that were the first (or tied for that honor) to win six games in a season won a combined 161 games, or an average of 13.4 per team. (Good news for the Cowboys who have not won more than eight games in a season since 2009 when they won 11.)
* Each of the 12 made the playoffs. (Again, good news for the ‘Boys who last played in the playoffs after that 2009 season.)
* Five went on to play in the Super Bowl. (Dallas last played in the Super Bowl in January 1996, an almost 20-year drought.)
* Two teams lost in the conference championship games, meaning that seven of the 12 make it to their conference title game that season.
* The fewest wins of these 12 teams were the Kansas Chiefs last season with 11.
Here’s a look at the regular season record and playoff success of those teams that were the first to win six games in a season in the last 10 NFL seasons.
2004: Philadelphia (finished 13-3; lost in the Super Bowl); New England (finished 14-2; won the Super Bowl)
2005: Indianapolis (finished 14-2; lost in the AFC Divisional round)
2006: Chicago (finished 13-3; lost in the Super Bowl)
2007: New England (finished 16-0; lost in the Super Bowl)
2008: Tennessee (finished 13-3; lost in the AFC Divisional round)
2009: Minnesota (finished 12-4; lost in the NFC Championship Game)
2010: New England (finished 14-2; lost in the AFC Divisional round)
2011: Green Bay (finished 15-1; lost in the NFC Divisional round)
2012: Atlanta (finished 13-3; lost in the NFC Championship Game)
2013: Kansas City (finished 11-5; lost in the AFC Wild Card game); Denver (finished 13-3; lost in the Super Bowl)
Will the Cowboys win more than eight games this season? Will they get back to the playoffs? Could they possibly represent the NFC in the Super Bowl? All good questions. As the first team to six wins this year, things are looking good for a Dallas run late into the 2014 playoffs. Time will tell.