With NFL rankings now updated, the New England Patriots have emerged as the top team in the league right now, pushing the Dallas Cowboys to the No. 2 spot. With these two teams taking the lead, it seems this season's Super Bowl picture is now starting to take shape.
Ever since the start of the season, the Patriots have always been a playoff favorite. Once Tom Brady returned from his four-game suspension and claimed consecutive wins, it became clear that the Patriots will have another Super Bowl appearance.
But, despite the Patriots' reputation, the NFL community lauded the Cowboys as the top team in the league. This is of course, due to their 11-2 record. But aside from their performance, another factor that made the Cowboys very interesting to watch was their breakout star quarterback Dak Prescott.
Following Tony Romo's injury during the preseason, former backup QB Prescott had no other choice but to step-up for the team. Although they lost the opening game against the New York Giants, Prescott was able to prove that he has what it takes to lead a winning team.
And, for several weeks, Prescott and the Cowboys were at the top of the NFL rankings. However, this all changed after the Cowboys lost to the Giants again at Week 14. Even though the Dallas squad has the same record as the Patriots, this double loss to the same team caused the Cowboys to slip from the No. 1 spot, according to The Times.
However, this doesn't mean that the Cowboys' road to glory are now over. They are still a very strong contender for this season's title. But, if and when they face off against the Patriots in a championship match, the Cowboys could crumble.
As exposed by the Giants in their winning games against Dallas, a solid defensive team will be able to keep the Cowboys at bay. Given the way the Patriots have been playing, they just might have the necessary elements to win against the Cowboys.
Just to clarify, this prediction isn't about the rookie Prescott going up against the veteran Brady. After all, Prescott has already emerged victorious in his games against other veterans in the league. Instead, as noted by NFL insider Mike Lombardi, the Patriots' well-roundedness in terms of offense and defense will be able to give them the winning advantage over the Cowboys.
"I think they really have improved defensively," he said according to Fox Sports. "Offensively, the offensive line is the different between this Patriots team, back to the 2011 team... when they were really good."
"I think this offensive line, with [offensive line coach] Dante Scarnecchia, has made them a different team," he added. "They can run the football effectively, they can throw it, they can pass protect."