This year IS different GT.
Romo will not have to carry this team. I was amazed at the defensive progress. Last season teams were consistently running wide open on passing plays down the field, I had to rewind the DVR just to figure out who was supposed to be covering them. I think Eli had 750 yards or so in two games versus the Cowboys. It's only one game, but we were challenging every pass. Manning's completions came in very tight windows for the most part, and really he was fairly accurate and still only managed 213 yards.
Two new stud corners are going to make recievers and QB's work for every completion. Sean Lee continues to be very good and Bruce Carter had an impressive game as well at MLB. Huge improvement in speed, athleticism, and cover ability at that position over an aging Bradie James and Keith Brooking from last season. Throw an elite pass rusher like Ware in the mix with a few more lunch pail guys in the middle and this defense really has potential.
On the other side, the offensive line has nowhere to go but up. All 5 positions were swapped around with a guy at center who was on the team for a week or less. There will be improvement and they won't be facing Jason Pierre Paul every game (thank goodness, he's a beast). A healthy Murray to complement the usual production from the passing game makes this a top tier NFL offense.
Our punter can kick the crap out of the ball and our kicker has been very consistent.
Put it all together and, barring key injuries, this team has all the makings of a solid playoff team and contender for the championship. Now, they just have to execute... go out there and take it one game at a time.