With the Patriots, Steelers, Colts and Chargers all looking rather beatable in 2008, there is a definite vacuum at the top of the NFL. And the defending Super Bowl champion Giants remain a team that keeps finding a way to win, but they are anything but dominant or glamorous.
But the Cowboys return 13 Pro Bowlers from a team that went 13-3 in 2007 and they look like a suitable candidate. And following their dismantling of Packers, there are few people who would question them outside of New York.
Jones, however, refused to take the bait and eat the cheese.
Jones said all he cares about is his team continuing to improve and get better each week.
Quarterback Tony Romo sung a similar tune.
"We have a good football team, I know that," Romo said. "But it doesn't matter if you are the favorite now or the last favorite. You have to keep playing football games. You aren't trying to be the favorite in Week 3. You are trying to be the favorite at the end of the year."
The Cowboys' Super Bowl-or-bust campaign remains on a roll and they face the Redskins Sunday in the latest big game of the week.
After beating the Eagles on Monday night, the Cowboys survived a short week and a trip to Green Bay to throttle a Packers team that was flying high through two weeks of the season under new quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
But Rodgers, who shocked the Cowboys by nearly leading a comeback when he came on for an injured Brett Favre last season, got nothing going against a stingy defense Sunday night.
He was sacked five times. Although he had 290 yards passing, many came with the game decided as the Cowboys took a 27-9 lead in the fourth quarter.
"Our defense played pretty well the whole game," coach Wade Phillips said.
Offensively, the Cowboys unveiled a new weapon opponents will have to be wary about going forward.
Receiver Miles Austin had catches of 63 yards and 52 yards. The latter was a touchdown to provide a big-play spark on offense and offset a horrible night from receiver Terrell Owens. Owens caught two passes for 17 yards and had a drop.
There is no way the Cowboys would have won last year with Owens having such a poor outing.
In fact, Jones worked throughout the offseason looking for a big-play weapon to play opposite Owens.
Jones tried to acquire Anquan Bolden, Chad Johnson and Roy Williams, but was unsuccessful.
Instead, the old-fashioned improvement from within came through with Austin -- who caught just five passes last season and routinely would not catch the ball if thrown to him.
"Just taking advantage of the double-teams on T.O. and (Jason) Witten," Austin said. "It's an advantage to me to have them on the team because they're going to take a lot of the pressure off me. I'm just going in there and trying to make plays when I can, and I'm fortunate enough that the coaches have trust in me, and the quarterback trusts me to give me the ball."
TRENDING: The maligned Cowboys defense has given up just two touchdowns the past six quarters.
LINEUP WATCH: Patrick Watkins stepped in for an injured Roy Williams at strong safety. He started on first and second downs with Courtney Brown replacing him in the nickel. The Cowboys want to keep Watkins fresh to continue his role on special teams. Williams will be out three-to-four weeks with a broken arm.
UNDER THE RADAR: Receiver Miles Austin caught just five passes last season for a total of five for his career coming into the season. He had a 63-yard catch and a 52-yard catch for a touchdown against the Packers. He is answering the team's call for a big-play receiver opposite Terrell Owens.
BY THE NUMBERS: 1 -- The Cowboys won for the first time in Lambeau Field in franchise history. They were 0-5 dating back to 1960.
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