If Dallas hires new coach, expect big names

Could Cowher return to the NFL as coach of the Cowboys? Don't rule it out if Dallas keeps struggling. Michael Fabus/Getty Images

Adam Schefter often answers reader questions in his blog. Query of your own? Submit it here.

Notice on this week's Top 5 power rankings (at right) how each of the top teams are AFC teams? Going to be interesting to see which of these five teams, if not another, emerges as the conference champion. Now, on to a few of your questions ...

Q: Hey Adam, is it time to give up on the Dallas Cowboys? And if so, what can they do to get back in the saddle for next season?

-- Justin (Dallas)

A: It's not time to give up entirely yet, Justin, but the situation does look bleak. What's sobering isn't their 1-4 record so much as the fact that this team hasn't inspired the confidence that it can be consistent enough to reel off a long winning streak, which is what it will need to get back into playoff contention. At some point, this team is going to turn over the football and commit a dumb penalty and sabotage itself. It has happened consistently this season and, as long as it does, this team will not go as far as it had hoped. And should this continue, the Cowboys are going to make some wholesale changes for next year. Start thinking big ... like Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden, John Fox, coaches of that caliber.

Q: Do you expect the league to conclude its investigation of Brett Favre, and dole out any forthcoming punishment, by the end of this season? I wouldn't be surprised if they just let things slow to a crawl at the league office and let him just walk away from football (finally) at the end of the year.

-- Tom (Hoboken, N.J.)

A: Tom, I think the league is going to reach a verdict sooner rather than later. I'd even guess that we hear something before the end of the month. The league doesn't want this issue hanging over it all season. It wants to put it to bed. It's looking into it and if it finds Favre engaged in wrongdoing, it will take the necessary steps and administer the appropriate punishment. But I don't expect this to linger as long as you think.

Q: How does the Philadelphia Eagles' win over the Atlanta Falcons shape your view of both teams? Is Atlanta not quite as good as we thought? And after Kevin Kolb's dominant performance, is this his team again for good, or just until he has another rough game?

-- Zack (Philly)

A: Zack, for starters, the Falcons should be fortunate they're done playing in Pennsylvania. They lost in Pittsburgh, they lost in Philadelphia, and thankfully, State College doesn't have an NFL franchise. Atlanta still is one of the NFC's best teams. But as we mentioned above, there is a gap between the top AFC teams and the top NFC teams. As for Philadelphia, it really doesn't have to make a decision right now. Michael Vick still is not fully healthy, and so my guess -- guess -- is that Kolb will start Sunday at Tennessee. And why not? He's playing well, the team is winning and the Eagles will get another look at him. After the game in Tennessee comes a bye and then a game against the Indianapolis Colts. The Eagles can take a look at Sunday's game against the Titans, see how Vick is feeling after the bye and then make their decision. It's a good problem to have. Some teams don't have any quarterbacks. The Eagles have two.

Q: There seems to be more parity in the league than ever this season, but are there any teams you think are overrated through the first six weeks? The NFL has a way of correcting itself as the year goes on (see: last year's Denver Broncos).

-- Nick (Spokane, Wash.)

A: Nick: Don't know that there are teams that are overrated. If teams such as the Kansas City Chiefs and Arizona Cardinals are 3-2, that's what they are -- as the great philosopher Bill Parcells once pointed out. This league is about confidence and momentum, and the two often go hand in hand. Teams that are winning have those advantages. Don't know who is overrated, but I think there are some teams to watch out for in the coming weeks: the Minnesota Vikings stand out on that list. Even though they've won only two games, I think they're dangerous.

Q: What do you think of the New England Patriots picking up Deion Branch? He had a great debut Sunday, but can he really fill the void in the offense left by Randy Moss, an all-timer?

-- Dave (Boston)

A: Let's see, Dave. In his first four games this season in New England, Randy Moss caught nine passes. In his first game back with the Patriots, Branch caught nine passes. And the Patriots beat the Ravens, something they didn't do in the postseason last season with Moss. Look, Moss might be the greatest long-ball threat in NFL history; he is going to make the Vikings better and already has made Brett Favre a better quarterback. But his departure does not signal the end of the Patriots. Sometimes trades can help both teams. And New England looked fine Sunday to me, Dave.