Midseason report: Dallas Cowboys

If this report came out after seven weeks, the Dallas Cowboys would feel a lot better about their start to the season.

The Cowboys had the NFL's best record with their 6-1 start and were atop the NFC East. Two straight losses to the Washington Redskins and Arizona Cardinals have dimmed the all-is-well feelings around the Cowboys.

The trip to London to take on the 1-8 Jacksonville Jaguars might be coming at the right time for a team that has seen its offense shrink in big moments and its defense unable to come up with enough big plays in the past two games.

But the Cowboys remain in a better spot than many expected at the start of the season. At 6-3, the Cowboys are surpassed in wins by only the Cardinals. The bad news is all three losses have come at AT&T Stadium. The good news is the Cowboys have just two home games left.

Midseason MVP: When you do something no other running back in NFL history has done, then the pick must be DeMarco Murray. Murray opened the season with eight straight 100-yard rushing games and has career highs in carries and yards, and the Cowboys have seven more games to play. Behind an offensive line that is the Cowboys' best in years, Murray has helped transform the Cowboys from a pass-happy team into a run-first team -- built like the title teams of the 1990s -- and he is doing it in a contract year. His timing could not have been better, and the Cowboys are reaping the benefits, even if it costs them more money down the road.

Biggest disappointment: When the Cowboys drafted Morris Claiborne with the sixth overall pick in the 2012 draft, they thought they had a playmaking cornerback to change their defense. Claiborne struggled his first two seasons, and his third season ended in four games because of a torn patellar tendon. He started the first two games of the season because Orlando Scandrick was suspended but quickly lost the job and left the team's facility in anger. He returned that night to apologize but was hurt in the first quarter of the next game. The Cowboys gave up a lot to take Claiborne and he has yet to play up to the potential many had for him. His time is running out.

Best moment: Individually, it might have been Tony Romo spinning away from J.J. Watt and finding Terrance Williams for a 43-yard touchdown, but this season has been about the team. So a 'team' moment wins out. Tom Brady couldn't do it. Peyton Manning couldn't do it. Drew Brees couldn't do it. Romo, on his second try, was able to do it -- winning at Seattle's CenturyLink Field. Russell Wilson won 18 of his first 19 career home games before the Cowboys delivered their best performance of the season.

Shoddy special-teams moments kept the 30-23 final closer than it should have been, but the victory offered an indication the Cowboys might be for real.

Worst moment: When Redskins linebacker Keenan Robinson kneed Romo in the back in the third quarter of the Cowboys' Oct. 27 loss. Romo suffered two transverse process fractures in his back and did not play last week against the Cardinals. It is not a certainty he will play this week against the Jaguars. With Romo on the ground in obvious pain, the Cowboys' season looked in jeopardy. While he was able to return to the Redskins game, he was unable to deliver an overtime victory. If Romo cannot return to the form he had before getting hurt, then the knee to the back will be the defining moment of the season.

Key to the second half: For all of the good the Cowboys defense has done in the first nine games, it will be tested in the final seven. The Cowboys have four games against offenses ranked in the top 10 in yards per game, with two games against the Philadelphia Eagles and one against the Indianapolis Colts. There is also a game against the Chicago Bears, and the Dallas defense had no answer for Chicago last season. At different times during the first half, it felt as if the defense was working on borrowed time, especially in the past two losses. They need help from the offense in order to return to their form in the first seven games, and they must get after the quarterback. They have only 12 sacks on the season. Is it too tall of an order?