IRVING, Texas – The NFL has the Pro Bowl, which will be played this weekend, along with various All-Pro teams and All-Rookie squads.
At DallasCowboys.com, we've traditionally produced a team made up of players who performed at the highest level against the Cowboys during the 2014-15 season.
The Cowboys faced superstars such as Calvin Johnson, Andrew Luck, Drew Brees and J.J. Watt. But neither of them will make this list.
Today, we'll break down the defensive unit:
Defensive Ends:Jason Pierre-Paul, NYG – The 2014 season was JPP's best in three years, and he jump-started it with a strong day against Dallas. After notching just 1.5 sacks in the first six weeks, he broke out for two against the Cowboys on Oct. 19. He added six other tackles and three quarterback hits for good measure. To the Cowboys' credit, they largely neutralized him in the Nov. 23 rematch.
Julius Peppers, GB – Peppers has to make the list, as he made one of the defining plays of the Cowboys' season-ending loss to Green Bay. DeMarco Murray looked destined to romp into the Green Bay red zone in the third quarter of the divisional playoff loss, but Peppers shed a block and punched the ball out for a game-swinging fumble recovery. He added six tackles and a sack on top of that.
Honorable Mention: Ryan Kerrigan (Washington), Connor Barwin (Philadelphia)
Defensive Tackle:Fletcher Cox, Philadelphia – Cox said he was "tired of hearing about" the Cowboys' offensive line, and he backed up the talk by helping limit Murray to just 73 rushing yards in the Eagles' 33-10 win. In two games, he notches seven tackles, one sack and three tackles for loss
Justin Smith, SF – Justin Smith picked up the slack for his teammate Aldon Smith, who was suspended for the season opener. He notched six tackles, two tackles for loss and he came up with two of San Francisco's three sacks. One of his sacks forced the Cowboys to settle for a field goal on a key 3rd-and-1 in the 49ers' red zone.
Honorable Mention: Bennie Logan (Philadelphia),
Linebackers:Keenan Robinson, Wash. – Robinson made one of the defining plays of the Cowboys' season – and not in a good way. It was his knee that broke the two transverse processes in Romo's back in the second half of the Week 8 loss to Washington. In two games, he tallied 20 tackles, a sack and a tackle for loss.
Alec Ogletree, St. Louis– The Cowboys looked likely to tie the Rams, 7-7, on their first possession of Week 3. Romo found Murray on a key 3rd-and-4, and Murray picked up nine – before Ogletree punched the ball out for a St. Louis recovery. The Rams soon took a 14-0 lead. Ogletree added 10 tackles in the eventual Dallas win.
Brian Cushing, Houston – The Cowboys did about as good a job as can be expected of neutralizing J.J. Watt. In Watt's place, though, Cushing harried the offense for eight tackles, a sack and a tackle for loss. He added another hit on Romo in the Cowboys' overtime win.
Honorable Mention: D. Williams (Arizona), Mychael Kendricks (Philadelphia)
Cornerbacks:Patrick Peterson, Arizona– Granted, Brandon Weeden was playing quarterback, but Peterson's ability to completely shut down Dez Bryant was truly impressive. Bryant managed just 15 yards, which is the fifth-lowest total of his career and his second-lowest total since his rookie season. He eventually scored a touchdown, but it wasn't until the game was well in hand.
Bashaud Breeland, Wash. – Breeland was big in limiting the Cowboys' downfield passing game in Week 8, with four pass deflections. He also forced a fumble by Murray, which Washington recovered. In Week 17, he notched 10 tackles.
Honorable Mention:Sam Shields (Green Bay), Antonio Cromartie (Arizona)
Safety:Bernard Pollard, Tennessee– Pollard's season ended early, as he went to injured reserve in Week 6. Before that, though, he played a fantastic game against Dallas. He recorded 11 tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss and a quarterback hit. The Cowboys didn't pass for much yardage against Tennessee, but Pollard had to help clean up plenty of long runs by Murray.
Brandon Meriweather, Wash. – The Cowboys could not account for Washington's Cover Zero blitzes, and Meriweather benefited from it big time. He sacked Romo twice in that Week 8 game, and he forced two fumbles and recovered another.
Honorable Mention: Eric Reid (San Francisco)
Punter:Steve Weathefrod, NYG – He didn't down any punts inside the 20, but Weatherford boomed away all night in the Cowboys' Sunday night win against the Giants. He averaged a whopping 55 yards per punt on four attempts against the Cowboys. His longest punt of the night went 63 yards.