Doesn't anyone want to carry the NFC banner into the Super Bowl? Five of the conference's six playoff teams from last season have lost at least once. Now the 2--0 Cowboys will find out if they're for real, against a Bears team that's notoriously rough on NFC competition at Soldier Field. Dallas has scored 82 points, a team record for the first two games of the season. It exposed the Giants secondary, then wore out the Dolphins D on a hot day in Miami. The Cowboys have plenty of weapons, and they'll need them against a Chicago team that must be respected for its punching power. The Bears went after the big stars in their first two games, holding the Chargers' LaDainian Tomlinson to 25 yards rushing and the Chiefs' Larry Johnson to 55.
If the Cowboys were one-dimensional, you'd have to write them off as just another prospective Soldier Field victim, but they have Tony Romo, a good young QB with a live arm; Jason Witten, one of the league's better tight ends; Terrell Owens (above), who has three TD catches in two games; and Marion Barber, whose emotional running style seems to light up the offense. If the Cowboys can block the Bears' rush, I see decent numbers for Romo and a Dallas win over the defending NFC champs. Call it my upset special.
Here are two more road upsets—Jacksonville, which hasn't looked impressive, over the Broncos, and the Bengals to take the Seahawks. Elsewhere my picks are more predictable: San Diego to beat Green Bay, the Jets over the Dolphins, the Redskins to beat the Giants, and Oakland over Cleveland. In the Monday-nighter New Orleans finally gets itself together against the surprisingly tough Titans.
Last week: 4-3
STEVE MITCHELL/US PRESSWIRE (OWENS)