Superlative season

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IRVING, Texas --- Jerry Jones has been known for the occasional crazy Super Bowl prediction for his Dallas Cowboys. This season, the owner's hunch certainly seems more realistic.

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A Dallas fan reacts at the end of Thursday's win over Green Bay. At 11-1, the Cowboys are off to their best start ever.
A Dallas fan reacts at the end of Thursday's win over Green Bay. At 11-1, the Cowboys are off to their best start ever.

Barring a collapse, the Cowboys could be two home playoff victories from their first Super Bowl in 12 seasons.

"I'd have a lot less chance of getting kidded now than I would over the last eight years," Jones said. "It's easy to get excited about this team, so you can envision getting to play in some big games."

Even bigger than the Cowboys' 37-27 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night.

With four games left in the regular season, Dallas (11-1) is off to the best start in franchise history and already in the playoffs. And if the New York Giants lose Sunday at Chicago, the Cowboys will clinch their first NFC East title since 1998, three seasons after the latest of their five Super Bowl titles.

If the Cowboys only go 2-2 in December, they would still match the franchise record with 13 wins. More importantly, Green Bay would have to win all four of its games to take away home-field advantage through the NFC playoffs.

"The numbers are there. We all know how to calculate home-field advantage," Jones said.

Still, this group knows it's far from finished. Like Jones, the players have bigger goals than what they've accomplished in the first three-fourths of the regular season.

"This win doesn't put us in the Super Bowl, and a loss wouldn't have knocked us out of it," Tony Romo said after throwing four touchdown passes against the team he grew up cheering for in Wisconsin. "I don't think this does anything else except say, 'You know what? We're a pretty good football team and we're playing pretty good football right now.' "

That they are, with a six-game winning streak since a 48-27 loss in mid-October to New England, which is still the NFL's only undefeated team.

With childhood hero Brett Favre on the other sideline, and Hall of Fame and Super Bowl-winning Dallas quarterbacks Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman watching in person, Romo was 19-of-30 for 309 yards against the Packers.

He matched Aikman's team record by throwing a touchdown in his 16th consecutive game. He also broke his tie with Danny White for the single-season touchdown mark, going from 29 to 33.

Terrell Owens caught seven passes for 156 yards and a touchdown, his 14th to match Frank Clarke's team record set in 1962.

FAVRE EXPECTED TO KEEP STREAK ALIVE


Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre is expected to start against Oakland on Dec. 9 and extend his record streak for consecutive starts.


"Just to quote the medical staff, his streak is not in danger. He'll be OK," coach Mike McCarthy said Friday, the day after Favre, 38, was knocked out of the Packers' 37-27 loss at Dallas with elbow and shoulder injuries.


The streak, which dates to 1992, stands at 249 games (269 including playoffs) and is a league record for quarterbacks.


Favre was at Lambeau Field on Friday for treatment of a bruised right elbow. He also aggravated a left shoulder separation, which he first injured 15 years ago.


-- Associated Press


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