The halfway point of the season has the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers on the move at different speeds.
For the Cowboys, the second half of the season begins with a surprising 7-1 record, including a seven-game winning streak. They share a league-best seven wins along with New England (7-1) and Oakland (7-2).
The Cowboys are working their magic behind the play of rookie quarterback Dak Prescott, rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott and a maturing defense, which has produced two four-sack games this season.
For the Steelers, it’s been a mixed bag season that has been altered with the left knee injury and surgery to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who missed three games.
Running back Le’Veon Bell has 659 scrimmage yards (131.8 per game, second in the NFL) in five games this season since coming off suspension. Playmaking wide receiver Antonio Brown has 55 catches for 677 yards and six touchdowns. He is particularly lethal in home games where he has 98 catches and 11 touchdowns in the past 12 games at Heinz Field.
At 4-4, the Steelers know there’s plenty of football left. They have the same record at the midway point as they did last season.
Since 2000, 40 teams have reached the halfway point of their season with a .500 or below winning percentage and advanced to the playoffs, including at least one in each season. Last year, there were five teams. They were Houston (3-5), Kansas City (3-5), Washington (3-5), Seattle (4-4) and the Steelers (4-4).
Opp. Scoring average
Dallas Cowboys regular-season schedule
Giants 20, Cowboys 19
Cowboys 27, Redskins 23
Cowboys 31, Bears 17
Cowboys 24, 49ers 17
Cowboys 28, Bengals 14
Cowboys 30, Packers 16
Cowboys 29, Eagles 23, OT
Cowboys 35, Browns 10
KXAS/5, NFL Net.
at NY Giants
vs. Tampa Bay