Cowboys Are Awesome When comparing Dallas to other NFC playoff contenders, Emmitt Smith calls them "mentally sharp."

The Dallas Cowboys are now 9-3, tied for the second-best record in the NFL, but whether merited or not, many dispute their standing as a contender.

Some of those worries stem from the Cowboys' recent lack of playoff success, with the fact that they haven't reached the NFC Championship Game since 1996 being beaten like a dead horse.

Others are due to a perceived lack of competition, as Dallas' 41-35 victory against the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night was its first against a team with a winning record of.500 or better this season.

 While those are two of the most popular accusations leveled at the Cowboys, there are several others.

A more sober perspective on the argument was provided by Cowboys legend Emmitt Smith in a recent interview with USA TODAY's Sports Seriously.

The NFL's all-time leading rusher, Smith, thinks the Cowboys can compete with NFC powerhouses like the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers, but they will need to work hard psychologically to get there.

"I think they can be - and they have the ability to do it," she remarked. "They have been growing over the last four or five weeks and they're showing signs of developing 

the mental toughness that's going to be required for when we get into the playoffs … and how we finish the rest of the season is going to be a clear indication of how mentally tough and mentally sharp we really are."

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